Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wisconsin Battles: Legitimate complaints, regular political tactic or working the ref?

The GAB's decision to sign off on the six Republican recalls, while delaying approval on the Democratic recalls has led to a chorus of complaints from Republicans. I don't know the details,and while they may be valid, the complaints do sound like standard-issue political tactics, the same type that both sides of the aisle use all the time. Whenever there is a ruling that seems to starkly benefit one side, it pays to call in to question the fairness of the referees. The "we wuz robbed" feeling motivates your side and gives credence to the argument that the process is political and unfair. The "working the ref" angle is also in play. I don't know the degree of interpretation is involved in the signature validation stage, but by claiming that the refs have been unfair, the Republicans can hope that the GAB will bend over backwards to get the Democrats on the ballot as well. Again, nothing special, just standard political battles.

Two other developments of interest: One of the most endangered Republicans, Senator Dan Kapanke, was caught on a secret recording saying that he hopes government workers sleep in on the recall. An embarrassing gaffe, though one that pushes a central part of the Republicans plank -- this is a small interest group pushing the recall. The other fact to come out of the recording is that the Republicans were looking for a spoiler candidate to run against the Democratic opponent of Kapanke. Spoilers are a time-honored traditions, helping to bloody the opponent before a race. But there is a different benefit here. As I mentioned before, having a divided electoral calendar may help the Republicans regain the moment of any seats lost on the first electoral day. By splitting off one election, they could keep the same result. Kapanke  also might realize the benefit of having his vote held on a different day than the rest of his colleagues. By then, the Republicans might have lost their majority, and the Democrats might not be as motivated to kick Kapanke out.

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