I reside in a suburb in Milwaukee County which is a well-known bastion of the far Left, populated by a high proportion of professors and state university staff as well as other government workers. Those who have not yet drunk the Kool-Aid, as it were, affectionately refer to it as the “People’s Republic” or “Moscow by the Lake.”
In 2011, I decided to run for the village board. Heretofore, we had lived in this bucolic (worker’s) paradise for 18 years without any problems, even though my politics, judging from the campaign signs which regularly sprouted from my lawn, was hardly a secret. But with that campaign, the fun started.
Neighbors who had put out my signs received nasty, anonymous telephone calls (as did we). Dead animals were thrown onto our driveway. I received a ticket for not having shoveled my walks within a 24-hour time frame (an ordinance which is almost never enforced); and someone complained to the village that our backyard, filled with my grandson’s toys, was an eyesore.
On the eve of the election, one of my opponents put out a flyer warning people that I was the tool of dark forces seeking to overturn the village’s proud progressive traditions. I lost the election, and since then life has gone back to normal: no tickets for slacking at snow-shoveling, and my grandson’s toys are all still there, together with some for his little sister.
This goes to show how seriously Leftists take politics, and the lengths they are willing to go to win, which brings me to the general election in beautiful Wisconsin this year.
Contrary to some reports and union propaganda, Walker’s signature legislation, “Act 10,” did not “disenfranchise” the public employee unions. It did make life a little less cozy for them. It made union membership for public employees elective where it had been mandatory. It requires annual re-certification of such unions; it requires the unions to collect their own dues (previously, the dues had been automatically deducted from members’ checks); and it limited the unions’ bargaining authority to wages, not benefits or working conditions.
This exposes government workers to the real world, but since they are still governed by the civil service regulations, they have considerable job security.
There was a massive temper tantrum in the state capital, which lasted for months. Demonstrators clashed with police, damaged public property, and openly harassed and threatened lawmakers. For a time, every Democrat in the state Senate fled the state, crossing the line into Illinois to deny the necessary quorum to pass the bill.
The intimidation has not stopped, though now it is reduced to such actions as a union thug taking photos of an elderly lady’s Walker sign in her front yard and posting it on Facebook, naming the pizza restaurant owned by her family, and urging a boycott. (The public response, according to radio reports, has been a massive surge in business for the establishment.) I just had my first Walker sign removed from my lawn by some brave Democrat in the middle of the night.
It has also taken much nastier and more ominous forms, as you’ll see on the next page.
While still county executive of Milwaukee County, Walker had been informed of some financial irregularities and had asked the district attorney to investigate. The DA (who, it turns out, was urged on by his wife, a teachers’ union official who “cried” when Act 10 was passed) used Wisconsin’s rather broad and free-wheeling “John Doe” law to launch a probe which lasted well into Walker’s first term. He searched desperately for any dirt he could find, pursuing a ludicrous legal theory of campaign coordination (which both state and federal judges have ruled is not a “crime”) to go after conservative organizations, their officials, and the officials’ families. The tactics were more reminiscent of the Gestapo and KGB than of American law enforcement, and cost many thousands of tax dollars.
An investigator on the DA’s staff, a former Milwaukee police officer who had been commended for his “exemplary” service, finally could no longer take it and blew the whistle on the sorry affair. This has resulted in a countersuit, spearheaded by the head of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity (a prominent victim of the probe). The resulting unsealing of court documents for discovery purposes have been selectively quoted in the state’s left-leaning newspapers as though they are some new revelation.
The latest piece of skullduggery: a Democratic political consultant who was mysteriously paid some $19,000 of public money to develop a new model ballot for the November elections. The author of a handbook of standards to be used in ballot design, the consultant violated her own standards to produce a ballot which (for instance) reads at the top, within one box: “Governor/Lt Governor. Vote for 1” and lists the Democratic slate; the Republican slate is in a separate box, all by itself. The state Republican party has filed a lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board over this new development, demanding that new ballots be printed reflecting the design which has served for the last twenty years.
And the beat goes on …