Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lying, stalling, cheating, frustrating - the WisGOP playbook

As I watch the latest Walkergate shenanigans (covered best by the real authority on this case, the Cognitive Dissidence blog. Read here for the latest installment. ), I see a familiar pattern taking shape.

Walker appointees Kelly Rindfleisch and Tim Russell continue to file motions and take actions that delay their cases. Rindfleisch's frivolous attempts to give herself immunity because of her Caucus scandal doings (she just pulled another soon-to-be-denied appeal last week), or through Russell being on his 5th defense attorney after the GOP lawyer that was in his most recent one left in order to take a job in Fond du Lac under sketchy circumstances. And as these Walker-appointee moves take place to slow the wheels of justice and keep more details of the Governor's involvement from coming to light, it then allows right-wing media and operatives to argue that there the John Doe case is a "witch hunt" because Walker hasn't been charged more than a year after the investigation started.

Well, of course there hasn't been a charge yet, because while the case against Walker is being strengthened with each revelation from his crooked former staff members, the accused are holding up the case with their stalling manuevers. Therefore, it takes longer than it would without all of the WisGOP/ Walker team intereference. Heck, remember how Charles Sykes complained about the John Doe investigation "leaking like a sieve," and then it turned out that Russell's lawyers were giving Sykes the leaks he was complaining about. But this is the GOP plan, to stall the John Doe case, lie and demean the motives of Milwaukee County D-A John Chisholm, and make people sick of hearing about it. Then if/when Walker does get charged, they can claim it is "desperation" or a "reach," and say "after all that time, THIS is what they came up with?" They know better, but are counting on you not to know better. Don't fall for it.

And it's the same routine they've pulled on events surrounding the Wisconsin recall. Remember that a Walker supporter filed the first recall petition 10 days before the Wisconsin Dems planned to, allowing Walker to start his fundraising advantage. Then once the recall process officially started, Walker supporters tried to set up fake organizations to claim all signatures were received, and similar fake signature collectors were organized to try to diminish the process.

Once the recall signatures were handed in, Walker supporters and RW organizations spent months claiming there was widespread fraud when the actual rejection rate was just over 3%, with more than 900,000 signatures approved of. But between Walker, WisGOP and out-of-state Astroturf groups, the certification of the recall against Walker and Lt. Gov Kleefisch was delayed for 2 1/2 months until late March, which meant that the recall primary was pushed into May, and the general election into June. It also allowed time for the GOP to push a meme that the recall was a waste of taxpayer dollars, as illustrated by this January rant from ALEC Cabin Boy Robin Vos in a Northwoods newspaper.
"The citizens of Wisconsin should have known the estimated cost on local governments before a single petition was circulated," Vos said. "Is this how they want their valuable taxpayer dollars spent? At a time when local government budgets are very tight, this will have a dramatic impact on the dollars that pay for our streets to be plowed and our neighborhoods to be protected by police and fire departments."

Vos observed that few attempts to recall governors had been successful, and he said he expected this effort to fail as well.

"The real results of the statewide recall election will be a financial drain on our local governments and an emotional drain on our electorate," he said. "The recalls are not healthy for our state."
Well, if Wee Wittle Wobin and WisGOP really cared about the taxpayer cost, they would have accepted the inevitable recall, and had the primary election go along with the presidential primary on April 3, with the general election falling in May. This would have resulted in 1 fewer statewide election and saved millions of dollars.

But that's NOT what WisGOP wanted. Not only did pushing the recall election into June make it much more difficult for college students to vote (because school was out and many of them were heading home for the Summer, making them have to re-register or vote absentee on campus), it also turned the recall into a war of attrition. As it wore on, WisGOP hoped that people would be frustrated by the whole recall process, and vote to retain Walker solely because they didn't want to go through a draining thing like this again. And by election day, that strategy of delegitimizing the recall through stalling maneuvers was successful for WisGOP, as evidenced by this response to an exit poll question.

When do you think recall elections are appropriate?
For any reason 27%
Only for official misconduct 60%
Never 11%

And guess what, because Walker and WisGOP have been stalling John Doe, Walker hadn't officially been charged with official misconduct at the time of the recall election (and still hasn't), and those 60% of "misconduct-only" voters voted for Walker 68-31, according to the exit poll. It also means many voters did not feel it was worthy to throw Walker out of office even if they disagreed with his policies or found his actions to be failing.

I have little doubt this was because voters fell for this message from WisGOP that the recall process had gone on long enough, needed to end, and was costing their communities more money than it was worth to remove this administration from power. I hope those people realize and regret that they got used by WisGOP. And they did get used, because the biggest reason the recalls got viewed as "frustrating and costly" were due to Republican stalling, lying, and game-playing, but many voters blamed the Democrats for it happening.

You can see the GOP trying to pull the same routine on a national level, as both Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson refuse to release years of tax returns. They and their talk-show mouthpieces will stall, deceive, complain and whine about the process, and if they haven't released them in a couple of months, they will turn around and ask "Why are you still talking about this, no one wants to hear about it."

That's why we have to stand up and constantly hawk these people, because they will try to use their lying, stalling and cheating to turn voters against people like us who demand accountability and transparency from corrupt politicians. We need to remind media and the public at large that they are being played, and that the only reason these issues continue to exist is not because of the people pressing the issue, but because THE GOP REFUSES TO ANSWER THE ISSUE.

If we don't do this, we face the possibility of cheaters like Scott Walker staying in power, and liars like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan coming to power, because people into today's GOP will not play fair, and will not accept the defeat and consequences for rule-breaking that they so richly deserve. It is their fault, not ours, that these scumbags decided to flout the law and delay justice, and we need to constantly remind a passive public of that fact.

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