No Trick Too Low for Wisconsin GOP

Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blog No Quarter has a piece up about dirty Republican tricks in efforts to recall Republican state senators. Long story short, the GOP is setting up fake Democrats to run primary elections against real Democrats.

Republicans are sending around a couple of letters nominating Democrats. "The [Government Accountability Board] is delaying Democratic elections to give them more time to organize," the letters -- which are identical except for a few names -- say. "A Democratic primary will push the general election back by one month, so that [the GOP candidate] can have more time to organize a campaign against his liberal challenger."

The Government Accountability Board is a non-partisan agency which, among other things, oversees elections. The GAB didn't delay Democratic elections "to give them more time to organize," they delayed them because Republicans used a private firm to collect recall signatures and, as a result, many of those signatures are questionable.

"By running these fake Democrats, Republicans would force the Democratic challengers to spend money on a primary that could have been used in the general election. Plus, the spoiler candidates could launch negative attacks on the Democrats while the Republican incumbents remain above the fray," Bice writes. "[Chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Party Dan] Feyen confirmed that he sent his letter trying to get a 'protest candidate' on the ballot in the Hopper race." The letters come with petitions to get the candidates on the ballot.

And this has been Republicans' biggest problem all along -- they've been using every trick in the book to push their agenda. It's why the Governor's union-busting bill is tied up in the courts. It probably has a lot to do with why the state Republicans' poll numbers are falling through the floor as well -- people aren't big fans of obviously unfair trickery.

And this is obvious trickery. How Democratic are these "democrats" the GOP wants on the ballot? "Both of the fake Democrats have a history of giving almost exclusively to major Republicans," Bice reports. The two candidates -- John Buckstaff and Rol Church -- need 800 signatures to force a primary.

Busted, the GOP has not denied anything -- probably because they can't. Talking Points Memo's Eric Kleefeld posts the state Republican Party's official response to the issue:

The upcoming recall elections are unprecedented not only in Wisconsin, but in our nation's history. Unlike the Democratic Senators who deserted their constituents for a trip to Illinois, six Republican state Senators face recall not for misconduct, but for doing the job they were elected to do: taking a stance on a tough issue that came before the legislature. Now, these Republican senators are again busy doing their jobs crafting a fiscally responsible state budget that promotes economic growth, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage with many of their challengers who have had sufficient time to campaign. Because of this disadvantage, and the outrageous nature of elected officials facing recall for standing up for a balanced budget, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has advocated that protest candidates run in Democratic primaries to ensure that Republican legislators have ample time to communicate with voters throughout their districts after the state budget is approved. The public deserves time to learn about the differences between the candidates and about the Republican plan to control government spending and boost economic growth vs. the Democrat alternative of job-killing tax hikes.

You know how to tell a rationalization from an explanation? Rationalizations are wordy. This isn't an explanation.

The people of Wisconsin are going to need a better answer than this. I wouldn't bet on them getting one.


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