Have I Been Duped Over Wisconsin Recall Elections?
Why do I feel duped over the Wisconsin recall elections?
As many readers know I was appalled (like many) over the actions taken by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican members of the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this year when they worked feverishly to end collective bargaining. Not only was the policy a direct slap at union history and public employees, but the actions that were undertaken showed an uttter disregard for the political process in Wisconsin.
It was after watching weeks of this play out that I came to the conclusion that recall elections would be a most appropriate avenue to remedy the problems.
It was a step for me to come to that conclusion as recalls are not the way I think government should operate.
In 1996 I was opposed to the recall effort of Sen. George Petak of Racine after his vote in favor of the Milwaukee Brewers stadium-funding sales tax. No, my opposition was not due to being a liberal who loves taxes, but instead over my feelings that recalls should not occur over just any issue that voters disagree with. Recalls should be used only for the most serious of misconduct in office. All other issues can be registered at the election polls every two years.
But what happened this year under the dome in Madison was different.
Wisconsin Republicans never advertised the idea of removing collective bargaining in the 2010 election, but did work in concert with national efforts once elected to harm state workers and citizens. In addition, Republicans flouted the political process to such an extent, and so egregiously that the matter was settled in court.
This all became worthy of recall efforts around the state, which I very much agreed with.
So now we are in the midst of the recalls and I am left wondering where is the concern over the actual issue that led us to this point. Where are those candidates that seemed intent on making an issue of the process that was undermined, or making it clear that state workers should not be used as pawns in an over-hyped and falsely created budget crisis?
Instead of talking about the reason we are having the recall over collective bargaining, ads are being run continuously against Republicans (such as Luther Olsen) that challenge his concern for education, and his vote in favor of the state budget.
Problem is that those are not the issues that generated the recall efforts, but instead are the type of fodder for the next general election in 2012. I think some honesty about what brought voters to this recall dance might be in order.
I can be as partisan as anyone, but I also like the game of politics to be played with some reasonableness. Had I known that not a word would seemingly appear about the collective bargaining issue in the Democratic campaigns this summer I never would have supported a recall effort.
All of the concerns that Democrats seem intent on talking about these past weeks are ones that should have been left for the 2012 elections. Which leaves me with the unanswerable question.
Why are Democrats so unable to talk and campaign over the very reason hundreds of thousands marched in Madison in cold and snow in an effort to defend collective bargaining? If candidates can not mention the words or advertise about the issue now, how can we be sure they can utter the words if elected?
I am not interested in being duped twice.