Randy's Ramblings: The election is over; no end in sight to the recriminationBy the time this hits the press, Tuesday’s recall elections will have been decided. Well, most of them should be decided anyway. Considering the vote-counting problems that plagued April’s state Supreme Court election, there’s no certainty that the results will be cut and dried.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
By the time this hits the press, Tuesday’s recall elections will have been decided.
Well, most of them should be decided anyway. Considering the vote-counting problems that plagued April’s state Supreme Court election, there’s no certainty that the results will be cut and dried.
If the races are as close as some pundits predicted, there could be a recount or two.
Don’t expect a lull in the politicking when the winners are declared — on either the state or federal level.
The next recall election is just around the corner. Opponents of Republican Gov. Scott Walker can start circulating petitions in January. They’re confident they’ll have the half-million signatures it will take to force the governor into another election within a matter of weeks.
Then the entire Assembly will be up for election in November.
Walker reportedly has amassed at least $2.5 million in campaign contributions since taking office seven months ago. Corporate political action committees continue to funnel untold millions into the state, too, so expect more TV ads and direct-mail pieces in the near future.
The Democrats have had success at fundraising through websites like ActBlue that collect small amounts from many donors across the country.
The Democrat-supporting political action committees were able to compete with the conservative PACs in the recent race between challenger Shelly Moore and incumbent state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. At our house, that meant we watched negative TV ads from both sides and received opposing mailers on a regular basis.
They say the country’s broke, but it’s hard to believe considering the millions being poured into political campaigns.
No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s recall elections, the acrimony between the pro- and anti-government forces will remain.
I’ll be surprised if the Democrats have managed to gain control of the state Senate. The challengers were running in strong Republican districts that stayed that way in the Obama victory of 2008.
And even if the Democrats do gain control of the Senate, with Gov. Walker still in office and Republicans in charge of the Assembly, they’ll be unable to undo the union-busting and cuts to state universities and local schools and governments enacted earlier this year.
For now, the Walker administration is touting the success of his budget, saying schools and local governments have been able to reduce expenses with no effect on services.
We’ll see how parents react if class sizes grow, fees increase, schools close and teachers start leaving for neighboring states. Recruiting teachers — at least the ones we’d like to have — is sure to be more difficult in the wake of the Republican’s anti-union measures.
It takes a real missionary to go into a profession in which any salary increase above the rate of inflation requires the voters’ approval in a referendum. In fairness, teachers still get salary step increases.
(If the salary cap is good for teachers, why not apply it to legislators, too?)
Even more demoralizing, perhaps, is the vitriol that has been directed at teachers. It’s an upside down world. The engineers of the financial collapse are heroes. Public servants are villains.
It makes you wonder who’s next on the scapegoat list. I suppose it’s back to the old reliables — Hispanics, African-Americans and the poor.
I still get the Inter-County Leader, where I worked before coming to the Star-Observer nearly 14 years ago. The weekly newspaper covers Polk and Burnett counties. In the last edition, the Polk County Board was thinking about delaying having their non-represented officials contribute to their retirement funds because they were having trouble getting applicants for three top positions.
Some of the rubes on the board have made a habit of beating up on county department heads. Apparently, the word has gotten out.
The recriminations continue on the national level, too, kicked into overdrive by Standard & Poor’s downgrading of U.S. Treasury bonds, followed by a 2,000-point drop in the stock market.
Again, Republicans and Democrats are pointing at each other as the cause of the calamity.
One thing a few Republicans and most Democrats agree on is that S&P doesn’t have a lot of credibility. It’s the same outfit, after all, that gave AAA ratings to mortgage-backed securities that touched off the 2008 financial crisis.
Liberals see this as a big-business conspiracy to try to damage President Barack Obama heading into the 2012 election — no matter the cost.
I personally hold the Tea Party Republicans responsible for the slide that has shrunk workers’ 401k plans and threatens to increase interest rates. They ignored warnings of grave economic consequences and manufactured the debt limit crisis — all the while refusing to consider any increases in revenue. They want the nation’s most vulnerable to bear all of the cost of righting the financial ship.
Republicans have a different take on the story. They think they’re right and I know that I am. That’s why this political fight is far from over. It could be the new normal.