Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Walker opponents the result of recall fever


Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Feb 2, 2012; Section:Opinion; Page Number:6A

Walker opponents the result of recall fever


Democrats may want to find someone else


(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.) 

There are no limits to the silliness of mankind when it comes to government. We are in the midst of recall fever, but even that can’t explain what we have seen lately.

Last week former congressman David Obey, a possible candidate for governor in the recall, warned his fellow Democrats not to underestimate Gov. Scott Walker.

In a Facebook posting, Obey wrote, “If we do not think this through and support the candidate with the broadest possible appeal, we will waste the effort of thousands of volunteers who stood in the snow, sleet and cold to gather an incredible one million signatures because they felt they were part of a cause bigger than themselves.”

Who could have more of a broad appeal than a northern Wisconsin career liberal who left Congress before he could be defeated in 2010? What Democrat appeals to the average voter more than the congressman most responsible for the creation of the federal stimulus bill?

I can see the campaign slogan now: “Dave Obey, because he knows fiscal irresponsibility.”

Then we had the spectacle of former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announcing she’s running for governor. Falk is a two-time statewide loser who couldn’t even defeat Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in 2008. That’s the year Wisconsin elected a department store clerk as state treasurer because she happened to be a Democrat.

Falk is infamous for the less-than-graceful way she lost that election. Setting the precedent for JoAnne Kloppenburg, Falk took two weeks to concede the election to Van Hollen despite losing by more than 9,000 votes.

Falk, of course, is the perfect foil for Walker. She’s a Madison liberal, just what the rest of the state loves. The day she announced she made it clear that she intends to raise taxes on business by $2 billion over the next decade and hand back the state treasury to the state employee unions.

Democratic state Senator Kathleen Vinehout also announced she was thinking of running for governor. Aside from fleeing the state to her native Illinois last year, Vinehout is probably most famous for a four-page poem she wrote about her opponent in 2006.

Polling would indicate that the best Democratic candidate to take on Walker is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. But the unions don’t want Barrett, and for good reason. He used Walker’s union reforms to fix the Milwaukee budget last year.

Barrett also made a couple of statements last year he probably wishes he could take back.

Barrett didn’t complain about the changes to collective bargaining nearly as much as he complained that they didn’t also apply to firefighters and police officers. Barrett pointed to how much of the Milwaukee budget public safety consumed and asked why those two unions were exempt from the changes.

When the Democrats fled the state to avoid passing Act 10, Barrett told WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes that the Republicans should just take out the fiscal portions of the bill and pass the collective bargaining changes without the Democrats. The Republicans followed Barrett’s advice.

The Democrats may want to try finding another candidate that does not have as many flaws as this bunch. I think Ed Garvey is available.

* * * *

This month marks six years I have been writing a column for the Waukesha Freeman. I’ve been writing about politics for over seven years. I first worked as a paid political consultant in 1992. I volunteered for my first political campaign in 1986.

In all of that time, I have never heard of an elected official allegedly trying to run over an employee with a car. Mayor Jeff Scrima’s parking lot incident is one of the strangest stories I have ever heard.

It did not help the mayor that his supporters spent Saturday on websites trying to discredit the alleged victim by posting information online that only a few people in City Hall should know.

There is a real problem at City Hall with confidential personnel information leaking when it suits the mayor. The Common Council needs to investigate before the city faces a lawsuit.

The source of the leak needs to leave city government immediately, regardless of who it is – including the mayor. 


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