Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dead But Too Dumb to Lie Down

The headline to this post is a ripoff of a line from P. J. O'Rourke, which he wrote in 1991. O'Rourke was writing about communism. I'm writing about Joanne Kloppenburg*.

A few observations:
  • Kloppenburg is not going to win this recount. She knows this. There's ample evidence that the Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, is inept. But there's no evidence that she did anything that was even close to malfeasance. Kloppenburg knows that as well.
  • So why is Kloppenburg pursuing the matter, if there's no chance she'll prevail? Because (a) she can, and (b) the Democrats have a vested interest in not letting this thing go. At some point the matter of the budget repair law will finally escape the clutches of the hack Dane County judge who is currently holding it hostage and will find its way to the Supreme Court. Since David Prosser would likely be, barring anything really unforseen, the deciding vote in favor of the constitutionality of the law, delaying his return to the bench is helpful to the cause. After all, given we've been through 2 months of scorched earth tactics, why not break out a little more butane?
  • As a practical matter, Kloppenburg's career as an assistant attorney general is over. Her boss, Republican Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, may end up having to move against her at some point as this matter proceeds through the recount to its inevitable court challenge afterward. She can't stay there and while she's useful to her supporters for now, once this thing is over she'll have to find some other way to keep herself going. She might as well keep her name out there and maybe she'll be able to find something else to do with her life. Martyrdom can be lucrative, especially in the legal biz.
  • So why is she dumb, and why is this effort dumb? Because while Kloppenburg and her allies are still fighting, everyone else is really, really tired of this circus. The next step in the process are the various recall elections that embittered partisans are trying to impose on state senators. Do you suppose that the outside money will continue to flow in for these exercises in spite?  Maybe. But if you think the people of Wisconsin want to be trapped in a permanent election cycle, you are dumb. People are really tired of this crap. The backlash is coming and it's going to be something to behold.
*No, I don't think Kloppenburg is a Communist. Communists had more fashion sense.


Bike Bubba said...

Well said that Kloppenburg's career is over where she is; any case she takes in her current job will be an invitation for the other lawyer to point out her promise to rule a certain way, sight unseen, on a case she had not yet seen.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Prosser needs to recuse himself soon in a disbarment case involving Kloppenburg. She stepped in it big time.

First Ringer said...

Good take on the recall elections, in particular.

I doubt the average middle-of-the-road Wisconsin voter (the sort that declares themselves "indepednent" and doesn't care much for politics), will have much stomach left for these recall election battles. Perhaps the real question becomes whether that disinterest results in action or inaction - will such voters trudge out to the polls to re-elect the recalled incubments or will they simply sit on their hands and stay home?

Given Wisconsin's recall process, we're still likely months away from an actual election. And then, the question put to voters isn't an up-or-down recall ala Gray Davis in California.

There have only been 20 successful efforts at recalling legislative officials in the entire U.S. since 1908. 4 of those were from Wisconsin. Is it possible that some of these recalled reps will lose? Certainly. But it's historically unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Kloppenberg has a future. It involves getting a part in a Rocky Horror Picture Show Revival. Let's do the time warp again....

Mr. D said...

Thanks, FR and Bubba. Excellent points.

I'll admit it, anon -- I laughed. It's astounding, time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll.