As most regular readers here know, I have long and old connections to the state of Wisconsin, having gone to high school, undergraduate and graduate school, as well as having family members there since then, with me visiting on a regular basis. When I first moved there back in 1963, the state had the reputation not only as a Progressive stronghold, the home of “Fighting Bob” LaFollette as well as the location of Ripon, where in 1854 the Republican Party was founded in its days as the anti-slavery party of Abraham Lincoln (that first meeting had a non-trivial number of refugees from the failed German Revolution of 1848). On top of that, and at least as important, it had a reputation for clean government, super clean government. William Proxmire was a senator from there who refused to take campaign contributions and made his name exposing wasteful government programs with his “golden fleece” awards (actually that came after I arrived). I was a conservative/libertarian in those days, making me less proud of the progressive heritage, but I was proud of its clean government rep.
OTOH, there was also a dark side, which even my conservative father disliked, the fact that Proxmire was the successor to none other than Joe McCarthy, one of the worsst senators in US history. That was also part of the state’s heritage, although many who voted for him thought that they were doing so as part of an effort to clean up corruption by an Eastern Establishment elite, just as many voting for Progressive “Fighting Bob” thought they were doing (and I am certain that there were people in the state who voted for both, with some of them probably also later voting for George McGovern, who was popular in Wisconsin, also out of an anti-Eastern Establishment motivation). In any case, Wisconsin has long had a deep political polarization, with this long being mostly within the Republican Party, with different parts of the state adhering to different traditions, with the reactionary McCarthy’s base in the northeastern part of the state still the base for that dark side, even if awful outgoing Governor Scott Walker coming from the Milwaukee suburbs.
Which brings us to the current situation following Walker’s defeat by Tony Evers for the governorship after two terms, in which along with GOP control of both houses of the legislature as well as the state Supreme Court he undid substantial portions of the progressive heritage of the state on many fronts, with Walker openly denouncing that heritage and proud of his handiwork. Of course for some time he had dreams of taking all this to Wasington as president, but somebody named Donald Trump pushed him aside to get the job. And now Walker is on the way out.
But now the state legislature is imitating what the GOP-dominated one in North Carolina attempted after a Dem replaced a GOP as governor, only to be mostly blocked by courts, to pass laws limiting the power of the incoming governor, with the also GOP-led Michigan legislature following along as well, if not with quite as extreme moves. In Wisconsin, although they did not move up the date for the election of a Supreme Court justice, they have passed legislation preventing Evers from making lots of appointments, allowing legislators to hire private attorneys to counter moves by the also Dem incoming Attorney General, such as to remove Wisconsin from the ongoing court case to upend the ACA, to restrict early voting, and to maintain control over the apparently corrupt state Economic Development council (so much for that clean government tradition).
How bad things in Wisconsin are is that this legislature is massively gerrymandered and may be hard to get out of power. The sign of it is that while Dems won 53% of the legislative vote, the Dems won only 36% of the seats. These guys are clearly desperate and scrambling to hang onto power as long as they can in the face of the electorate turning against them. Two further points.
One is that while Scott Walker apparently signaled his support for all this legislation, now six days since it was passed, he has not signed any of it. He has four more days to do so, and it is now clear he may be listening at least somewhat to those urging him to veto all or at least some of this mess. Why might he? He is clearly totally self-centered, so I think he is looking at his political future. Given that even some Republicans in the state are critiizing this legislative initiative, he may be trying to keep his options open for possible future office in the state. After all, he lost by a narrow maring in this just completed election. Signing this might well kill that. OTOH, he may be looking at going to Wasington, with it basically certain given the high rate of turnover going on in the Trump administration that something desirable might open up, although it also may become unpleasant if he cannot avoid annoying the prez. As it is, it is not obvious to me whether signing or vetoing or going partway between the two will help or hurt such prospects for him more. But I suspect that this concern is part of his consideration and delay in acting on this initiative. That what he does is as of now unclear, is why I put the ? in the title of this post.
The final item is an annoying development in the media, with over the weekend Chuck Todd of NBC engaging in a two-sideism on this matter of GOP-controlled state legislatures trying to take away power from incoming Dem governors. He claimed that the Dems have also done this in the past. But, in fact, this is simply not true. This sort of thing has never happened in US history prior to the moves last year in North Carolina. Todd has simply flopped on this, although I am unaware of him admitting it yet
Anyway, we wait now with baited breath to see which on way Wisconsin will go with all this.
I would agree that Walker’s reticence to sign this stuff is based on his thoughts on his political future. If he is going to run again in Wisconsin for any post, his signing of these things will insure a turnout of Dem voters that would make winning impossible for him. Unless of course he runs for a House seat in one of those gerrymandered districts. Senate an/or Governor would be impossible for him.
In terms of joining the Trump admin, I doubt he is that stupid. Nothing good can come to anyone who gets involved with that group now.
My guess is that if he signs these things, he will run for a House seat in 2020 or just make it formal and sign with the Koch organization. If he doesn’t sign them, he can run for House, Senate or even governor again down the road.
Course, then he will have to keep his position in the Koch organization “secret”.
You know a similar Wisconsin to what I experienced for 12 years from the early eighties onward raising my three there. Things really did not begin to change till Tommy Thompson was elected. It was only work that forced us to move and even then I hung on for a year chipping wood, gaffing up trees, and cutting grass to keep my family in one place. The memories are pleasant and of simpler things.
In Michigan, the same is occurring and we are hoping Snyder will not sign the bills or veto them. I am not sure if not signing the bills allows for passage. Each item I listed is another example of how Republicans strayed. We elected people who believe they will cross the aisle and get cooperation from Repubs. The only cooperation they will achieve will come from surrendering things which should remain untouchable such as SNAPS, CHIPS, ACA, etc.
Maybe we will be lucky for once and Snyder will say “no.”
My guess is that Walker would view a House seat as a step down, although possibly not. After all, I think he still wants to be president. There are likely to be cabinet positions opening up that are not super closely tied personally to Trump so he could gain cedin DC with conservative powers of various sorts so that if he does not go for political office he could slide into a better paying lobbying or corporate position than what would be available now.
Tommy had some initiatives that I did not like (welfare “reform”) but he did not go after the basic setup in Wisconsin the way Walker and gang have. Basically Tommy was a reasonable and pragmatic sort, which was why he was popular, along with having cried wien he got on a Halrey-Davidson motorcycle. An example is his teaming up with then Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (mayor again right now) to get the Frank Lloyd Wright conference center built in Madison. The McCarthy wing of the GOP opposed it because Wright was a womanizing socialist, but after Tommy visited Japan and kept getting asked about Frank Lloyd Wright, he figured it out that it would appeal to Japanese tourists and business people. No, comparing Tommy to Walker is like comparing GWH Bush to Trump..
I can see why you believe I lumped Tommy in with Walker. I was throwing down a marker as to when this started. I felt it did start with Tommy and set the stage for later developments. Wisconsin Repubs were always harsh.
I remember Soglin well. He came back to office while we were there. We had some run ins with him over our soccer tournament on the West Side which brought in 300 teams and their families once a year. Stimulated the economy a little bit which he did not seem to mind. 56ers and Yahara did a lot of stuff around there.
Walker is just a blemish on the state of Wisconsin who will be remembered as a Governor who prostituted himself to the Kochs and other moneyed interests and sold people out. Did I miss anything on Walker?
“…this legislature is massively gerrymandered and may be hard to get out of power.”
Oh I dunno, offering people concrete programs to improve their lives instead of the same old weak tea of identity politics and austerity might do it. But no, Dumbocrats would rather lose elections that risk making anyone on Wall Street upset.
Anyone who uses the term “Dumbocrats” is a troll. By definition.
Why does AB permit trolls like Kolchak to continue to sully these threads?
The Wisconsin legislature really is seriously gerrymandered. I note from my post that while 53% of the vote supported Dems, they got only 36% of the seats. in general, Wisconsin Dems have been more progressive than the Dems in most other states.
The same holds true in Michigan and the same “held” true in Pennsylvania. Until Redistricting, PA was an exclusive Repub state sending more Repubs to the House even though the state voted 50+ percent Dem. Michigan has suffered in a similar manner. The State House and Senate are exclusive Repub and again due to districts.
Well, not just any troll, a RWDW troll pretending to be progressive.
Ya’ think austerity was a DEM idea? Why not look at what happened in the WH yesterday and figure out the same thing was a fixture in DC for 8 years?(though it wasn’t about a stupid wall).
Make Wall Street Mad? Hmm, I am thinking raising the marginal tax rates of the richest americans(passive income) by 60% made them mad.
I am also thinking that Dodd-Frank made a large part of Wall Street mad.
Now, what has happened in those two areas since the GOP took control? The same thing that happened in 2001.
Can’t figure out if this troll knows those facts or not. Sure it would not change his comments either way.