“Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” swallowed, America looks toward WISCONSIN for hope.


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“This deal is a sugar-coated Satan Sandwich.  If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see.”

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, on the debt ceiling “compromise.”

“When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got ninety-eight per cent of what I wanted.

Speaker John Boehner, on the debt ceiling “compromise.”

“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the debt ceiling “compromise.”

Weary unto death of the perpetual Washington “compromises” between our moderate Republican President, the GOP-dominated Senate, and the Tea Party-dominated House, America is now looking with hope to the Badger State, where REAL Democrats and Independents still live and fight.  The tireless onslaught of Wisconsin’s reactionaries against workers’ rights and voting rights are about to provoke a GREATER and opposite reaction in favor of democracy and working people.

This TUESDAY is the big day where we (I can say “we” because I sent them money) attempt to recall six of the worst Republican State Senators.   We will need to topple at least three to flip control of the Senate and put a stop to the Koch Brothers’ rape of the state.  SIX would be best of course, and would teach the corporatist marauders across this great nation a salutary lesson, while giving all of us progressives something to celebrate and inspire us.

Petrified of the outcome, the Wisconsin Republicans have been rushing through draconian legislation as quickly as they can, much of it focused on making it as hard and confusing as possible for Wisconsinites to vote.  (You will notice that ONLY REPUBLICANS – never Democrats – make it harder for people to vote – always justified with bogus tales of fraud, fraud that is not only infinitesimally rare but wouldn’t even be addressed by their supposed remedies.)  And this is after buying themselves an extra month by admittedly running what even they called “fake Democrats” in primaries against the recall challengers.  (Of course they all failed comically, but the extra month was bought.)  A few of the ways Walker, Koch, and their Rethugs are trying to keep Wisconsinites from the polls:

  • In a bow to old Jim Crow tradition, Walker’s gang has passed a law (as they’ve been doing in other newly GOP-dominated states) requiring a voter to show state-issued ID, which must be obtained from the DMV.  What people are least likely to have such ID’s and will be forced to go to a DMV to get them?  Poor people, old people, students, and black people.  Ask which party these groups tend to vote for, and you will see why the GOP loves these kinds of laws.
  • To add a little PUNCH to this law, the Wisconsin legislature has closed down several DMVs – mostly in Democratic districts and areas where Dems are trying to recall Republican senators – of course!
  • A recent video of a voter attempting to get one of these ID’s at a DMV shows two very interesting complications – you are asked to pay $28 unless you specifically know to tell the clerk you need the ID for voting (pretty close to a poll tax for the uninformed) and, bizarrely, this applicant was told that she needed to show “recent activity” in her bank account.
  • Anticipating and struggling against their imminent defeat, the Republicans are rushing through their scheduled redistricting months ahead of time with confusing new lines, one of which actually cuts a Democratic challenger, Nancy Nusbaum, out of her district by HALF A BLOCK.
  • Americans For Prosperity, an admitted Koch Brothers front group, got caught last week sending out mailers to Democratic voters encouraging them to send their absentee ballots to an address which is actually a rightwing PO Box, AND to do it by “August 11,” when the elections are August 9.  When caught and confronted, a spokesman claimed it was a “typo.”  And all of the above is off the top of my head, the tip of the iceberg.  These are dirty people we are dealing with.

The Players on Tuesday:

In order of how likely we are to succeed (going by polls at this point) –

1. Dan Kapanke to be recalled by Jennifer Shillinglatest polls show Democrat Shilling up 57% to 43%! The lackluster Kapanke who represents the bluest district of any GOP WI state senator claims to have taken up reading the Bible more than ever before once he realized his recall was imminent.  “How can you go wrong following a leader that obviously gets his mission on this earth?” he remarked to the La Crosse Tribune, in an incomprehensible attempted justification of his vote stripping workers’ bargaining rights.  Meanwhile, a fire last week mysteriously destroyed the La Crosse offices of “We Are Wisconsin” – the main union PAC supporting the recall.

2. Randy “Bed” Hopper to be recalled by Jessica Kinglatest polls show Democrat King up 54.7% to 45.3%! Randy’s nickname refers to the recent scandal of his getting his 26-year-old mistress a state job with a 35% raise.  (And accidentally directed his own voters to an 800 number that was actually a phone sex line.)  [Update – more recent polls seem to show this race a little closer … nail-biter!]

3. Those two should be easiest.  Then there’s the priceless Alberta “Walker’s” Darling, caught recently unable to name any businesses in her district:

This account of her debate the other day with her challenger Sandy Pasch shows her to be a brainless reciter of talking points and slavish admirer of Governor Walker. But she’s been getting even more extreme and shameless in recent months:

…Darling has changed so much that even Walker isn’t sure he can control her. Some of the ideas she put in the budget – and Pasch listed several — were so obviously political and toxic that he had to veto them or force their removal, such as the tax break to moist tobacco (whose industry gave money to Darling), the payback to the bail bond lobbyists, the pay bill for fired police officers while they faced criminal charges.

There are recent polls giving each woman the edge in this Milwaukee-area district, which will be perhaps the most closely watched and hardest fought.

4 – 6. Let me just copy the rest from The Sconz at “The Daily Page,” a progressive Wisconsin site:

In contrast, despite “shooting himself in both feet,” Fred Clark is a source of hope for Democrats in his race against Luther Olsen, and now at least some Dems are speculating that Olsen could be the second most likely victim, after Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse), whose political obituary has been ready for print ever since his vote on the budget repair bill…

Similarly, Dems are also encouraged by the poll performance of Nancy Nusbaum, who is running against Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), who most considered to be the least likely Republican to fall. Both sides are claiming an edge in the MIlwaukee-area race between Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Sandy Pasch.

In the race between Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Shelly Moore, Democrats feel a little discouraged about the price of advertising in the Twin Cities media market. However, I don’t think the traditional advantage of incumbency is much of a factor in these recalls, therefore, I think if the Dem groups can advertise as much or more in that race as the GOP, Moore has a fair shot.

NEXT: Defend our two Democrats on the 16th, and then Walker goes in January! In between, let’s support our Ohio brothers in September as they overturn the worker-bashing SB5!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.