By now, everybody should know that Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, won the recall election. The question is what we will have learned in the Wisconsin aftermath. For my money, I need to go back to the 50-state strategy that Howard Dean employed. Here is a map of Wisconsin by county.
We cannot concede every single rural county to Republicans. We have to contest everywhere. Until we are able to get out a viable message to rural America, we’re going to continue to lose races that we should win.
After 9/11 and the billions if not trillions of dollars that we spent in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world, one would figure that we would not support terrorism of any kind. I guess that’s not true. A new article by Seymour Hersh clearly suggests that not only are we training terrorists, we are exporting those terrorist other countries. I urge everyone to read this thoughtful and compelling article. (By the way, I deplore the foreign-policy axiom – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.)
Veteran journalist Mike Wallacehas died at the age of 93. There are only a handful of journalists that I can name off the top my head who’ve actually changed the way news is delivered. Mike Wallace did that. Whether you liked him or not, he developed an “in-your-face” style of journalism that became extremely popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was a cornerstone of 60 Minutes for more than four decades. He interviewed Malcolm X shortly before he died. He was everywhere and interviewed everyone. 60 Minutes was must-watch TV. Throughout the late 1970s and throughout the ’80s, on Sunday evenings America watched Mike Wallace, Harry Reasoner, Morey Safer and the gang delve into some problem or issue which affected most if not all Americans. There’s no show on television that has ever done it any better. My condolences to his family.
The gift that is Scott Walkercontinues to give. As you know, Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin who’s about to be recalled in a special election. Scott Walker’s done more than restrict public workers’ ability to collective bargaining (you should read this as destroying public unions). He is a full spectrum ultraconservative. Therefore, he does not believe that everyone who is an American citizen and is an adult should vote. Therefore, we should have the voter ID laws. Finally, to round out the picture, we should not have women who can think for themselves and choose for themselves. Instead, the reproductive rights of women should be decided at the government level. If you’re looking around and trying to figure out why things are so discombobulated, you have to look no further than this new crop of ultraconservative legislators like Scott Walker.
The final round of the Masters is today. It should be some compelling golf. Tiger Woods has struggled. For all practical purposes, he’s out of contention. Peter Hansen and Phil Mickelson pulled away from the pack late yesterday. They are the ones to watch. Yet, there are a few other people who are still in the hunt. Among them are Lee Westwood (who had a heartbreaking lip out yesterday), Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson, Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson and Hunter Mahan. For some reason, I really like the way that Louis Oostuizen has been playing. He’s been consistently making shots the last several weeks. He has been hitting fairways, he’s been hitting greens in regulation and he’s been hitting putts. He is the one that I’m watching today.
As the standoff between the Main Street Movement and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) continues for the twelfth day, much of the media coverage — and anger — from both sides has focused on Walker’s efforts to strip Wisconsin public workers of their right to collective bargaining. But Walker’s assault on public employees is only one part of a larger political program that aims to give corporations free reign in the state while dismantling the healthcare programs, environmental regulations and good government laws that protect Wisconsin’s middle and working class.
Below, ThinkProgress examines ten of the most disastrous policies the Wisconsin GOP is pursuing:
1. ELIMINATING MEDICAID: The Budget Repair Bill includes a little-known provision that would put complete control of the state’s Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, in the hands of the state’sultra-conservative Health and Human Services Secretary Dennis Smith. Smith would have the authority to “to overridestate Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” includingreducing benefits and limiting eligibility. Ironically, during the 1990s it wasRepublicans, especially former Gov. and Bush HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who helped develop BadgerCare into one of the country’s most innovative and generous Medicaid programs. A decade later, a new generation of radical Republicans is hoping to destroy one of Wisconsin’s “success stories.”
2. POWER PLANT PRIVATIZATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLECT: The same budget bill calls for a rapid no-bid “firesale” of all state-owned power plants. One progressive blogger called the proposal “a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism” and suggested that the provision will open the way for large, politically connected corporations, like Koch Industries, to buy up the state’s power plants on the cheap. While it’s unclear whether corporations would be interested in buying the plants, a similar proposal was vetoed six years a go by Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who called the plan fiscally and environmentally irresponsible. Many of Wisconsin’s power plants are in violation of federal clean air regulations and desperately need to be upgraded and cleaned up — not dumped into the private sector.
3. DANGEROUS DRINKING WATER: Republican lawmakers have introduced bills in both the Senate and the House which would repeal a rule requiring municipal governments to disinfect their water. Conservatives have said that the clean water rule — which went into effect in December — is simply too expensive. Yet the rule only affects 12 percent of municipalities and the price may be worth it. In 1993, 104 people died and 400,000 fell sick when the Milwaukee water supply became infected. Even two decades later, the Environmental Protection Agency Advisory Board notes that 13 percent of acute gastro-intestinal illnesses in municipalities that don’t disinfect their water supplies are the result of dirty water. Municipalities can keep their water clean for as low as $10,000 per well — but apparently for the Wisconsin GOP that is too high a price to pay to keep citizens safe from deadly microorganisms.
4. DESTROYING WETLANDS: In January, Walker’s proposed regulatory reform bill exempted a parcel of wetland owned by a Republican donor from water quality standards. But the exemption was more than just an embarrassing giveaway to a GOP ally: environmental groups believe the bill’s special provision would actually affect the entire county, eliminating public hearings on proposed wetland development, short-circuiting approval of development projects, and disrupting the region’s water system.
5. FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY: Walker signed a bill this week requiring a 2/3 supermajority in the legislature to pass any tax increase. Republican lawmakers are now reportedly considering a constitutional amendment that would make the rule permanent. A similar constitutional amendment in California has been called the “source of misery” of that state’s crippling budget crisis and has forced lawmakersto “gut public education, slash social services and health care programs, close prisons, and lay off record numbers of public employees.” While claiming to “make a commitment to the future instead of [choosing] dire consequences for our children” Walker and GOP lawmakers are instead putting generations of Wisconsinites in a “fiscal strait-jacket.” (more…)