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Dems using recalls to try to regain Senate


Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Aug 4, 2011; Section:Opinion; Page Number:8A

Dems using recalls to try to regain Senate

Word Thompson running for U.S. Senate indicates end of recall season in sight

We are finally getting to the end of the recall election season. How do I know? Dave Blaska in Isthmus wrote, “Tommy Thompson is IN. Old eminence grise Jim Klauser is on board. The machine is being reassembled.”

The words are enough to make even the most hardened political observer wince. Really? Tommy is running for Senate?

So the good news is that if this information is leaking now, it means we’ll soon be in the postrecall season. The bad news is that we are in for more Brett Favre-like public self-absorption.

Couldn’t Thompson’s family just issue the press release now stating they don’t want him to run for Senate?

Can we cut out the communicating through the Thompson confidants and just recommend family counseling instead? Then we can just have the psychiatrist issue the press release stating whether Thompson is really running.

Speaking of Favre-like painful public soul-searching, will the National Football League be seeing the return of old No. 4?

Thompson, Favre, it’s the return of the 1990s. Even Mark Neumann is thinking about running for Senate.

Why not? The recall era began in the 1990s with state Sen. George Petak. He was recalled over his vote to create the stadium finance district for Miller Park, the home of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.

Or at least that was the excuse given. What was really at stake was control of the state Senate. The Democrats were one seat short of the majority and then-Democratic Party chairman Mark Sostarich orchestrated the recall of Petak.

Ironically, Sostarich would be caught up in a scandal that would result in the corruption conviction of former Democratic state Sen. Gary George, another politician who was recalled. George is now an occasional panelist on Eric Von’s show on WMCS-AM.

Not long after, another cycle of recalls in Milwaukee County led to Scott Walker becoming county executive. I wonder how that turned out.

But back to Petak, and the point I wanted to make about recalls. What often looks like the catalyst for the recall is often just an excuse. Then it was just one seat to take control. Today it’s three.

This Tuesday is the recall election for the Republicans. The closest election for us is the recall of state Sen. Alberta Darling. She is facing ultra-liberal state Rep. Sandy Pasch.

Darling is a moderate Republican. She is guilty of two things: casting a vote to curb state employee union bargaining privileges to bring some fiscal sanity, and having an “R” next to her name for party affiliation.

The Democrats are throwing everything at her, including trying to link Darling to national budget issues over which Darling has no control.

The latest shenanigans might be the worst. It was discovered this week by the MacIver News Service that a group aligned with Pasch, Wisconsin Jobs Now!, was giving away barbecue ribs and raffle prizes to attendees of a getout-the-vote effort. After the attendees were given the food and prizes, they were shuttled to Milwaukee’s City Hall, presumably to vote for Pasch.

It’s clearly illegal in the state of Wisconsin to give something of value to induce someone to vote, and a complaint has already been filed with the state Government Accountability Board. What will Wisconsin Jobs Now! claim as a defense? The dog ate its election law book?

The great irony in all of this is that as much as the voters claim they want bipartisanship, we’re talking about one of the more moderate state senators getting recalled ostensibly over one vote.

But it’s not about one vote, is it? Nor is it about collective bargaining, an issue that has disappeared. Nor is it about the state budget, balanced without raising taxes.

This recall election is about power. The Democrats don’t have it. They want it. They will use any means necessary, even if it is to run a recall against one of the more moderate Republicans.

This Tuesday, the voters have an opportunity to put an end to the recall mess by not voting for the Democrats.

Don’t support the dirty tricks, and don’t support the abuse of the recall process. The Democrats started this endless campaigning back in the 1990s. Let’s finally put an end to it.

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