As David Brandt of Muskego (a Walker supporter and small businessman) filed the papers to launch a recall of Scott Walker on Friday, the recent sequence of events have made one thing perfectly clear. For the current incarnation of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, the ends justifies the means.
The recall petition filed by Mr. Brandt is a fraud. He has no intention of recalling Scott Walker. His sole motivation in filing the petition was to open the floodgates to unlimited contributions (under Wisconsin law) to the coffers of Scott Walker, at the earliest possible opportunity – which was Friday. It was no coincidence the weekend the petition was filed, that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is holding their “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington DC. Rumors have been circulating of Scott Walker showing up today to collect checks, as AFP is funded by Koch Foundation money. While that has not (as of yet) been confirmed, Walker wouldn’t need to make a personal appearance. Wisconsin AFP Director Matt Seaholm is leading a seminar on “Case Studies in Effective Grassroots Mobilization” today (Saturday) at 1:15pm, and no doubt he will leave Washington with plenty of money and support for Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch. John Nichols appeared on Ed Schultz last night, explaining the motivation to launch this effort. The Koch brothers now have unlimited access to saving their golden boy – Scott Walker. David Brandt is a willing pawn in the conservative crusade, apparent in Walker’s agenda and the actions of GOP lawmakers.
Since Walker, Kleefisch, et al. took office, there has been a litany of indications that their interest is ideological, not fiscal or even political. Recently, the “Special Session on Jobs” heralded by Walker has been revealed as a failure on jobs – heavy on conservative social engineering, even in conservative papers like the Oshkosh Northwestern. Walker’s appointment of Mark Gundrum to the District 2 Court of Appeals, based in Waukesha, comes with Gundrum serving only one year as a Circuit Court Judge – vastly underqualified. Gundrum, however, is an “ideological ally” of Walker’s – working with him in the Assembly on conservative legislation. Rebecca Kleefisch is a fundamentalist Christian conservative, who uses her platform as Lieutenant Governor to push ideological policies such as abstinence-only sex ed, stem cell research bans, and anti same-sex relationship policy.
The broader picture could not be clearer – Walker, Kleefisch, and the GOP are involved in a fundamentalist ideological crusade to push their social vision onto the People of Wisconsin. Contrary to what their propaganda cites; this crusade is neither the “will of the majority”, nor is it American. It is, in fact, extremely anti-American; as well as against the Progressive heritage of Wisconsin – the place where the Republican Party of Lincoln was born, and Robert M. LaFollette Jr. fought and won for the middle class decades ago. The current incarnation of the GOP has abandoned that history, and along with it, one of the fundamental reasons the Founders of this Nation abandoned Europe for a new world. Religious persecution at the hands of government.
Thomas Jefferson in July of 1801, wrote in a letter to Edwards Pierrepont:
“[If] the nature of … government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope.”
Jefferson knew of the dangers of “ecclesiastical power” rising above and usurping civil authority. In Scott Walker and the GOP, that is what this crusade is all about. It is the ends justifying the means, in an attempt to usurp the civil authority inherent in our political system at any cost; to justify the promotion of their fundamentalist social engineering agenda. Consider the depths of corruption Americans for Prosperity sinks to, as Herman Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block, was formerly the head of AFP in Wisconsin. Allegations of campaign finance abuse are circling Block, along with questionable dealings while head of the AFP in Wisconsin. No wonder the Koch Brothers and AFP are so desperate to keep Walker in power. They are part and parcel of the fundamental crusade being waged against our deliberative social Democracy.
This crusade amounts to a betrayal of American principles of “liberty and justice for all,” where all have equal access to social and economic opportunity that had once been reserved for the privileged few. We are on the brink of that fundamental right, as defined by founding documents of this nation, being usurped by a small yet powerful privileged few. A few fundamental ideologues who would take us back to a time not seen since the late 19th – early 20th century.
These contemporary crusaders, disguised as Republicans, deny a fundamental hypocrisy in their policies – an hypocrisy which is as dangerous as the outward threat from fundamental Islamic extremists. While it is outwardly hypocritical to profess the killing of innocents in the name of any religion, the covert actions of politicians like Scott Walker pose a greater threat. While that may seem to be an extreme position, it is true. The Scott Walkers of our current system are co-opting that system for the benefit of the few, and are pronouncing a death sentence on the poor, working, lower class in America through their actions. As Senator Bernie Sanders noted, the GOP Corporate powers are ignoring the socio-economic reality facing the poor, working class in America. The result is greatly diminished life expectancy, and less upward mobility for the nation’s poor. Not only is this a betrayal of our societal structure, it is a betrayal and hypocrisy to their so-called “Christian values.”
Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and the extreme GOP politicians in power are promoting a fundamentalist ideological crusade of grand hypocrisy. An hypocrisy which is leading Wisconsin (and the nation) to a time which we have long since outgrown. The irony of these fundamentalists creating a system of such socio-economic Darwinism – where only the strong can survive and prosper; seems to be lost on them (as they believe in strict creationism versus evolution). As does the fact that our Democracy and society is only as strong as the collective wisdom and experience of all of us – and no one succeeds in a vacuum.
The necessity of the recall lies basically on this principle – that Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch are using the offices they hold, entrusted by the People of Wisconsin, not for the advancement or benefit of the state as a whole; but to advance their fundamentalist ideology through a crusade of social and economic engineering. This crusade is disenfranchising and denying equal protection and access to a vast majority of the people of Wisconsin; leaving them to wonder what happened to the great middle class in America. Worse yet, this crusade (as noted by Senator Sanders) has left a growing number of citizens struggling just to provide the necessities to survive (never mind “the pursuit of happiness). The numbers of the poor are growing, and with it, more citizens facing a “death sentence” because of an ideology that places the self above the social contract.
Walker and Kleefisch are dangerous to our Democracy, and deserve to be recalled for using their high offices to promote a “…subordination of the civil to ecclesiastical power.” The Founders left Europe to escape this oppression, and understood its danger to Democracy. We are faced with this same threat today, in the face of Walker and the GOP crusade. They will do anything to retain power, as is already evident. Most people of common sense do not believe “the end justifies the means”, nor do they believe there is a place in state governance for fundamentalist ideological crusades. From Jefferson’s quote, we must be the “tow rope.” It is our obligation to recall them.