Think of it like the little light rail train that could: in 60 days 1.9 million signatures were collected by over 30,000 volunteers in all 72 counties of Wisconsin to force a recall election of Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, state senators Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls, and Van Wanggaard of Racine. Per capita, these are more signatures to recall a governor than in California or anywhere else in the nation, ever. A crowd of hundreds greeted the folks submitting box after box of petitions — some 3,000 pounds worth of righteous indignation — to the state elections board in Madison.
Also revealing is that the number of signatures wishing to recall Walker alone — comprising one-third of the 3.3 million registered voters in Wisconson — is almost the same amount of votes cast for him in the November 2010 election (1,128,900). That’s a lot of pissed off people in one year — and they’re not all Dane County liberals or Bugs Bunnys. In fact, not a few were signed by Republicans and Independents alike who actually voted for Walker — at least the Walker he presented himself as during the campaign, a humble brown bag fiscal conservative, not the maverick tea party zealot he truly is.
And to that point, there is no more powerful or poignant a portrait of Walker’s symbolism than this: on Tuesday, the day of the official submission of recall petitions, the governor was out of state raising money for himself at an event hosted by the founder of Wall Street-bailed out insurance corporation American International Group (AIG). Speaking through his spokeswoman, Walker stated that he was too busy to grant interviews. Unless you are from Fox News or are a conservative radio type. Wisconsin Public Radio repeatedly requested and all but begged someone from Walker’s staff or even the Friends of Scott Walker to come on the air for a full hour and provide a response to the petitions submission, as was granted to Mike Tate, Chair of the state Democratic Party; both flat out declined the invitation. This is part and parcel the pattern of cavalier disregard Walker has demonstrated to those who oppose him. Whether it is outright contempt or sheer indifference, the man has made it clear that he is not a leader, but rather hell-bent on dragging this torn-in-two state through shame and national spectacle. Hiding behind and speaking to a close(minded) caption audience of fraud journalists and conservative cranks is cowardly and pathetic. This from a former Eagle Scout and son of a preacher? This from a father of two boys?
Moreover, in the face of an unprecedented groundswell of grassroots organization and volunteering, where tens of thousands braved the dark and cold and snow of Wisconsin winter (not to mention the venom and vitriol of Walker supporters) knocking on doors and standing on street corners and took time during the craze of the holidays to take the state back, Walker has been gingerly cavorting around the country doing the exact same thing he has wasted so much disingenuous breath accusing his critics of: raising money from out-of-state interests. Only one month after yet another fake recall allowed Walker to begin raising money two weeks before the real recall was scheduled, he was able to raise $5 million towards his war chest, half of which largesse comes from out of state (most notably and recently a rich Texan by the name of Bob Perry, alias the guy behind the Swift Boat bullshit in 2004, who cut Walker a personal check for a quarter million dollars).
This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like. Here’s democracy:
All photos taken and generously shared by Jo Scheder. For a separate photo gallery, see here.