Three Misperceptions about the Kloppenburg Campaign

April 27, 2011

Fed up with a smarmy campaign that won’t go away, many people with conservative inclinations may misperceive current efforts to put JoAnne Kloppenburg on the state Supreme Court. 
  1.  Misperception: The recount proves they’re stupid.  The Kloppenburg campaign might be called stupid if they expect victory in an honest recount. We don’t believe that’s what they expect at all. Their hope to invent reasons to disqualify thousands of votes certified by the official canvass; to invent reasons why Kloppenburg should be awarded thousands of phantom votes no one’s heard of yet; and to get in front of a judge willing willing to buy their arguments. Since a Dane County judge will likely decide, expecting this to work may not be stupid at all.
  2.  Misperception: The recount is a waste of time.  Not if the purpose of the recount is to buy time. The meaningful action won’t be the counting. It will be court proceedings disputing the validity of individual groups of ballots as Kloppenburg’s allies run the clock past the Supreme Court’s summer recess. Assuming the Court eventually reviews challenges to the new collective bargaining law, recount litigation practically guarantees it won’t happen before the new term begins in August.  
  3.  Misperception: They can’t possibly win.  It depends on what they’re trying to win. With the legal team that made Al Franken a U.S. Senator, partisan judges and a media eager to sabotage conservatives, a stolen election is not inconceivable. But simply prolonging chaos advances the far bigger goal of ending Supreme Court elections altogether. There won’t be another until 2013 and the media are hard at work discrediting the concept.  Only continued Republican legislative majorities can block a constitutional amendment handing the choice of our judges to unelected panels of liberal lawyers. 
  Things aren’t always what they seem.


The mask comes off

April 27, 2011

By stalling the final result of a statewide recount in the recent Supreme Court race, what the Liberal Left is really fishing for is a Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 over legal challenges to changes in collective bargaining, with Justice Prosser playing no role.
The effect would be that the lower court’s decision stands, the transparently partisan District IV Court of Appeals having already ducked issuing a proper ruling by declining to hear the case. 
Within the Supreme Court itself, there’s ample opportunity for the liberal wing to delay. It’s true that any four justices can petition to hear a case and the case would then be heard. But first, four Justices have to be willing to take that step. And once they’ve petitioned, it’s up to Liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to schedule the case and her scheduling cannot be appealed.
Last week, former Dane County Executive Jonathan Barry said Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s presumption of authority to block the legislation is “so egregiously wrong on the face of it that one has to conclude it’s political.”
A prominent member of the Assembly in the 1980’s, when Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law was revised, Barry noted there has been no violation because the Legislature created the exemptions that allow it to operate precisely as it did last month.
For the handful of people who believed JoAnne Kloppenburg actually intended to deliver impartial judgment, the mask is off once and for all. 

Paying for lies

April 27, 2011

The Racine Unified School District is sticking taxpayers for almost half a million dollars for one make-up day resulting from a union-organized protest, a protest that closed schools when hundreds of teachers lied about being too sick to show up for work.
District officials implied the real problem was snow days that used up extra time built into the union contract—blaming the district’s appropriate actions instead of inappropriate, dishonest actions by unionized employees.
The Racine Journal-Times reported February 17 that teachers and others said their union urged its members to skip school and join the Madison protest against Governor Walker’s budget proposals.  Roughly 400 complied.
Superintendent Jim Shaw said teachers must be paid for the make-up day because it goes beyond contract provisions. Of course that would be the same contract the teachers breached.  And this past weekend, the Journal-Times reported other districts found cheaper ways to make up the time, which may sound good until you realize this typically means finding ways to help the unions get away with it.
While its solution may be the biggest embarrassment of all, Racine is far from the only school district that’s completely in the tank for the unions—and thus actively working against taxpayers. The battle being fought in the state Legislature in reality is the identical one that must also be won—or lost—at every level of government.  
In that respect we might even thank Mr. Shaw for showing how bad things are when he told the Journal-Times: “From a legal perspective the best way to proceed [on the make-up day] was to honor the terms of the contract.” If only he could visualize himself holding the union to that same standard.

It’s ALL about the money

April 20, 2011

On Monday, the slightly less Liberal of Madison’s newspapers reported that government unions might respond to a narrower range of collective bargaining subjects by turning their attention to politics. That’s like warning that climate change could make Las Vegas hot and dry.
But union leaders weren’t hesitant to talk and it would be a mistake not to take them seriously. Electing a different governor and repealing the collective bargaining law top their agenda.
As a Wisconsin resident you already bear a heavier tax burden than people in most other states. The unions’ agenda would make it heavier still.
And “heavier still” means?  This week the Department of Revenue said 10.9 percent of Wisconsinites’ personal income in 2010 went to pay state and local taxes—meaning, largely, wages and benefits for government employees whose unions are openly formulating strategies to have you pay more. 
“More” in this case would be on top of what the Tax Foundation recently identified as the fourth highest state and local tax burden in the U.S., based on 2009 statistics.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says under the proposed Walker budget, the property tax bill for an average Wisconsin home would increase less than one percent each of the next two years. That a property tax increase can be good news because it isn’t bigger tells you a lot about how state government was operating until inauguration day in January.  Fortunately, that’s changing.
What won’t change is government unions totally focused on restoring the pre-Walker status quo and taking more of whatever you’ve got.
Oh, and until late last week a souvenir stand on the Capitol Square was hawking union protest memorabilia under a sign that read: “It’s not about the money.”
And no, we aren’t making that up.

Judicial hijackers

April 20, 2011

We think it was a Far Side cartoon that showed a defendant looking across a courtroom to see 12 kangaroos seated in the jury box.  We know how he felt.  
Changes to Wisconsin collective bargaining law were enacted more than a month ago. It’s time for the judicial branch in Dane County to butt out and stop abusing its powers.
Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi is stalling her decision whether the bill’s passage violated the Open Meetings Law—a decision reachable in, oh… 30 seconds if she’d read the law and the legislative rules, and if the decision were hers to make.
The proper action would be to dismiss the lawsuits by Dane County’s partisan Democrat district attorney and public employee unions, since pronouncing on the Legislature’s procedural rules is clearly none of the court’s business.
Appealing to judicial grown-ups has so far done no good.  Jurisdiction—as if it were a legitimate issue in this make-believe case—belongs to the Madison-based District IV Court of Appeals.  Of the three judges there, one is a standard Madison Liberal and another actually prosecuted people for providing the same caucus staff political services he used in winning his previous job as Dane County District Attorney. 

Undoubtedly hoping to put Justice David Prosser on the spot, these worthies refuse to hear the case and say it should go directly to the state Supreme Court.
No word yet from Olympus, where Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson must be fuming that she missed getting the Liberal majority she needs to—again, on trumped-up grounds—overturn the law.
The only honest answer any court could give is that the Legislature’s conduct of its affairs is its own business.  It would be naïve to expect such humility from any “justice” system based in Dane County.

Klopp on, Klopp off…

April 20, 2011

Failed state Supreme Court candidate Joanne Kloppenburg had until close of business today to decide whether to request a recount of her 7,316 vote loss to incumbent Justice David Prosser.  Or maybe we should say Kloppenburg had until close of business to relay the decision made by the AFL-CIO.  At this writing, it remains possible that the unions are so politically tone-deaf they’ll insist their wholly-owned candidate stick Wisconsin taxpayers with the million-dollar expense of a pointless recount, likely helping ensure that the next union defeat is by a wider margin.

If Kloppenburg does file for a recount, forcing the rest of us to pay for weeks of non-stories about a dozen votes changing hands here and there, there will be some satisfaction in remembering how she jumped in front of the cameras on election night, reassuring everyone how confident she was that her unofficial 204-vote margin would hold. If 204 was a safe margin, who but the puppet of interest groups plotting larceny would recount 7,316? 

Be grateful that we’ll never know what Kloppenburg’s reaction would have been if the shoe were on the other foot; if Prosser were behind by more than 7,300 votes and asking taxpayers to foot the bill for a recount.  It seems a safe bet that words like “desperate” and “wasteful” and “pathetic” would be liberally employed.

Here’s hoping the rank cynicism on display in the effort to elect Kloppenburg will only make it easier to apply those same words to the inevitable next attempt at turning the Court to the Left.