Why the Wisconsin Republicans Have to Go

By YeOldeScribe ~ June 4th, 2011 @ 1:27 am

At Political Progressives, we have never seen corruption like this in politics before. Granted, our writer is all of 24, so he didn’t have the joys of experiencing what life was like under Nixon, and he certainly wasn’t around during the early 1900’s when corruption was so bad in Chicago that the mob literally ran the town. But it’s still fascinating to us that the political climate in Wisconsin is so tumultuous and just strange. First came the huge Democratic losses in the mid-term elections. Then the Republicans did exactly the same thing that got the Democrats in trouble – they acted like they didn’t have to answer to their constituents and did whatever they wanted. Now six Republicans are up for recall and the only reason why the Governor isn’t on that list is because he has to serve at least a year before he can legally be fired.

At this point if you’ve been reading the blog, you know it’s safe to say that the Republican party isn’t exactly on our Christmas card list. While we’ve both praised and condoned the Democrats since we started blogging, there really hasn’t been a time that we can remember where we went out of our way to praise a Republican. And it’s because we hate Republicans or anything like that. The simple truth of the matter is that in our opinion (especially in Wisconsin) the Republicans have done nothing praiseworthy.

In fact, the Republicans have gone out of their way to be complete idiots. Almost every single thing they’ve done has caused an uproar not only from Democrats involved in the political system, but from everyday voters, too. Don’t buy into Walker’s rhetoric that most of the millions of people who protested at the Capitol over the past few moths were shipped in from out of state – it’s not true. There is a public uprising against the Republicans that this state – and really this nation – has never seen before.

So how can the public still be so upset with the Republicans? What could they possibly still be doing, now that they know they’re in the spotlight? It’s amazing how big of screw-ups these guys and gals are. Today we’re going to take a look at five separate issues that are plaguing the Republican Party. Really, any one of these stories could be a post on their own: they’re all colossal mistakes that Republicans have made, and they’re all reasons why every one of the Republicans up for recall should lose.

First, let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite issue: collective bargaining. Remember how Gov. Walked graciously spared the policemen and firefighters from his budget repair bill because they supported him in his bid to become the governor? As it turns out, no one is safe from Republican stupidity these days. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, both police and firefighters will be expected to contribute to their health care and pension benefits while having their collective bargaining rights stripped as well. For bonus corruption points, although the meeting started early in the evening, Republican lawmakers waited until after midnight to bring up stripping collective bargaining rights, then quickly called a vote, which went strictly on party lines to end the meeting. Never mind the fact that it’s been proven over and over and over again that collective bargaining rights are actually good for the state and our budget deficit. Ignore the fact that pension and health care benefits were given to union employees as a result of collective bargaining to save the state money by not giving out pay raises. Ignore the fact that these men and women put their lives on the line to keep us safe. After all, to the Republicans, they’re just bastards getting rich off the public’s dollar.

Speaking of people getting rich off of public money, the GOP has also lined up their crosshairs on an especially devious and dastardly group: the poor. According to the Journal-Sentinel, the Joint Finance Committee again voted by party lines to cut tax credit programs for the working poor. Keep that in mind: these tax credits aren’t just for those lazy soul-sucking bastards living on unemployment (like our writer) – these tax breaks were for people in the workforce who are still below the poverty line. In order to earn even more bonus corruption points, the GOP in the legislature voted to cut the program 12.7 million more than even Gov. Scott Walker recommended! The GOP’s response was also epic. Said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills): “What we’re trying to do is grow jobs, so it’s very much in keeping with our agenda.” Yeah, because beating the shit out of poor people who already have jobs is the perfect way to grow an economy. About the only way that proposal possibly makes sense is that the GOP figures if you take their money away, poor people will have to get third and fourth jobs just to pay their bills. But don’t worry, it gets better.

While the poor are being kicked to the curb and told there’s no money for them, the GOP passed – at the same meeting! – tax breaks for businesses in Wisconsin (totaling $36 million), and tax breaks for the smokeless tobacco industry. That’s right, there’s no money for the poor, but we just throw money at the snuff industry. As the Press-Gazette reports, Wisconsin originally switched to the system we have in place now not only to increase public health standards, but to increase revenue generated on the products to shore up budget shortfalls. Now that we actually have a budget crisis, the GOP is changing the law to give more money to the Phillip Morris’ of the world and less money back to the state. For bonus corruption points on this one, the tax cuts given to businesses only go up in the years to come, and the snuff products that are getting the tax breaks are the ones with flashy packaging and advertising, which are geared toward kids. Smooth, Republicans.

Perhaps these are reasons why six of you are under recall this summer. And we know you’re really worried about these elections, too. So much so, in fact, that one Republican Senator actually is telling his constituents (at least those in the public sector, of course) that they shouldn’t participate in the recall elections, and should spend June 12th sleeping instead. The Journal-Sentinel obtained this recording in which Dan Kapanke, a Republican Senator who is up for recall, says the following:

“We’ve got tons of government workers in my district – tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Viroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th – or whenever the date is.”

A typical Republican attitude these days. Not only doe Kapanke argue that he hopes he doesn’t have to deal with Democrats on July 12th, he actually says he and his supporters have to overcome them. As if they were nothing more than an obstacle. Whatever happened to compromise, to negotiating with the other side? Or at least recognizing their humanity? Instead, Kapanke treats them as an objective, as a target to be destroyed. And to do it, he’s encouraging Democrats in his district not to vote. There’s something we’d never hoped to see: a public servant telling his constituents to forsake their duties as citizens. And did he really think that was going to work? Is he that delusional that he though if he told the Democrats running against him to go home that they would? At least there’s some good news in this story – even the Republican Senator himself doesn’t think he stands a chance in the recall. After all, there’s a way to instill confidence: admit to your closest supporters and confidants that the only way you can win is if the other side doesn’t show up.

And finally, the Republicans are so corrupt that telling those who oppose them not to vote isn’t even the worst thing they’ve done this week. Taking the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” adage to heart, La Crosse Country Republicans are attempting to recruit one of their own to pose as a Democrat to run against Jennifer Shilling, who is widely expected to win in the Recall election against Kapanke. The La Crosse Tribune reports that Julian Bradley, La Crosse Repubicans’ Vice-President, was speaking to Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the state GOP. The two were recoded on tape as saying:

“We are actively keeping our ears to the ground and if anybody knows anybody for a candidate that would be interested on the Democratic side in running in the primary against Jennifer Shilling…. So if anybody knows any ‘Democrats’ who would be interested, please let us know.”

We’ll give the La Crosse GOP a huge benefit of the doubt as assume they were actually looking inside the GOP for real Democrats to run against Shilling instead of just planting one of their own amongst the Democrats. Even if that was their intention, it’s still fraudulent. Why would the GOP want another Democrat running against them? Because if there’s more than one candidate in the July 12 recall election on the Democrats’ side, then that election becomes a primary, and the real election wouldn’t happen until August. That, Bradley said on the tape, “would give the state senator an extra month to campaign in. The opposition would obviously have to spend more time and more money.”

But the deceit doesn’t even stop there. For bonus corruption points on this one, once the La Crosse GOP found out about the tape, they immediately did the right thing and turned themselves in for election fraud to the Government Accountability Board sued the person who recorded their super-secret meeting. The kicker on this whole situation, according to the La Crosse Tribune, is that the people recoded on the tape are denying that the conversations ever happened. So let’s get this straight: two people are recoded on tape discussing election fraud even thought the conversation supposedly never happened, and the GOP is suing whoever recoded that conversation that supposedly never happened? Only a true Republican could make sense out of that.

I guess at this point, Democrats can only thank their Republican adversaries. The Republicans are acting so corrupt, so heartless and so stupidly that they are doing nothing but turning people – even seasoned Republican Party members – away from ever voting red again. If things keep up the way they are, every Democrat should have an easy win in the recall elections. And if things keep up the way they are, the Democrats will come to power not a moment too soon.

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