Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Walkergate Goes International

The British have noticed the sticky wicket that Scott Walker and his cronies have found themselves in.

Even though many of their details are off, such as claiming 250,000 signatures are needed to trigger a recall instead of 540,000 or saying the probe is focusing on only two of Walker's minions, they do hit the main gist very well with this:

Walker has successfully advanced his own political career by presenting himself – a self-proclaimed "preacher's kid" – as an ethical and honest politician. He rose to power in 2002 in a Milwaukee County special election to fill the seat of an incompetent Milwaukee County executive whose corrupt aides triggered a pension scandal that taxpayers are still paying for. A Republican in Wisconsin's most populous and Democratic county, Walker used this office to position himself to run for governor. If Walker's image as a straight arrow is tarnished, he will be much more vulnerable to a recall.

Due to the secret nature of the current Wisconsin investigation, we may not know for weeks whether prosecutors will bring charges, precisely what violations of the law are being investigated, and who will be in the frame. And even well-documented charges of political misconduct do not always yield convictions. So, opponents of Walker should be careful not to accuse his aides – much less Walker – of wrongdoing until all the evidence is made public.

But if Walker is tainted by this investigation in any significant way, then re-energised Democrats will almost certainly organise a recall. And that would have a fighting chance of success.
No matter when the recall comes, and come it will, just the knowledge that Walker is now an international embarrassment should be worth a few hundred thousand signatures in itself.

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