Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Perfect Political Storm

A caller-in to the Charlie Sykes show earlier this morning got me to realize something. "This is an utter debacle!" He complained. "Scott Walker needs to re-think his strategy. If he'd just waited a couple of months, he'd have Prosser, and everything else he wanted."

And you know what? He's right! Walker's headstrong, ready-fire-aim approach has resulted in him getting shot in the foot.

Yes, if he'd waited a couple of months, Prosser likely would have won in a landslide. Instead, he's in a virtual tie, and possible loss, to a woman who, in spite of a lifetime of legal experience, has never been a judge before. But it goes even deeper than that.

Political bystander apathy resulted in the stage being set for this nonsense in the first place. In spite of a general left-of-center overall leaning in Wisconsin, liberals stayed home last November, allowing the 30% of pissed off Republicans who voted to take power. (I suppose I wouldn't mind that so much except that now, Republicans are audaciously claiming that "The people have spoken," as if they'd had some sort of majority back then.) The apathy continued during the judicial primary. Kloppenburg won the nomination to be one of the two finalists mostly because everyone assumed that Prosser would be a shoo-in, and Kloppenburg would be a sacrificial lamb. In a normal election cycle, that's the way it would have happened. Kloppenburg had plenty of courtroom experience, but kept getting turned down for judicial appointments. Doyle and Obama both turned her down multiple times. Most people assumed that meant there was something wrong with her, even though they couldn't tell what that might be. In actuality, politicians like appointing judges to high judicial seats if they've already won election to a more minor judicial seat. Why? Because that gives them some measure of assurance that such an appointment will be able to retain that position when running for re-election. Kloppenburg, who'd never run for any damned thing, was less than ideal only in that regard. Her inexperience in running a campaign meant an almost sure-fire victory for Prosser. But, she spent the most money out of any non right-wing candidate, and so she made runner-up. Then, Scott Walker happened.

To a budget that clearly needed a scalpel, Walker revved up a chainsaw. Everyone went up in arms. In the first month of his administration, he had Wisconsin, of all places, in a full-fledged revolt. Kloppenburg, who was by no means the first choice of those on the left, ended up running a ham-handed campaign which talked very good stuff about ending partisan divisions while allowing partisan interest groups to attack Prosser on her behalf without objection. Normally, that would blow up in her face, but people are so pissed at Walker, and so convinced that Prosser would be in his back pocket, that they voted for Kloppenburg anyway. This was also in partial reaction to another justice who shouldn't have won, Michael Gabelman, who won, some say, thanks to dirty campaign advertising against Louis Butler. Gabelman probably wasn't the ideal conservative first choice, either, but to defeat the man they'd nicknamed "Loophole Louie," he got the nod. Regardless, Gabelman showed that ethics don't matter in politics - only victory. Now, in addition to Gabelman, we will have Kloppenburg (assuming she edges out in her virtual tie-vote), making for two justices who are not the ideal choice on a panel of merely seven.

That's an overall lose-lose. And we largely have Walker's incompetence to blame for it.

Then there's the event I'm still puzzling about: Walker separated out the budgetary elements of the bill that would strip public sector unions of their bargaining rights, but only made this obvious move long after a virtual political civil war tore the state apart. Fucking WHY? Why did he wait for weeks on end to do this? Why did he seemingly throw the state into chaos, and then settle the contended issue as though he'd forgotten he'd left the solution to the deadlock in his other pocket that whole time?

Were I a conservative, I would fiercely want Walker recalled, not because I would disagree with his positions, but because of his sheer incompetence. He fails to plan, at all, makes up a tactically stupid plan on the fly, then sticks to that poor design plan, and shows "strong leadership" by not deviating from it. He's the type of guy who swats flies with a brick. He's the type of guy who listens to good advice, then ignores it. He's a hammer, and sees all the world's problems as nails for him to pound down. He's George W., without the stammering, all the steadfastness, and none of the brains. He's exactly the type of leader that liberals love because they can win by comparing their conservative opponents to him. Already, politicians are winning all over the state on the campaign slogan of, "I'm not Walker, vote for me!" And it's working.

In short, Walker is the Perfect Political Storm. P.P.S. for short. So, we can refer to Scotty, in future, as 'Governor Scott Walker, P.P.S.'

Yet another nickname for 'Little Boy Blue,' a.k.a. our beloved 'Slash & Burn Scooter.'


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