I’m having trouble deciding whether the Republicans in this state are trying to turn us into Texas or Somalia.
I know this — Wisconsin politics are starting emulate the colorful, no-holds-barred, generally insane Texas politics that Molly Ivins lampooned so well.
Texas is a state where a decade of Republican domination has destroyed the state’s economy to the point where the government is firing a third of its teachers in order to start solving a 27 billion deficit — yes, $27 billion — while the oil interests continue to pillage the economy and everybody thinks they are cowboys and cowgirls. It is so bad in Texas that sensible folks, knowing that Republicans have a lock on state politics for the foreseeable future, have turned Libertarian, believing that the only way to cure state government in Texas is to eliminate it entirely, if possible, or if not, to whittle it down to the point where it can’t do any more harm than absolutely necessary.
In the “Dairy[air] State”, Scott Fitzgerald and Governor Walker pulled off a political gambit yesterday that is worthy of Molly Ivins’ worst sarcasm.
In Wisconsin, a law must be enacted by the legislature, signed by the Governor and “published” (that is, transmitted to the Secretary of State and recorded) before it becomes effective. The Secretary of State is under a court order prohibiting the union-busting law from being “published”. Not a problem. Walker and Fitzgerald convinced a weak-kneed pointy-head named Stephen Miller, director of the Legislative Reference Bureau, to post the union-busting law online.
Today, Fitzgerald and Walker are claiming that the online posting constitutes “publication” for legal purposes, and that the law is now in effect. The pointy-head disagrees, as do most people, but that isn’t stopping Walker and Fitzgerald.
The only reason that Wisconsin isn’t Somalia right now — a ungovernable hash of self-seeking warlords acting outside the law, to the extent that there is law — is that we still have courts, even if the Republicans in power act as if they didn’t exist. The courts are going to be busy sorting this all out, that’s for sure.
The good news is that the Republicans are so out-of-control that it looks like the recall efforts may well succeed, and we’ll have a Democratic majority in the State Senate by the end of the summer.
My State Senator, Luther Olsen, a Republican from Ripon, is facing a recall. If anyone deserves recall, its Luther. Luther is what used to be called a “moderate” Republican, when such still existed. He described the Walker union-busting as “too radical” for several weeks, but unlike State Senator Dale Schultz, when the chips came down, Luther rolled over and stuck his legs in the air so high that his heels were scraping the clouds. A real profile in courage, our Luther.
Luther is now describing himself as a “statesman” and acting hurt because folks are mad as hell. The best thing that can be said about Luther right now is that he apparently lives in an alternate reality. It beats “whore”, anyway.