It seems that Americans have the attention span of gnats. The Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election has been mentioned in articles, recaps and comments at least a dozen times this week but nobody seems to remember why Governor Scott Walker got into trouble with his electorate. Not only that; most of what has been written on PolicyMic suggests that those poor misguided folks out there in the hinterlands are bound and determined to waste taxpayer money to recall their governor.
The people of Wisconsin are the taxpayers and they have been annoyed and abused beyond patience by Governor Walker and his backers, aides and minions. Please recall that Madison, Wisc., is extremely cold in February; one's nosehairs freeze when one inhales and sometimes blinking hurts. To be angry enough to protest - and to continue the protest outdoors, overnight for weeks - something big clearly went very wrong in Wisconsin.
Democratic members of the state Senate fled across the border to Illinois to deny a quorum for passage of the Budget Repair Act, which the Republicans tried to push through without debate or amendments, as required by law. As later investigation turned up; the budget crisis that needed repairing had been manufactured by Governor Walker himself. He had taken a modest budget surplus and turned it into a glaring deficit by granting tax incentives to Koch Brothers-owned companies - quid pro quo for their support of his campaign. His solution to fixing the deficit was to ask state employees to pay more for their benefits and forego salary increases - which normally isn't an unreasonable ask. The way he went about it is what caused all the trouble.
Of course, the protests went on longer than March 11. Interestingly enough, little media coverage of them existed outside of the "liberal" media. Ed Schulz of MSNBC made the issue his own and did a week of shows from the snowbound Capitol Grounds in Madison. The crowds grew larger and more enthusiastic and even more supportive. Occupy Wall Street became inspired by the Madison protests.
Any of this ringing a bell?
Now, flash forward a bit. The Budget Repair Bill did pass. It was also challenged in the state Supreme Court and that caused a brou-ha-ha too, because one of the justices called the Chief Justice a naughty name.
Flash forward even further and the recall effort began to pick up steam. GOP State Senators were recalled in elections throughout last summer and autumn but the main event - recalling Governor Walker - could not be undertaken until this year. Wisconsin law specifies that the Governor has to serve a year before being recalled. The State Supreme Court set the election date for June 5.
In the mean time, though; skullduggery was uncovered right and left. Intrepid reporters and inquiring minds - and perhaps some arrogance on the parts of the perpetrators - led to some definitely criminal entanglements that Governor Walker no doubt wishes he'd never touched with the proverbial 10-foot pole.
Let's not continue to blame the victims in this case - who are the long-suffering and righteously angry people of Wisconsin.