Wisconsin Republicans Will Again Run Fake Democrats In Recall Primaries

Leave it up to the Republicans who like to pull their copies of the Constitution out of their pocket and inform all the rest of us who how government is supposed to operate to again work over-time to foul the air of the Badger State.

This is more proof of how fearful the GOP is over having their majority stripped away before their eyes.   Wisconsin Republicans will stoop to any level, along with creating any and all mischief to hold onto the thinnest of chances to not lose control of the state senate.

The GOP might have thought about that when they were neck-deep up Walker’s backside during the attack on state employees and public workers.

The state Republican party says it plans to run fake Democrats in four upcoming recall elections targeting Republican state senators.

GOP executive director Stephan Thompson says the move will guarantee that a Democratic primary has to be held. He says that ensures one clear date for the primary and a separate one for the general election, thereby limiting any scheduling control the Democratic Party might try to assert. 

The Republican party used the same tactic last year in recall elections targeting six other GOP state senators. The move gave the incumbents more time to campaign and raise money.

Kathleen Falk Responds To Federal Court Ruling Limiting Gov. Walker Over-Reach on Collective Bargaining

The naked power grab by Governor Scott Walker over collective bargaining met a Federal Court, and was sent into reverse today.  Two portions of ACT 10 were viewed by the court as violating the First Amendment rights of public workers.

Kathleen Falk responded to the court decision today.

“Wisconsin citizens have long known Gov. Walker’s attack on workers was not honest and today’s court ruling shows his attack was not legal,” said a statement from former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a Democrat running against Walker.

“Gov. Walker tore Wisconsin apart and his way has failed us. As governor, I will restore transparency, accountability and honesty to the governor’s office and bring Wisconsin together.”

Federal Court Hands Governor Walker Partial Defeat On Collective Bargaining Law

There have been many voices who argued the courts would be a remedy for the collective bargaining over-reach that took place by Governor Scott Walker, and the Republican majorities in the state legislature.  Today the partisan power grab which took place last year in Wisconsin, and has resulted in a recall election for Walker took  new dramatic turn.  Walker took a loss in federal court when two part of Act 10 were ordered to be stopped.

U.S. District Judge William Conley ordered that automatic dues  for unions members withdrawal be reinstated no later than May 31.  That is a major win for public workers, state employees, and the Democratic Party.  Conley also found that annual rectification for unions violated the First Amendment rights of the affected workers.

The court side with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members’ First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters.

“So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.

Republican Party Turning Away From Gay Marriage Fight

Hard work by progressives, and a persistent demand for fairness is making a difference.  There has been a cultural earthquake regarding gay rights in this nation, and now even the Republican Party is coming to grips with that fact.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights,  but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an  acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are  more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including  politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends  and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of  acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican  Conference.

“In one decade, what’s shocking on TV is accepted as commonplace in the  other,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a veteran of the culture wars of  the 1990s. “It’s the same with sexual mores all over that if you look at  campuses and universities, they have a lot of gay pride clubs and so there has  been a deliberate and effective outreach to the younger generation about being  more accepting of same-sex relationships.”

But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced  moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have  deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.

“I personally have deep convictions about my children having a financially  stable country that they can live in,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said in an interview. “I want my  daughters to have the opportunities that I had, and that’s what concerns me.  That’s what keeps me up awake at night, not worrying about who’s sleeping with  who.”

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a 32-year veteran of Congress, never a  man of many words, simply said, “I don’t hear it discussed much.”

Even die-hard social conservatives like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert aren’t  digging in.

“That’s not something we’re focused on now,” Gohmert said.

Social issues haven’t fully escaped the party. They’ve worked vociferously to  ensure the federal government doesn’t spend money on Planned Parenthood and  talked for weeks about the contraception mandate and religious liberty.

But there’s no question that for Republicans, the politics of gay rights has  dramatically changed. In 1994, lawmakers say, there was “sticker shock” when  President Bill Clinton created “don’t ask, don’t tell” for the military. They  dashed to the House floor to rail on what they perceived as his immorality.

“It’s been realized that back in ’94, you could jump up on the House floor  and pound your chest about [gay issues], and secure a good voter intensity,  which you can’t do anymore,” Kingston said, describing the shifting dynamics of  the issue.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this month showed a 9 percent increase  in support for gay marriage among Republicans to 31 percent. Support among  18-to-34-year-olds was nearly 70 percent, according to a 2011 Washington  Post/ABC News poll.

At Third Way, the prominent centrist think tank has undertaken a bipartisan “Commitment Campaign” pushing gay marriage. The group has made it easier for  lawmakers to shift views on the issue, laying out steps for elected officials to  change their position.

Leadership, too, has played a role. At the top levels of House Republican  leadership, aides have tried to “quell” legislative proposals on the sanctity of  marriage.

48% Of Wisconsin Voters Say They Will Vote Against Governor Walker

Latest poll shows tight recall race in Wisconsin.  No one has ever thought differently, but the poll shows just how close the numbers are in this highly divided state.

As for the recall contest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, 46 percent of Wisconsin voters say they will support him in that race, while 48 percent indicate they’ll vote for the eventual Democratic candidate who will face off against the incumbent governor.

The approval rating for Walker – who sparked a firestorm of criticism in his effort to curb collective-bargaining rights for the state’s public-sector workers – sits at 48 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval. According to the poll, a majority of likely Republican voters say they’re following the recall more closely than the GOP presidential primary race, 51 percent to 37 percent.


Why Is The Press Calling Mitt Romney The Likely GOP Nominee?

A great article from Columbia Journalism Review.  A portion is posted below—but if you have time read the whole article as it is good.

So why are campaign reporters suddenly so eager to anoint Romney and devote more than four months to (be still my beating heart) non-stop vice-presidential speculation? Campaigning in Wisconsin Saturday, Santorum offered his own theory to supporters as he referred to his traveling press corps: “They’re all trying to go home, get off the road and stop writing about this thing. They’re all tired.”

Fatigue is an under-appreciated factor in presidential politics: A mandatory eight hours sleep per night would produce far fewer “gaffes” by candidates and their spokesmen. But I doubt that this is a major factor affecting the press corps assigned to chronicle Santorum. After three decades covering presidential races, I can testify that campaign reporters yearn to stay out on the trail as long as there is a hint of drama to the story. The problem is when the campaign becomes like the movie Groundhog Day, when each day seems like the last and disconsolate reporters sense that no one is reading (or watching) their stories. With no major primaries for a month (aside from Wisconsin and Maryland on April 3) and no movement in the GOP race, journalists these days are understandably as interested in clean clothes as clean copy.

I think a larger problem is that no one on a press bus wants to be suckered by a candidate’s ludicrous victory strategy that involves mass hypnosis and his major rival defecting to North Korea. So the press pack’s mantra has always been (with apologies to Richard Nixon), “I am not a schnook.”

Handgun Proliferation Is The Problem

Gail Collins writes a must read.   A portion follows.

You would think that this would be a great time to address the question of handgun proliferation, but it has hardly come up in Washington at all. This is because most politicians are terrified of the National Rifle Association. Also, the small band of gun control advocates are busy with slightly less sweeping issues, such as their ongoing but still utterly futile effort to make it illegal to sell a weapon to anyone on the terror watch list.       

The only serious debate Congress is likely to have this year on the subject of guns involves whether to allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns into other states.       

Say you were from — oh, maybe Florida, where George Zimmerman was carrying a legal, loaded pistol while he was driving around his gated community, looking for suspicious characters. In Florida, even non-Floridians can get a concealed carry permit. You can get the application online. From the Department of Agriculture. (“Fresh from Florida.”)       

Under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, you could take your Florida permit and your Florida loaded handgun and travel anyplace in the country, including the states where the police investigate every permit application, and say yes to relatively few. “If this law existed today, George Zimmerman could carry a loaded hidden handgun in Times Square. Today,” said Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.       

And that would be the moderate version.       

Senators John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana have a competing bill that would relieve residents of states like Vermont and Arizona — which don’t require concealed weapons permits at all — from the cumbersome process of actually putting in some paperwork before they tote their handguns to, say, California or New Jersey. Under this one, Jared Loughner, who shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a judge, a small child and four other innocent Arizonans, could have brought his loaded handgun to Times Square.       

There is a serious trend toward states letting their residents carry concealed weapons with no more background check than you need to carry a concealed nutcracker. All of this is based on the gun rights lobby’s argument that the more armed law-abiding people we have on our streets, the safer everybody will be. Under this line of thinking, George Zimmerman’s gated community was safer because Zimmerman was driving around with his legal gun. You can bet that future Trayvon Martins who go to the store to buy Skittles after dark will seriously consider increasing their own safety by packing heat. The next confrontation along these lines may well involve a pair of legally armed individuals, legally responding to perceived, albeit nonexistent, threats by sending a bullet through somebody’s living room window and hitting a senior citizen watching the evening weather report.       

The Violence Policy Center has a list of 11 police officers and 391 private citizens who have been killed over the last five years by people carrying concealed weapons for which they had a permit. That includes a man in Florida who killed four women, including his estranged wife, in a restaurant in 2010 and another Floridian who opened fire at Thanksgiving, killing four relatives.    

Mitt Romney Laughs About Factory Closing During Wisconsin Primary Campaign

There is one aspect to Mitt Romney that I truly do not understand.  It has nothing to do with partisanship, or policy.  It has everything to do with personality, and the continual awkward nature that Romney has when it comes to attempting a connection with average people.

Since Romney has been campaigning for president for least the last six years I would have thought some ability to tell a joke, or convey a sense of being real with voters would have rubbed off on him.  After a while, there should be a naturalness to the role of being a politician, and a calm that takes hold when campaigning.

Even Richard Nixon had a better grasp of how to connect with voters than does Mitt Romney.  (And I say that with all due respect to Nixon, who was much better at foreign policy than meet-and greet.)

But over and over it seems that Romney is just first stepping before a crowd.  It happened again in Wisconsin, and once again his comments landed with a thud.

Talking by conference call with thousands of Wisconsin voters Wednesday, Mitt Romney told them he had a humorous connection to their state.

But it didn’t take long for “funny anecdote” to become “campaign fodder.”  

Romney’s story involved the time more than 50 years ago that his father, George, an American Motors executive, shut down a factory in Michigan and moved the work to Wisconsin.

“Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan, and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign,” explained Romney, who described a subsequent campaign parade in which the school band marching with his father knew how to play Wisconsin’s fight song, but not Michigan’s.

“Every time they would start playing ‘On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin,” said Romney, laughing.

The anecdote, first reported on line Wednesday by the Journal Sentinel, was quickly circulated by the Democratic National Committee, which accused Romney of being “out of touch” by “joking with Wisconsin voters about closing a Michigan factory.” That jab was echoed by the Obama re-election campaign. Senate Democrat Debbie Stabenow from Michigan issued a statement saying, “The people of Michigan know better than anyone that it’s no laughing matter when our jobs are exported to other states or other countries.”