Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will Walkergate Push Wisconsin Further Towards Center?

After the summer of the recalls, many people noted that Senator Dale Schultz became the de facto leader of the state senate and a major player due to the shifting of the state from the path of radical conservatism back to a more centrist approach.

Indeed, even the radically conservative Scott Walker admitted as much by tendering his incredulous offer of the olive branch of bipartisanship.

But the column from the British paper and some other recent events made me wonder if there is going to be another shift towards the left, or at least even more towards center.

Ten days ago, Senator Chris Larson noted that he was sponsoring two important bills.  One would remove the influence of the special interests during the budget cycle and the other would require the public get the opportunity to openly review  any proposed bill.

Just last week, Representatives Peter Barca and Donna Seidel and Senator Mark Miller introduced a bill that would put an end to Walker's tendency of appointing cronies to newly formed political positions.

To be honest, I thought that these bills were nothing more than mere political posturings, something to throw out there and expect the Republicans to shoot down at some level.  Then the Democrats could use that during the next election cycle as talking points to reclaim the centrist and moderate voters.

But now I'm starting to have second thoughts regarding that.

As Walkergate begins to unfold, it will be interesting to see how the Republican legislators react to it.  Right now, there just isn't enough concrete evidence to do much more than make the Republicans apprehensive. But consider some of the following:

  • At Fighting Bob Fest, there was much discussion that more houses than just Cindy Archer's had been visited by law enforcement, although none of this has been confirmed to the best of my knowledge.
  • It seems rather improbable that federal agents would be expending that much time, money and manpower to bust a couple people for posting online comments on the tax payers dime.
  • The number of people being looked at in the Walkergate investigations is much larger than people were originally aware of.  There is no telling how deep - or how high - this thing goes.
  • Short of the whole thing just going poof and disappearing forever, Walker's image has already been stained by the whole sordid affair.
There are other factors that I have heard of, but am not currently comfortable sharing without further confirmation.  But even if what I've heard is partially true, Walker's name will become synonymous with Blagojevich's, the corrupt former governor from Illinois.

But even if none of what I've heard pans out, the taint and the doubt will still be there.  That, combined with a politician's strong instinct for survival, will probably force many of the Republicans, to back away from Walker, just to make sure that they don't get caught up in whatever might be coming down the pike.

And this will open the door for the Democrats and the more moderate Republicans to make sure no further damage is done to the state, and maybe even open an opportunity for some of the damage that has been done to be reversed. such as the proposed bills mentioned above.

But I've noted a growing cry of "Enough" coming from many more people than ever before who are feeling repulsed by Walker's unethical power grabs and his failure to do any of the things that he promised to do, like create jobs.  And I'm sure the politicians are hearing it even clearer than I do.

One thing that I think that everyone can agree with is that there will be some very interesting times ahead for us.


  1. Curious how no Wisconsin Republicans are coming out to support Wis. Gov. Scott Walker. I'm not hearing anything remotely like "I strongly support Gov. Walker. He would NEVER do anything that would give the FBI reason to investigate hime. He's totally above-board in everything he says and does."
    No. There's dead silence from ALL Wisconsin Republicans. They know what we know. And that is this: Scott Walker has demonstrated (from his early college days through the present) that he and his "gang" are fully capable of nefarious dealings.
    And, that is why, my friends, the FBI keeps circling and circling, collecting more and more information and keeping a lid on what they find...until eventually they show up on Scott Walker's doorstep... At that point, every Wisconsin GOP in close proximity with the guv will be tainted...and their political career OVER.

  2. The Fitzgerald brothers have been mighty quiet. Unusual for them.
    Unusual too that the government is not in session through September.
    I have an aquaintance who, through a state employment situation has been in contact with the Feds whistle blower protections program in regard to collusion between a state agency and a private enterprise. No Wisconsin lawyer would represent this person in their case. They finally found a lawyer to represent them in the case, one from Illinois. That lawyer said Illinois has got nothing on Wisconsin. Wisconsin, right now, is one of the dirtiest states in the country. Walker makes Blagojevich look like a choir boy. Bloggy was out there on his own, being a fool. Walker's connected, a faithful tool. He has to be. He's not smart enough to do all this on his own.

  3. I honestly don't think rank and file Republicans know what to think at this point. That may be part of the silence. I'm sure insider Republicans have a clue, but until there are charges, I'm not sure there's much to say. Just looking at how this whole investigation is evolving, I would say that Walker World has a lot to worry about. Everyone knows the Walker organization is generally sloppy. With a Grand Jury called, and an active John Doe investigation underway, the Milwaukee County District Attorney can go ANYWHERE.

  4. Is Walker corrupt? Yes.
    Is he incompetent? Yes.
    Is he out to promote his political career over the well being of his constituents? Yes, absolutely!
    Is he dumb enough to not destroy evidence of his corruption? Probably not.
    Does he have enough "true believers" behind him to take the bullit for him whenever he screws up? Yes.

    Please believe me when I say that I would like to see Skippy behind bars wearing an orange jump suit and shackles just as much as the next guy, but that isn't going to happen. Good criminals cover their tracks. They have an alibi. Walker even has people willing to go down for him; remember the tragic accident at O'Donnell park? The head of the County Facilities department took all of the heat for Walker. Now consider the people who have been making the headlines lately. Nardelli? Archer, Miss loyalty herself?

    Another one bites the dust for Skippy?

    There is not going to be any move towards the left or even the center from Walker or the Fitz. brothers either. They still have majoritits in both houses. If their is any move at all towards the center it will be a small fraction of a baby step.

    Walker and the tea party still have their agenda. Screw the poor, screw the middle class. Lets give all of our money to the robber barrons! Oops. Sorry. I meant to say, give all of our money to the "job creators".

    Funny how when Teddy Roosevelt( a Republican !!! ) was in the White house they were robber barrons and now a hundred and some years later they are the "job creators". Gotta think that those robber barrons are spinning in their graves wondering "why didn't I think of that!"

  5. Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about Nardelli. He's got a long history of being a weasel himself, and if it comes down to being loyal to Walker or keeping his multiple pensions, which he'd lose if convicted of a felony, he'll cut a deal faster than a Vegas pit boss.

  6. "faster than a Vegas pit boss," love the metaphor.

    Agree about the lack of support for Walker from the GOP and the Journal Sentinel. I assume the JS wants the ad revenue from a Walker recall.

    What really shocked me is that Archer didn't get a job from a wing nut think tank. Scooter Libby was hired by the Hudson Institute, but there are tons of them out there. After you've already been trashed for hiring Brian Deschance, why take the chance of stashing Cindy on the state's payroll? The Koch brothers have a lot invested in Walker. They lose if he gets kicked out of office. To keep up the anti-union assault, they have to take care of Tonette and Scott in perpetuity. If they don't, other wingnuts will see that and be less likely to follow the anti-worker route.

  7. JS has front-paged a story about Van Hollen "declining" to help with the John Doe. The JS is putting that decision as "months ago."

    One could read this as more evidence that the state GOP, the Fitzgerald brothers, Rance Priebus, and the Koch brothers have already decided to cut their losses with the Governor.

    I think he and Tonette will still get wing nut welfare in perpetuity, but if my wild guesses are in any way on target, his political career may be over. Worth what you paid to read it.