Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Supports Nixonian Tactics

This is just astounding to me.

This whole story is something akin to a lie that one political party might spread about the other one in an attempt to dirty the water.   But instead if this being a smear about the GOP, this whole story is true!

No one would think any political party would step up and announce dirty tricks as a viable plan from their playbook.  Yet that is exactly what the Wisconsin Republicans are doing.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald fully endorsed the idea Tuesday of fielding fake Democrats in recall elections against Republicans in an effort to delay the general elections.

“It gives us another month to campaign,” said the Republican from Juneau.

Yesterday I denounced this idea, and urged the GOP to do the same.

In other words, voters are in no mood for political chicanery.

That is, however, what the GOP is hoping to have happen in Wisconsin. While those hatching such an idea might think it down-right brilliant, citizens of the state understand this tactic is another sign of how frightful Republicans are of the voters.

If the GOP are playing these games now, what will they concoct by the time Governor Walker’s recall election is nearing early next year.

I suggest that the Wisconsin Republican Party just…what was the term from the 2010 mid-term elections they used….oh, yes…’man up’….and face the electorate.

All the additional political bombast, money, and wasted time that would result from this political dirty trick will only make for a rougher outcome for those Republicans who have already riled the average voter.

Now however, if seems that Wisconsin Republicans are taking the low road as they fear the voters.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald seems unaware that there is a backlash that will likely slap him and his fellow Republicans that will only worsen the condition they are presently in as result of their actions this past winter.

Fitzgerald said Republicans would be recruited to run as Democrats — likely in all six races — so that the elections would be pushed back a month. He said he was persuaded by campaign staff that it was a good idea and consulted with state election officials to make sure it was allowed.

Fitzgerald said the idea was developed in response to a fake Republican running last year against Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc. Ziegelbauer was a Democrat who long voted with Republicans; he quit the Democratic Party last year and ran for re-election as an independent.

A fake Republican ran in an attempt to split the vote between him and Ziegelbauer, giving the Democrat a chance to take the seat. The move didn’t work, and Ziegelbauer kept his seat.

Mark Jefferson, the state Republican Party executive director at the time, called that move a “nasty, cynical ploy.”

Kevin Kennedy Should Not Be Blamed For Heavy Recall Election Politics

I was taken aback over the news from some conservative partisans that Kevin Kennedy, the director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, should step down and resign. SAY WHAT!!   The demand stems from the GAB moving forward with three more recall elections against Republican senators.  At the same time due to lingering unanswered questions the GAB has not made final decisions about recall petitions concerning three Democratic senators.

There is a record number of recall petitions to mull over, but with the same number of staff and the same amount of resources at GAB.  Yet some over-charged conservative partisans are jumping to the conclusion that the GAB is somehow playing a political hand in favor of Democrats.  These partisans calling on Kevin Kennedy to resign are acting as if this were any other typical month of May in Wisconsin.  That thinking is utterly preposterous!

There is a very angry and frustrated electorate that has taken government into their own hands and forced recall elections for at least six state senators.  In a few days that very well may extend to three more across the state.  In the meantime it would seem essential to all that the ground work from the GAB be completed to make sure that the recall petitions were properly filled out and all the rules governing such an exercise was completed properly.  Would anyone really want anything but a through examination to make sure everything was done to the letter of the law?

Several weeks ago many urged that the state legislature provide the needed resources to assist the GAB at this time with their heavy work load.  On April 22nd I posted that the state legislature needed to act on the GAB request.

There is no doubt that the Government Accountability Board is literally swamped in paperwork. As such they are correctly asking for more money to run the operation, and also will request time extensions to complete their work. The Wisconsin State Legislature needs to honor the budgetary request from GAB, and do so in quick fashion. This is not a time to hem and haw when the citizens on both sides of the aisle have spoken and want to force recall elections.

To now have some partisan flunkies demanding Kevin Kennedy step down is just laughable.  Perhaps a more concerted effort weeks back to have the legislature provide adequate funding for the GAB would have been a better use of their time.

But that is not what conservatives really wanted to have happen, now is it?

Judge Sumi’s Ruling On Wisconsin Bargaining Law Notice To Republicans That Process Matters

One of the foundations that makes our government work, be it at the local, state, or federal level is that the process for making laws must be uniform and fair.  The reason for this is that if all the players understand the rules, and follow them accordingly regardless of the outcome, no one can claim they were not treated fairly.  While there can be, and often are, extreme differences over policy directions there should never be a time when the process itself is shredded in order to favor one partisan group over the other.

During my time in government while working in the Wisconsin State Assembly I saw the process play out over and over.  It is a most remarkable process, and one that has proven over time to work.  Sometimes my side were the victors, and at other times we came up short.  But I never recall when the process itself was the result of the anger among the players.

Until this past winter when the conservative Republican forces that seemingly can not play fair, or shoot straight attempted at every turn and bend in the road to ram down the throats of this state a bill to severely curtail collective bargaining rights for state workers and public employees.

It was jarring to me as I saw the shortened voting procedure in the Assembly when the Republican leadership did not even hold the roll open long enough to get all of their own votes tallied.  The open meeting fiasco that led to the legal challenges were not only the last straw for most of my fellow citizens, but perhaps the worst political theatrics I have heard about in the Wisconsin Statehouse.  Mind you, I have seen and followed my share of events over the decades.  Nothing reeked as much as what the Republicans were doing to the process this winter.

Today, then, the only outcome that could take place happened.

A Dane County judge has struck down a law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most state workers. 

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled on Thursday that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law during the run up passing the controversial measure. She said that renders the law void. 

In her ruling, Sumi said that there was “no conflicting Senate, Assembly or joint rule in effect on March 9, 2011, that would have excused compliance with the public notice requirement” of 24 hours notice. She went on to say, “The evidence also demonstrated a failure to obey even the two-hour notice allowed for good cause if 24-hour notice is impossible or impractical.”

It should be noted all along that Judge Sumi stated that all Governor Walker and his Republican allies needed to do was pass another collective bargaining bill, in a proper and legal way.  That the GOP is nervous as hell about this route, and know the results that will follow is not the concern of the courts.  That is a political matter that the people of this state will handle.

The process of government is important, and it is quite marvelous when looked at closely.  It works as a system for passing bills and making laws.  However, when it is tampered with and made to be the object of partisan chicanery it can become dangerous, and even force a judge to straighten it out.

Today the political process was the victor in Wisconsin thanks to Judge Sumi.

Pictures: Walk Up Tree, Flip, (Followed By Applause)

I admit to being easily amused.  That is not to take anything away from these two college-age guys who found getting a little attention Saturday on the Capitol Square took nothing more than walking up a tree.  Though the pictures do not show it they really do land on their feet! 

I use pictures from both of them to show off their talents.  I suppose this is where the responsible blogger should say “please do not try this at home.”  

If 100,000 Citizens Gather At Statehouse In 32 Degree Weather, What Happens With Spring Protest On May 14th With 60 Degrees?

Let the pressure be applied!

Scott Walker and his allies continue to show that they will stop at nothing to strip workers of their voice on the job.

With their first flawed pass at union bashing tied up in the courts, Walker’s cronies now say they will incorporate the bill stripping workers of their rights into the state budget, which is flying through the legislature despite unprecedented protest against its controversial nature.

On Saturday, May 14, join us in Madison for a rally at the State Capitol. We’ll deliver our message louder than ever: Wisconsin will not stand for Scott Walker’s attack on Wisconsin’s working families. Music will begin at 2:30 p.m. with speakers at 3:00 p.m.

Will Wisconsin Recall Elections Be Held On One Day?

Many have wondered, with the high number of recall elections being waged in Wisconsin as a result of the assault on state and public workers by Governor Walker and his Republican allies, how the  recall elections would be conducted.   As of this writing there are eight state senators with recall signatures gathered against them.  That is more than just a historical record!  That is real grassroots anger!   

There is no doubt that the Government Accountability Board is literally swamped in paperwork.  As such they are correctly asking for more money to run the operation, and also will request time extensions to complete their work.  In addition, it is reported the GAB will try to have as many of the recall elections take place on a single day.

The board has 31 days to review the petitions after they’re filed. But it plans to go to court next week to request an extension to allow for more time to handle the counts and attempt to synchronize the recalls so as many elections as possible can occur on the same day.

The political minds can stew over the pros and cons of such a one-day event, but the GAB can not be faulted with trying to make the train run on time given all that has been handed to them.  I can not even begin to imagine the nightmare in front of them as they sift over the names line by line by…..

To top it off there might be another name added to the pile for recall.

The Wisconsin State Legislature needs to honor the budgetary request from GAB, and do so in quick fashion.  This is not a time to hem and haw when the citizens on both sides of the aisle have spoken and want to force recall elections.

Where Is David Prosser’s Wife?

The other night on television David Prosser told an interviewer that he had been through a nuclear firestorm in the Supreme Court race, but was still standing.  No one can doubt the past weeks have been harsh for Prosser.

The interview made me ponder something.

Where is David Prosser’s wife?

It would seem at this trying time for a (political) candidate that his ‘better’ half should stand alongside him.

At the age of 69 David Prosser must be married.  After all, aren’t most Republican men with solid ‘family values’  married by the time they get to be age 30? Age 69?

Just pondering things and wondering who is standing by his side at trying times like this.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Needs To Resign Over Botched Election Results

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign because of the statewide mess she created concerning the election returns from the State Supreme Court race.

The reasons Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign as County Clerk are multi-fold.   

Kathy Nickolaus demonstrated a lack of professionalism that is expected of an official with her responsibilities.  She has also failed to be professional over time, and in so doing helped create the chaos that now engulfs Wisconsin.  

Kathy Nickolaus is also very suspect in this vote fiasco in light of the fact she was granted immunity after a caucus scandal when she worked as an Assembly Republican Caucus Employee while David Prosser was both Minority Leader and later as Speaker of the State Assembly.

Simply put, what took place in Waukesha County reeks to the heavens!  Kathy Nickolaus must own up to the massive problem, and resign.

Late Thursday the Waukesha County clerk announced that the vote total in Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race had been mistaken, and that the corrected numbers changed the outcome of the entire election.

There were 3,456 missing votes for Democratic-backed challenger Kathleen Kloppenburg and 11,059 for incumbent GOP-backed Justice David Prosser. Kloppenburg has previously been beating Prosser by just 200 votes of the roughly 1.5 million cast statewide. The new total puts Prosser on a significant path to victory, about 7,500 votes ahead of Kloppenburg.

This error seems more than fishy given the past working relationship Kathy Nickolaus has had with David Prosser.  For thirteen years Nickolaus worked for the Wisconsin State Assembly Republican Caucus as a data analyst and computer specialist.  During that time Prosser served in powerful elected positions in the State Assembly. 

Before Kathy Nicklous resigned in 2002 from her partisan job she  was granted immunity to testify about her role in the caucus.  The Republican Caucus was under investigation for using state resources (tax dollars) to secretly run campaigns.

There is no way that I buy into Kathy Nickolaus’ near-tearful explanation of how Brookfield was misplaced when counting and adding the numbers.  There is no degree of plausibility given all we know about her.  Kathy Nicklous’ partisan dealings that landed her in the legal arena makes this latest, and most unbelievable turn of events, not rising to the smell test.

Kathy Nickolaus’ lack of professionalism is underscored by the fact Waukesha County has what can only be described as an outdated and rickety means of keeping  tabs of votes cast.  She has insisted the county results be kept on an antiquated personal computer, rather than upgrade to a new data system being utilized statewide.  

When confronted about the problems in the past she smiled in face of the facts that were presented to her.

The Waukesha County Board also heavily criticized the clerk after she brushed aside their recommendations for improving election security. At one point during a hearing in January, board chairman Jim Dwyer grew exasperated with Nickolaus and said, “There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy. Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.”

Again, what has occurred in Waukesha County regarding the court election does not meet the smell test.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Barca gave voice late Thursday for voters all over Wisconsin in a blunt statement.  

It is especially troubling that she waited more than 24 hours to report the startling discovery and then did so at a press conference and only after she verified the results. This makes it all the harder to challenge and audit the integrity of the vote.  

The partisan, political history of Ms. Nickolaus and the serious concerns about the quality of her performance found in an audit raises the question of whether an investigation is warranted. The public deserves to know that the votes were counted properly.

No one can relish the idea of making it clear to someone that they must step aside from a job.  But the damage that Kathy Nickolaus has done to our election process in Wisconsin is no small thing.  The people’s faith in casting a ballot has been damaged by the actions undertaken in the last 48 hours from the Waukesha County Clerk. 

It is time that Kathy Nickolaus resign her office.

The people of Waukesha County and all of Wisconsin deserve no less.