Our political Quote of the Day comes from JS Online’s O. Ricardo Pimentel who notes that whether Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker likes it or not, Brown is on the ballot in the upcoming Wisconsin elections.
And yours truly agrees: if candidates perceived as being defeated due their being on his side are defeated, it will be interpreted as backlash against Walker, his crusade against public employee unions and collective bargaining, and the way his government tried to ignore a court restraining order. And if they win, it’ll be interpreted by many (you can just hear Rush and Sean how) as saying it was a big win for Walker. Here are parts of Pimentel’s piece:
I get it.
Scott Walker’s name is not on any Wisconsin ballot this Tuesday. He was on a particular November ballot that a lot of people are trying their best to forget, especially if they are public employees who voted for him.
He’s not on the spring ballot, but that’s not stopping folks from running against him – in the Milwaukee County executive race and in the state Supreme Court race.
There is elegant irony at work here. It wasn’t so long ago that Walker was running against a guy who also wasn’t on the ballot. You’ll recall that Walker injected Gov. Jim Doyle as the boogeyman at every turn in his campaign.
Walker said this was appropriate because his general election opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, would continue Doyle’s allegedly ruinous policies.
Fine. By that measure, it’s perfectly OK to view both these races as referendums on Walker – the state Supreme Court because it will rule on his policies and county executive because that’s the job he just vacated.
If the governor values consistency in argument, you would have his permission to use this election as a referendum on him.
There is, of course, extreme risk for Democrats in divining golden opportunity here. If the candidates viewed as most simpatico with Walker win, that ugly chortling you’ll hear will be the sound of sweet vindication in certain circles and an indication that folks shouldn’t count their recall votes before they’re hatched.
Most assuredly yes. And another argument we will hear by each losing side: the vote really wasn’t what common sense (and PoliSci 101) would have you suggest it is.
But Pimentel makes another point: apart from the symbolism, the candidates on the ballot, in fact, do present voters with clear choice to indicate what side they are on in this battle that has gained national attention — and significance. He points to the the two key officials in danger of being sunk by their proximity to Walker, Rep. Jeff Stone, running for Milwaukee County executive and Justice David Prosser, trying to hold on to his state Supreme Court seat amid a big push to defeat him in order to send Walker and GOPers elsewhere a message and change conservative orientation of the state’s Surpeme Court:
According to a Wisconsin Law Journal report, Prosser voted in the majority 86% of the time in the 2009-’10 term, though it’s unclear if the term “conservative” can be applied to all those majority votes. But I’ll trust Prosser’s campaign on this score. It trumpeted its candidate as part of the “conservative” court majority and a complement to the new GOP ruling class.
Prosser later said the statement was a case of a rogue campaign manager. Right. One who is still with the campaign. Why would a sitting justice – one, by the way, who is revealed to have called the chief justice a “bitch” and pledged to “destroy” her while simultaneously blaming the court’s dysfunction on her – tolerate even the hint that the separation of powers shouldn’t apply to the Supreme Court?
And Stone? He’s not Walker, but he’ll do in his absence, coming complete with the promise of reprising years of gridlock in county governance.
Consider: Stone has authored a voter ID bill that threatens to disenfranchise a lot of Milwaukee County residents. He voted for key Walker bills recently – the very issues that are tearing the state apart.
You might be just fine with Walker, past, present and future. Or not. Vote accordingly. It’s OK.
There is nothing unfair about these races becoming referendums on him. He made them that way – and I’m still just digging the irony.
So if they’re defeated it really should not be argued that it was only symbolism, only due to a big push to defeat them by unions, only because they were collateral Walker damage. Not quite collateral. But because voters saw a choice and decided to reject them because they can no longer give Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans the benefit of the doubt. Recent actions erased any doubts.
Go to the link and read the column in full.