In Wisconsin, we've spent 17 months disappointing pundits, RW talkers, and Republicans as one after another of their "predictions" have demonstrated that their crystal ball has a huge crack in it. Actually, their "predictions" should have been been named "hope" or "wishes" or "dreams".
First, a bit of history on our past disappointments.
Back in February and March 2011, they said we'd get tired of coming to our State Capitol to protest, would "accept the reforms" (i.e. union stripping, massive cuts, devastation to our state) and go home. Happy to disappoint. The protests grew and grew as tens of thousands more joined the protests from all areas of the state. I'm certain the Republicans were pooping their pants to see those massive crowds. When asked about it, of course, they lied claiming it was all "outsiders" who had been "bussed in". Nope. It was us. Angry badgers. People from all over the state many driving for hours to get there.
In desparation, Scott Walker brought in outside sheriff departments (not surprisingly from Republican stronghold areas) when the head of the Capitol Police told Scott Walker that they weren't his "palace guard". With his new goon squad, he cleared and closed the Capitol. In his tiny mind I'm sure he though "there, that's the end of that".
The closure of the Capitol was no small thing. It was an illegal act. Our laws require the Capitol to be open when state business is being conducted, but laws don't matter to Scott Walker and his ideologues. Laws are just for us pesky "little people". Open Meeting Laws were repeatedly violated in order to ram through one extremist measure after another. And even though they might lose in court, Big Money is behind many of our judicial elections now, so a "friendly" judge who will see things their way is a lot easier to find. And a friendly State Supreme Court with 4 of 7 seats already sold to the highest bidder stands ready to take care of the rest.
Beyond the illegalness of the action, the Capitol closure not only meant that the rotunda and halls that echoed with solidarity were gone, but the place everyone went in the middle of winter to warm up for a bit or join a line for the bathroom were also gone. Walker and his cronies must have smiled at thought they dealt the death blow to the protests.
Wong again. Happy to disappoint. Crowds grew, a tent city was erected (Walkerville), and local businesses, many whose windows displayed protest signs, were happy to oblige protesters (although the bathroom lines were often about an hour long so we tended to restrict fluids).
After our 14 Democratic State Senators left the state to prevent quorum (required for any legislation with a fiscal impact) they showed their true stripes and separated public employee union stripping out of the budget repair bill to ram it through by itself. It was no longer possible for them to justify the end of collective bargaining as a "tool" or "reform" needed "for budgetary reasons". It was plain and simply ending collective bargaining for tens of thousands of people in our state. Viscious, petty, vindictive. They hate unions. And, as we know now, part of a long term divide and conquer strategy to their ultimate goal of prohibiting all collective bargaining.
There, they said, that's the end of the protests. Well, they were right, but terribly short sighted. The protests ended, but by then an organization and strategy was developed which involved recalling 9 Republican State Senators and overtaking majority control of the State Senate. So we left Madison and went to those districts to gather signatures. We got enough to recall 6 of the 9 (very close on 3 of them, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and with a recall you always need to submit far more signatures than you need.
Big Money, of course, came in with tens of millions of dollars to "save" their GOP puppets. No one in the state had ever seen such massive media ad buys as they saw in 2011 and these were for State Senate seats! So many ads blanketed the airwaves in the days before the election that even exceeded Presidential election ad buys. Big money saved all but 2, but those were big wins in districts that survived the 2008 Democratic landslide.
Scott Walker and his pals likely thought that it was all over. Happy to disappoint. The end of the summer recalls and recall elections were just a warm up for the main event; the recall of a sitting Governor (only the third time in the history of our country), his Lt. Governor, and 4 more Republican State Senators.
Recallers came out in the middle of winter to gather signatures while Walker and the RW hate talkers laughed that we would never gather the 540,000 signatures necessary for his recall. In the first 4 days over 100,000 had been gathered. And, as numbers continued to be reported, the RW grew desparate. Recallers were harrassed, intimidated, threatened, and even attacked. It wasn't possible to go out alone, but necessary to 2 or more people gather signatures at recall locations. Our horrendous media, totally in the bag for Republicans, ignored the incidents and, when they became too numerous, reported them as "both sides do it". No. Both sides don't do it. One side did it spurred on by RW hate talkers across the state and Faux Made Up Newzzzz.
After it became clear that we would achieve our goal, Walker tried to manufacture a "loss" for our side by foolishly creating The Big Lie. He went on a media tour including many appearances on state RW radio and Faux News falsely claiming that we said we would submit a million signatures and that anything less than a million would be a "loss" for us. In truth, nobody talked about any goal other than 750,000 which would be more than enough to survive expected challenges.
Happy to disappoint. Walker, with his extreme pulled-out-of-his-ass number of a million signatures designed to create the illusion of failure for the recallers, actually set up his own moment of fail when we actually turned in a million signatures. And then Walker began to hide from the media even more than before.
Big Money has rolled in big time for Walker and his Republican State Senators with wall to wall ads, the Koch Brothers moving in 70 paid staffers into our state, and the GOP and RW groups sending paid out of state activists to work the phones and canvass (laughable that these were the lies Walker has been telling about our side). Of course, Big Money has been buying ads for Walker for 17 months now and he can't get above 50% approval no matter how many tens of millions are spent.
And then there are the dirty tricks. From paying people to put signs in their yards and fields (around a hundred bucks each, but money doesn't matter when the Kochs are your BFFs) to Republican State Attorney General Van Hollen saying he was going to place "observers" to look for "voter fraud", to lying attack ads, to GOP friendly pollsters who ensure that their samples are always male and Republican heavy, and then there's the side order of Republican complaint media across this state that lets the dirty tricks slide, but scrutinizes everything the Democrats do.
The latest dirty trick was revealed during a conference call yesterday from We Are Wisconsin. And it's really sleazy. Their paid phone bankers are calling people who signed to recall petitions to tell them they don't have to vote; that signing the recall petition made it unnecessary. And, I would suspect, making people believe that actually casting a ballot would be "voter fraud".
These are the actions of a desperate campaign, one that hasn't released even one of their own internal polls (and that says a lot). If they were as confident as Walker says they are, dirty tricks wouldn't be needed.
This will all come down to turnout. Every single vote counts.
Walker is clearly worried. He lost the only 2 debates in the campaign. They are already whining about "voter fraud" despite the fact that there were less cases of voter fraud in Wisconsins entire history than the number of people granted immunity in the Walker John Doe Probe (that number just increased to 13 on Friday). and their desperate Willie Horton style dead baby ad is just the latest example that there is no depth to how low this bunch will sink to get and maintain power.
He's already pulling back on his previous predictions of victory. And there's talk about the possibility of a recount (before the election? srsly?).
If my own home phone is any indicator, GOTV is massive with live calls from multiple groups. No robo calls for our side. Real, live volunteers, not paid staffers, are what we use.
We will disappoint Scott Walker. We'll be happy to disappoint him. again.
Signs don't vote. Polls don't vote. People vote.
If you want to help:
You can phone bank union households from home. by using the script and link I posted a few days ago.
Obligatory Tin Cup (thanks for so many of you being so generous already)
For Tom Barrett, Democratic candidate for Governor
For Mahlon Mitchell, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor.
For Lori Compas Democratic candidate for State Senate to replace Scott Fitzgerald (former Republican Majority Leader).
For John Lehman Democratic candidate for State Senate to replace Van Waangard
For Kristen Dexter Democratic candidate for State Senate to replace Terry Moulton
For Donna Seidel Democratic candidate for State Senate for the seat vacated by Pam Galloway.
Thanks for your support.
On a personal note, I've been sidelined with the flu since Friday (who did I kill in a past life to deserve something like this at such as crucial time?) so I've just been stinking useless and frustrated. Dammit!
The difference between a regular virus and the flu, in case you're wondering, is that a regular virus dribbles out one miserable symptom at a time while the flu hits you like a freight train with everything coming within a few hours. I was out of bed for a few hours yesterday and thought I might get back in action for a bit today, but last night didn't go well. I've got the fever down to 100, but the body aches and coughing spells (if I coughed up a shoe I wouldn't be surprised) haven't subsided. On top of that, folks calling to check up on me remind me that I'm contagious and that I have specifically told them not to come over until I'm better for fear they catch this. Dammit! This is the worst time to be down.
Missing the final push of canvassing, phone banking, and the now nightly OLB is more than unbearable. This is the moment we've been working towards and the best I've been able to do is work prior to Friday and reminding friends and family to vote on Tuesday when they call. Ugh.
Not only that, but I used my tax refund to buy a new computer to finally replace this 7 year old tower of misery I've been using and it's just sitting on the floor waiting to be opened and spring to life. That, too, must wait until I have the energy to have the computer guy over to set it up and don't pass the flu off to him either.
I'll be sort of in and out and I'm not sure how much I will be here, but wanted to post this because it's about the only thing I can do right now. Dammit!
10:35 AM PT: Sadly, I must retreat to my bed. Even writing and posting this diary has been exhausting (dammit!), but I'll be back after some rest.
2:16 PM PT: Back from a bit of a restless nap and OMG what I missed. The DOJ is going to observe polls in what looks to be mostly Hispanic areas to ensure voting rights are preserved and protected. As expected, crickets in the Walker-backing Milwaukee Urinal. And then, OMG, there's been a complaint filed on our RW talk radio haters, too. But I'll need to do an actual edit to be able to put that out for you (just doesn't work well with this mini "update" function. Stay tuned, it's coming.
Update/More: Lookie Lookie Who's in Trouble Now Edition: An FCC complaint has been filed by the Media Action Center against both of Milwaukees RW AM hate radio stations (we have no progressive talk although some folks can get a weak signal out of Chicago) alleging a violation of the Zapple Doctrine.
A liberal watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, charging that bias demonstrated by local radio hosts violates something called the Zapple Doctrine, requiring equal time not just for candidates but their supporters.
The complaint by the Media Action Center charges that shows hosted by Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber on WISN-AM (1130), a Clear Channel Communications station, and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner on Journal Communications station WTMJ-AM (620) demonstrated pro-Scott Walker bias in violation of the doctrine.
According to the complaint, Media Action Center monitored the stations for seven days in May. They found WISN-AM aired an average of 80 minutes per day of "pro-Walker / anti-Barrett and pro GOP anti-Democratic messages," and WTMJ-AM aired 88 minutes.(Weisman is an attorney writing in Talkers Magazine - a fadio talk show industry publication).
During the survey period, WISN-AM aired six minutes and 30 seconds of pro-Barrett/ Democratic messages, and WTMJ-AM aired 13 minutes and 30 seconds.
If it can be proved that the stations "consistently only interviewed or promoted a single candidate without ever providing air time to his opponent, it is not only possible but likely that the FCC would ... require equal time for the other candidates," wrote Weisman.
Whatever the FCC rules "may have a significant effect" on the fall elections, he wrote.
4:16 PM PT: I need to rest for a few hours and plan on coming back. Thanks for your understanding and support.
10:14 PM PT: Back again after nap and some food and ready to enjoy the comments.