On Wisconsin

Filed in National by on August 4, 2011

Jim Croce once famously sang that you “don’t mess around with Jim.” Well, you also don’t mess around with Bucky the Badger.

As UI wrote the other day, many of the recall elections in Wisconsin are scheduled for next Tuesday. And there have been some interesting developments of late. It seems that Marie Antoinette has been reincarnated in the form of GOP Senator Alberta Darling.

An interesting development in the Wisconsin recall wars: GOP state senator Alberta Darling, one of the top targets of the Dems’ recall drive, told a radio show host that those who are making over $250,000 should not see higher taxes because they are “not wealthy.”

Yes, the let them eat cake crowd of the GOP doesn’t believe that people making $250K or more are rich. I go to Wisconsin a few times a year (my in-laws live there) and I can tell you that the vast majority of people living there do not make anything close to that. Modest homes are almost everywhere in the district, which is north of Milwaukee. And Darling is vulnerable, having only won reelection in 2008 by about 1% of the vote.

And today’s version of the robber baron, the Koch Brothers, have financed a fraudulent absentee ballot initiative.

Is the Koch-backed conservative group Americans For Prosperity up to no good in the Wisconsin state Senate recalls?

As Politico reports, mailers have now turned up from Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, addressed to voters in two of the Republican-held recall districts, where the elections will be held on August 9. The mailers ask recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application, and send it in — by August 11, after Election Day for the majority of these races.

This smacks of the dirty political tricks Bob Ehrlich and his campaign pulled during the election last November in Maryland.

Prosecutors say a recorded message that went out to more than 112,000 homes last Nov. 2 urged Democratic voters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County to “relax” and stay home because Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and President Barack Obama “have already been successful.” In fact, the polls were still open.

Henson has acknowledged ordering the calls. He told The Baltimore Sun in November that the calls were “counterintuitive” and were intended to encourage Ehrlich supporters to get out and vote.

Fact is, the GOP has a long history of trying to suppress the Democratic vote, especially in minority neighborhoods, and a long history of dirty tricks (see Richard Nixon, et al). Oh how I wish some US Attorney would investigate these gangsters masquerading as businessmen and indict them for their misdeeds. But we all know that having money means you can get away with committing a crime (except for Leona Helmsly and Martha Stewart).

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A rabble-rousing bureaucrat living in Sussex County

Comments (17)

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  1. liberalgeek says:

    I was at a party a few months ago and heard the hostess say “…and since when is 250K a year wealthy?” Well, it is more than 4X the average annual income in the US, so there’s that…

  2. socialistic ben says:

    I have a very good conservative friend. Not Glenn Beck Conservative but like, good person conservative. I know this because in recent months, he has “come out” as a social progressive, but fiscal conservative. Basically what a libertarian used to be before the Tparty and the Paul family made it all crazy.

    anyhoozle (and i know i hate individual example to make a broad point, but im nothing if not a hypocrite) He and i were talking about this 250K deal and here is his story. HIs family fits into the between 250 and 500k a year house hold income bracket. By his account, his folks are responsible people who bought a hose they could afford and lived slightly below their means to make sure they had enough money. All of a sudden, that house is worth less than the mortgage and things like tuition and health care costs have crept up to the point where they are “just getting by”. Yes, the could move to a smaller house, sell some of their things, yada yada, but I think if you responsibly earn a living, you are entitled to it.
    I’ll say the same thing i said to him regarding the revenue increases VS spending cuts. It isnt his dad that is the problem. It is the guy making 10 times as much as his dad who pays the same dollar amount (or less) in taxes.
    Perhaps the bigger problem is that the average income is 50k…. that that is much less than it should be. I would be a fan of more diverse tax brackets. How about start at 500k… then another tax percentage for 1-5m, 5m and up.

  3. socialistic ben says:

    I also think the biggest focus should be on keeping money in this country. It doesnt matter how much who pays in taxes. If the money they are spending on goods is all going out of the country and not comming back in the form of corporate taxes, nothing else matters.

  4. liberalgeek says:

    Ben- Let’s assume that the guy makes 300K. An let’s further assume that Jesus comes back and tells Republicans that taxes are too low and Democrats are able to increase the taxes on the 250K+ bracket by 3 points. Your friends Dad would owe an extra $125 a month in taxes (out of the $25,000 he make every month).

  5. socialistic ben says:

    My point is, 250k is by no means the highest income in the country. I happen to think that his family SHOULD pay more. I think MY parents (who no longer have 2 dependents living with them) can pay more, and even I can afford to pay a little extra. I think messaging has a lot to do with it. Not only do the masses need to be convinced that 250k is actually wealthy, but that they should also be paying higher taxes. we can all probably agree that 1m is wealthy, so lets start there. Once it proves that it improves our country’s financial situation and doesnt bankrupt those asked to contribute more, it will be an easier case to make for the rest.

  6. Most of the masses think $250K per year is wealthy, since you’re talking upper 10% of income.

  7. The Straight Scoop says:

    $250K might be “wealthy” to a good chunk of the population, but I have to agree with Ben. Start at $1M and win that argument. Only 10% might make over $250K, but enough of the population is within striking distance of that income level that it’s that much tougher of an argument. I think you have a lot easier time messaging “millionaires.”

  8. socialistic ben says:

    SS, unfortunately we live in a time when messaging is EVERYTHING. not just politically either. the constant information bombardment doesn’t leave much time for thinking. You dont have to be evil (the GOP is) you just have to be persuasive.

  9. Geezer says:

    For the record, the $250,000 is ADJUSTED gross income. With typical deductions, a couple has to make over $300,000 in actual income to reach that level. And that level represents not the highest 10% of earners but the highest 2%. If the top 2% isn’t rich, what is it — middle class? If that’s the case, then the middle is everthing from 2% to 98%, which clearly is absurd.

    I believe this “But we’re NOT rich!” bleating used to be called “crying poor-mouth.”

  10. John Young says:

    what the hell is going on that the WI state fair????? I thought it was about the world’s best cream puffs…..


  11. Geezer says:

    JY: Get used to it. I was speaking with a Republican last week who spends a lot of time in England. The wealthy there — wait, let’s not call them “wealthy,” that might offend our Tea Party friends — anyway, people with Mercedes and BMWs and such no longer drive them into London. Attacks on people in such cars have become commonplace, so the, um, Mercedes owners are buying older, more beat-up cars to avoid the attacks.

    Serves as a reminder that once the proletariat can see no way to get ahead in the system, they have a tendency to attack the system. With apologies to Kris Kristofferson, riots are just another word for nothing left to lose.

  12. puck says:

    Some guy on dkos points out that all the recalled Repubs were elected in 2008 in the teeth of the Obama/Dem electoral wave. So Dems might need to get ready for a nasty surprise in WI.

    What a horrible week for an election critical to Democrats. I hope WI Dems are able to counter the new Obama enthusiasm gap.

  13. Geezer says:

    Puck: Last I looked, the polling was encouraging. Has that changed?

  14. puck says:

    I haven’t been looking at the polls. I hope you are right. I wonder if the polls have a “likely voter” component, and were conducted after the debt deal. That might register any enthusiasm gap, if it exists.

  15. MJ says:

    JY – it is the best state fair and the cream puffs are out of this world. People wait for hours in line to get one.

  16. MJ says:

    While Wisconsin went overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008, the counties involved in the GOP recalls went for McCain by differing margins. In Darling’s district, McCain took 58% of the vote, yet she only won reelection by about 1% of the vote. The others also faced similar margins of victory, but nothing compared to what McCain rolled up.

    Polling has showed 3 Dems leading comfortably and the other 3 within .05% – 3%. So all 6 of these are winnable. This is purely local and I seriously doubt that there will be an Obama-factor in the elections. This is about Scott Walker and his tebagging supporters in the General Assembly stripping away collective bargaining rights for workers.

  17. Geezer says:

    I agree with MJ’s analysis, but would add this word of caution: They’ve never before held this many elections in the summer, so voter turnout models are of limited use. The article I just read explaining this ended on a hopeful note:

    “One of the few available indicators of how the turnout will look next week was the re-election victory of Democrat Dave Hansen in mid-July, the first general recall election of the summer. Hansen cruised to victory, and the turnout neared 31,000—a figure suggesting an energized electorate in Hansen’s Green Bay-area district. So the big question is: Can Democrats replicate that energy in six districts scattered throughout the state? Their hopes of snatching back the majority in the Wisconsin senate depend on it.”