On tea party Walker's triumph against working Wisconsin and American values | WisCommunity

On tea party Walker's triumph against working Wisconsin and American values

Wisconsin progressives should go ahead and be very disappointed that the Forces of Cash have won again. And then, like Mary Burke said, we should get right back to work. Given the tens of millions of dollars that washed over the state, creating ponderment over imaginary plagiarism, imaginary lost jobs because of "Obamacare" and what color knickers Burke might have worn to elementary school, this election outcome may have been inevitable. The fabulously rich -- many of them out-of-staters -- have spoken through the electorate upon whom they spent tens of dollars per each vote. Some fiscal conservatism, that. Buying elections was never so easy. 

Now comes the hard part for the party of the tea-timers. Oh, wait, governing is not hard at all when you have total faith in your own views on everything, an overdeveloped sense of righteousness and a kind of mini-fest destiny, combined with total control over Wisconsin state government and thus virtually total control over localites. You just do whatever you want to do, even if it's unwisely simplistic or temporarily illegal. Unchallenged power: What could possibly go wrong? Besides, that is, everything that already has gone wrong on the Walker / GOP watch?

But there is one little glint of silver in this election: Republicans sooner or later will be forced to take ownership of their excesses and bad ideas. At some point, there will be no hiding place down here.

Wisconsin progressives are surely smarting, this morning, but it could be worse. Think what their counterparts in Kansas are going through. There, the Scott Walker analog has run the state into a deep fiscal crisis, one so bad that  -- unlike Wisconsin's own pending, but a bit more distant fiscal crisis -- it is known about nationally. And yet Republican Disgovernor Sam Brownback and his merry band of men (they are all mostly men) prevailed anyway. Meanwhile, in Maine, the ridiculous Paul (Front Page) Lepage, another fringe GOP governor, survived his history of daily droolings.

Myopic and reckless though he is, Walker hasn't (at least in word if not deed) been quite so outrageous as either of those two gentlemen. Which is saying something.

Now, the apparent margin of his five-point victory surely would be regarded as decisive even given the general Republican sweep. A sweep, yes, but not a wave, since here and nationwide, the GOP merely performed to expectations. The Democrats -- unlike the 2016 landscape -- were defending much territory in marginal races. The red party, which was expected to do well in a mid-term contest, had all the assets in this election, and I don't just mean in terms of dollar signs.

In the Wisconsin governor's race, apparently, Walker would have had to boil bunnies on live TV in order to lose against a political unknown his team helpfully defined as a Madison liberal millionaire. Now he can safely boil bunnies in private, and pay attention to Wichita conservative billionaires, instead.

But the victory margin still means nearly half of voters nixed Walker. So now -- like George W. Bush, who declared a mandate despite collecting fewer votes than "loser" Al Gore -- Walker will have to take that sharp division into account. Surely he'll pledge a new era of cooperation, compromise and ... nah. The GOP autocracy will continue, and one should expect that the only limiting factor now will be Walker's palpable desire to be president, which means he'll have to pretend even harder that he's reasonable, moderate and accommodating, even while he scissors the remaining social safety net into little strings.

So, it is true that Republicans now own the government and will now own their own policies. Not that they'll accept that. No, when things go further wrong (and they will), the GOP's targets of blame will remain external: Those purportedly lazy people of, um, other persuasions, along the remaining, sizably reduced population of public employees -- especially school teachers -- and anyone who's an open critic (and that includes you, mainstream Wisconsin media). 

You'd think Walker Inc. couldn't possibly take it out any more on public employees or unions in general. Maybe he'll rein himself in a wee little bit in view of his nationally wandering eye, but even then, he can just let the GOP Ledge do all the dirty work, thereafter -- with the slightest nod to regretfulness, sign yet more egregious assaults on working people. In the name of the working people, of course.

If you're a roadbuilder, an open-pit mining firm itching to despoil pristine international waters for dubious profit, a developer who wants to fill in more wetlands, any man or group of them who want to control the reproductive systems of women, a commerce association that wants further deregulation of anything your member firms make, sell, or dispose, a power utility that would like to jack up its rates for the little people while lowering them for the big shots, or special interests that would like to shield themselves some more from civil suits by the unwashed masses, you're a happy camper this morning. Let the games begin anew.

But our son-of-a-preacher-man governor should remember a Bible passage: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.


November 5, 2014 - 7:05am