In March 12 IssueBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
If we didn't know before (although some of us did), we now know without a doubt what the real agenda of the newly elected Republicans is: to completely annihilate and completely render extinct the entire middle class. This effort is clear in Wisconsin where the new Republican Governor Scott Walker is making a complete joke of his office as he insists on eliminating collective bargaining for state workers under the guise of cutting the budget when, in fact, his real objective is to break the unions altogether. If it were really about the budget, the stalemate would have ended weeks ago when the state workers agreed to his demands to pay more for their health insurance and into their own pensions. But, as we have clearly seen, that was not his real objective. If we had any doubts left at all, they were certainly erased when the recording of his conversation with the fake David Koch came to light. He not only admitted he had thought of planting goons in the midst of the demonstrators to cause trouble, but he also suggested to the fake Mr. Koch that he should spend more of his billions on ad campaigns supporting the Republicans in "swing" districts.
That little tidbit is causing Governor Walker an even bigger headache because he is now up on ethics violation charges due to that conversation. You see, it is illegal for a politician to solicit independent expenditures from a donor because once a politician asks for it; it is no longer "independent". Aside from that, it is also illegal to solicit campaign contributions from your state-owned office. Purportedly, he was in the Governor's office at the time of the call. Oops!
Apparently, the Republicans in Wisconsin (like most Republicans everywhere) are not all that concerned about the law-only union busting, tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations, and, of course, morality policing. And the latter, in my opinion, is only to hoodwink millions of God-fearing Middle Americans into buying what they are selling, not for any real concern for morals. But, I digress…back to Wisconsin Republicans…in another of their desperate measures to get the 14 Democratic Senators to come back to Madison, they exercised an option that the Wisconsin Constitution clearly prohibits-thus, my point about their lack of concern for the law. They declared the 14 absent senators in "Contempt of the Senate" and ordered Wisconsin state troopers to arrest them on sight. The Wisconsin Constitution gives state lawmakers an "exemption from arrest and civil process … except treason, felony and breach of the peace…" As much as King Walk…I mean, Governor Walker would like to believe that defying him is tantamount to treason, I don't believe that would really hold up in court. Not yet, anyway. But, if Republicans and the Koch Brothers continue to have their way, it might in the not-too-distant future.
In the midst of this all-out war, there was a bright spot to be found. I discovered that, indeed, there are some principled conservatives to be found in the great state of Wyoming. Wyoming-arguably the most Republican of all 50 states due to the fact that their state legislature consists of 76 Republicans and only 14 Democrats-recently defeated an intrusive "big government" anti-abortion measure and followed that up by defeating an anti-gay marriage bill which would have virtually nullified any "marriage other than that of a male and a female person." It is interesting to note that Big Government Republicans brought these two measures to the floor in spite of the fact that the official slogan for the state of Wyoming is "The Equality State."
Republican State Senator Cale Case (who is also an economist and a Ph.D.) said this while arguing against the passage of the measure and making reference to the Wyoming Constitution:
"You, right now, have to vote on this in light of Article 1, Section 3, that says 'Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex or any circumstance or condition whatsoever.' It doesn't say 'except for a marriage or civil union from another state.' Doesn't say that."
Republican State Senator Phil Nicholas, also referencing the state's constitution said, "Let me just read you two things that are just compelling-'Article 1, Section 7: Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of free men exists nowhere in a republic, not even the largest majority.' These people are our neighbors, they're our friends, they're our brothers, sisters. And to suggest that they don't have the rights, at least to access the courts…"
One of the four Democrats in the state senate, Chris Rothfuss, said "Now I know this group believes in small government and I know this group believes in individual rights and freedom, but I'm not seeing that on this issue. I'm not seeing that sense and that will because what I'm seeing here is the heavy hand of government once again saying 'this minority group is not equal.' Our role as legislators is not to legislate morality; it is not to bring our religion into politics. Mr. President, our role is to have a good system of education, fix the roads, that's why people send us here. This is not our authority, Mr. President, and I don't think we belong here. I urge the body to vote against House Bill 74 and I can assure you every "no" vote on HB 74 is gonna feel good."
So, in Wyoming we have witnessed Republicans not only claim they are for "small government" but stand upon their principles and take action proving they are for "small government." Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans could learn a few things from their Wyoming counterparts…that is, if they weren't so darn sure that they already know everything.
Note: Shortly after I submitted this column, the Republican senators of Wisconsin further proved my points, by taking an illegal vote stripping the unions of their collective bargaining rights. I think it is fair to say that the majority of Wisconsin citizens, along with a majority of Americans, now hold those Republican senators in contempt. The war is on.