The movement to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is just that: a movement. It extends across the state, to every county, to almost every community.
On Nov. 15 the movement will begin circulating petitions to recall Walker and Kleefisch — one petition for the governor, one for the lieutenant governor. As the starting date approaches, training sessions for petition circulators are being held in the most Republican counties of the state.
There’s a headquarters open in Elkhorn in traditionally conservative Walworth County, where a “midnight madness” party is planned so that petitions can be signed the minute it is possible to do so.
A headquarters will open by Nov. 15 in the Lafayette County community of Darlington, where local recall coordinator Kate Bausch says folks have been gearing up to recall Walker since last February.
The political process is sick with spin and deception. But the biggest lie of the past year has been the suggestion, peddled primarily by Walker but also by the most disingenuous of his supporters, that anger with the governor is confined to the liberal precincts of Madison or the Democratic neighborhoods of Milwaukee.
The truth is that, with his assault on collective bargaining rights, the civil service system, local democracy, school funding and public services, Walker battered every town, village, city and county in Wisconsin. And with the ethical scandals that are now swirling around him — following the September FBI raid on the home of one of his top political appointees and the revelation that his press secretary and one of his top fundraisers received immunity in a John Doe probe of political corruption — Walker has earned the scorn even of those Wisconsinites who will never think of themselves as liberals or Democrats.
The movement to displace Walker and Kleefisch, who has served as a willing rubber-stamp for the governor, is big. More than 200,000 voters have already pledged to support a recall drive that must obtain 540,000 signatures to force the governor and lieutenant governor to face the voters. Groups such as United Wisconsin, which obtained those pledges, are gearing up to collect a lot more signatures than the baseline requirement. It is not at all unreasonable to suggest that the movement will collect more than 750,000 signatures, ensuring that the inevitable legal challenges by Walker’s lawyers will fail.
The movement to displace Walker and Kleefisch is broad-based. Training sessions are taking place in every corner of the state. There are local committees, groups and activist circles in every one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The recall movement takes in Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, independents and, yes, Republicans. That’s because Wisconsin’s instinct for fairness is stronger than the penchant for partisanship, as state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, confirmed when he refused to go along with efforts by Walker’s legislative stooges to rig the recall process.
The response of Walker and Kleefisch partisans to Schultz’s show of independence was bitter and destructive. Schultz’s office in the Capitol was egged in an act of vandalism that — had it been directed at a Walker ally — would have brought cries of complaint from conservative talk radio hosts and the Koch brothers-funded tea party project. But the recall movement is not prone toward that sort of whining.
Rooted as it is in the values and ideals of Wisconsin, the recall movement is genuine and determined. It has put pettiness aside and is focused on the work at hand: removing a governor who has harmed the state economically, ethically and morally — and a lieutenant governor who has rejected her oath to defend the constitution and the best interests of Wisconsin.
Next Tuesday, from Kenosha in the southeast to Superior in the northwest, from the inner-city wards of Milwaukee to the crossroads towns of Marathon County, Wisconsinites will rise to the call of democracy and honest governance. They will sign petitions, circulate petitions, file petitions and defend petitions against bogus challenges from lawyers who are paid for by the out-of-state billionaires who are funding the Walker-Kleefisch campaign. And when the petitioning is done, when the recall election is scheduled, they will mount the greatest grass-roots campaign Wisconsin has seen in a century — not just to remove Walker and Kleefisch but to renew the democratic ideals of a great state that has been temporarily misled.
Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.