Wisconsin recall elections something of a mess

Lest we lose sight of it amid all of the presidential primary news, Wisconsin is going to hold some recall elections. The people have spoken! Petitions have been gathered and now the democratic process will play out in true blue American fashion. So… just when will we be seeing these elections take place? Even the people in charge don’t seem to be exactly sure.

The head of the Wisconsin state elections board recommended Friday that any recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republicans be held on May 15 and June 12…

The full board was to discuss the issue Monday and if it agrees, ask a Dane County judge for more time on Wednesday.

The attorney for Democrats who launched the recall efforts said he would oppose the request in court.

“That seems totally unreasonable and unnecessary and it would change the character of the election,” attorney Jeremy Levinson said. Democrats have consistently argued the recalls should be held as soon as possible.

Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks refused to comment on the proposed election dates. Instead, he reiterated the party’s position that multiple recalls be held on the same dates to cut down on election expenses. The elections board has also advocated for scheduling only two election dates.

Under the last order we heard about, a primary would be held on May 1st and the general election on May 29th. And let’s not forget that the Badger State has a presidential primary coming up on April 3rd. Are you starting to see why the Republicans might be having some questions which have nothing to do with whether or not the governor is facing a recall?

Wisconsinites (is that even a word?) are now looking at holding three different statewide elections in less than sixty days. Somebody has to pay for all of that, and it’s not as if they’re rolling in money as it is. Oddly enough, astute observers may recall that this is one of the reasons Walker ran in the first place.

Speaking of which, the Democrats who collected all of those recall signatures are still crying foul play regarding Walker’s performance vs his campaign promises. How could anyone have known that the guy was going to go all Walker Texas Ranger on the unions once he got into office? They were tricked!

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that one of the Democrats hoping to challenge Walker, Kathleen Falk, “repeatedly accused Walker of being dishonest during his 2010 campaign, citing as a prime example his decision to all but eliminate collective bargaining for most public workers even though he didn’t talk about it during his run for office.”

Pretty sneaky, Governor Walker. How did you ever get them to fall for that trick? Oh… that’s right. You told everyone you were going to do it while on the campaign trail.

Yet an August 2010 Sentinel article, written in the heat of Walker’s run for governor, explored his reform plans. Even back then, unions were already signaling their overwhelming opposition:

The state’s powerful teachers union opposes Walker’s plan and is signaling a fight over it if Walker is elected and moves the idea forward.

“Our members oppose taking away their rights to collective bargaining, so they would definitely raise their voices against it,” Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said of Walker’s plan.

The August 2010 article went on to say:

Ryan Murray, campaign policy adviser for Walker…said school districts often have some of the most expensive health benefits in Wisconsin and could receive cheaper insurance through the state if they didn’t have to negotiate with unions about who would insure their members.

“The way the proposal would work is we would take the choice out of the collective bargaining process,” Murray said.

I suppose we should feel a little sympathy for Ms. Falk and her current state of confusion. After all, this is American politics we’re talking about here. They’re probably not used to seeing politicians run for office and then actually do what they said they would do once they’re elected. Who could have seen that coming?

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