Schadenfreude. It’s what’s for breakfast*

Which is to say that there are few people in American politics I loathe so much as the wholly owned Koch subsidiary operating under the name Scott Walker.  There are plenty of folks doing more national damage, but few, if any, with the utter, total, almost heroic lack of redeeming qualities as the man Charlie Pierce epithets** as the goggle-eyed homunculus.

So his pain is the sugar in my coffee this a.m.:

“The Far Left” — thanks for the proper nouning** there, btw; I didn’t know we were a franchise operation — as in a decisive majority of Wisconsin voters. “Anger and hatred” — nothing like the mild mannered folks on the right,*** amirite? “Outside special interest money.” Child, please.

But, if it’s all projection with these guys, well we knew that. That subterranean pleasure you feel this morning is that all the faffing in the world can’t hide the genuine panic flowing through Walker like you-know-what through a goose.

And because we need something pretty to wash the memory of Walker’s pallid, grasping mug from our brains, here’s a bird that one-ups that poor goose:

And w/that…open thread.

*That or coke on your Wheaties.

**I verb sometimes. Sue me.

***Very, VERY far from the worst, as we all know, but selected for its exceptional combination of absurdity and cowardice.

Image: John James Audubon, Cygnus buccinator, Trumpeter Swan1838.



Walker Stumbles

Wisconsin gets its special elections:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order scheduling special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats Thursday…

It wasn’t shame, or a respect for the rule of law that drove the wholly owned Koch subsidiary to this decision.  Rather these guys finally got a clue:

Senate Republicans abandoned their efforts to pass a bill blocking the contests amid intense criticism that the GOP was trying to avoid adding to string of losses.

That is: it finally was driven home to these would be junta conspirators that being so obviously terrified of the voters was not merely a bad look, it was destructive.

The decision followed a very rapid rejection of Walker’s appeal, which sought a delay in enforcing a lower court’s order to call the elections that would last long enough for the WI legislature to pass their anti-election bill.  That court didn’t just say no:

“Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources,’ and the calling of the special elections are … his ‘obligation,’” Presiding Judge Paul F. Reilly wrote.

Walker had one more appeal left, to the right-dominated WI Supreme Court, but chose not to pursue it.  IANAL, and IAN a Wisconsin politics maven, but here’s my guess: this was such an obvious matter on the law that Walker didn’t care to have his entrails handed to him a third time, especially given that the partisan lean of the court would highlight how out of bounds he and the state Republicans have been.

Anyway, a relatively small process win with, I think and hope, a bit more impact than that.  It’s easy to make the case that the GOP is only interested in democracy when it’s the North Korean version, no doubts at all about who wins.

That’s been true of the American right for a long time, no matter the party label of the day (3/5s of a person and all that).  But what seems to be changing now, maybe just a bit, perhaps even just enough, is that the idea that Republicans are scared of voters is starting to stick to the Grotesque Old Party.

Here’s hoping!

This thread, it opens.

Image: Constantin Hansen, A Group of Danish Artists in Rome, 1837.  I know it’s utterly unfair to lumber these 19th century hipsters with 21st century pipsqueak GOP shenanigans, but I couldn’t resist the image.








Early Morning Open Thread: The Coveted Scott Walker Endorsement!

Scott Walker has never pretended to be a smart person, but his political instincts are unimpeachable. Per the Washington Post:

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Donald Trump got the big October surprise. The momentum seems to be going his way. Hillary Clinton is again on the defensive, again over her emails. But in this enclave of white, upper-middle-class Republicans, the party’s presidential nominee still faces a barrier that will be difficult to clear.

“It’s a moral choice,” Dick Radder, a 68-year-old Republican, said as he cupped a black coffee outside a Starbucks here Tuesday. “I can’t get there. I can’t get to Trump. I’m a husband and a father. And I can’t convince myself to vote for a person who is weakening the fiber of the country.”

Most of the well-kept lawns here are dotted with signs for Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and for other down-ballot candidates, but support for Trump is less evident.

“You’re in a town that’s about going to college and raising a family. People are polished and hard-working. He’s not one of us,” said Andy Schwichtenberg, a 28-year-old stockbroker.

“I did try,” Schwichtenberg added with a sigh. “I went to a rally.” But he was not swayed and he was turned off by the crowd, which he noted was packed with men and women “who came there on Harleys.”…








Open Thread: Buh-Bye, Scotty!

There is so much schadenfreude to be savored! Here’s Politico, being all earnest’n’insider-y (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/scott-walker-quits-2016-213912):

It’s almost always bad news when a candidate’s spouse calls an emergency meeting.

But that’s what happened late last week when Scott Walker’s wife, Tonette, and his campaign chairman, Mike Grebe, reached out to a small number of longtime Walker aides and summoned them to the governor’s mansion on Monday morning…

Walker had just limped out of a disappointing second presidential debate. The governor had spent weeks preparing for the showdown, knowing his political life depended on it. He’d practiced giving punchier answers and making sure to use up all his allotted time.

But the reviews had been brutal. Donors were grousing, and money was drying up. It was a painful turn for Walker, who had quickly vaulted to the top of the Iowa polls, powered by a fiery January speech in Des Moines, only to drop precipitously in the summer amid Donald Trump’s rise. He had gone from front-runner to also-ran in a matter of months…

Shortly after the meeting wrapped, Walker arrived at his decision: He was out. It was a shocking and sudden move that blindsided many of Walker’s closest allies, threw the power of super PACs into doubt and opened opportunities for rivals to pick up patrons, staff, and supporters…

Mr. Pierce, at Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a38122/scott-walker-implosion-chaos-theory/):

Nothing became Scott Walker’s campaign like his leaving of it (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/09/21/scott-walker-suspends-presidential-campaign/). This is what he would have you believe. That he was “called” to drop out – by the Deity or by his various sugar daddies, or both – so that real conservatives could coalesce behind one candidate in opposition to the barbarian at the gates. In doing so, Mr. Big, Bold, and Unintimidated delivered his remarks and then scarpered, taking no questions about how he managed to squander money and time on a campaign that didn’t last as long as the one currently promoting George Pataki. This was death by asterisk…

Once again, I admit that I was one of the people who overrated the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. I thought he, or the people around him, would be smart enough to let his union-bashing, duplicitous resume do the talking up until the actual primary balloting began. As we have now seen, this was somewhat optimistic. Confronted by opponents he could neither arrest nor hide from, Walker found that facing down Donald Trump was harder than rounding up singing Grandmas…

The fact is that the Republican party’s primary process is now an exercise in chaos theory. Things happen that are not obviously connected to one another. There is nobody controlling the process, so the process itself is running amuck. Scott Walker failed as a candidate only partly because he is Scott Walker. He also failed as a candidate because his party is failing as a party. He was one of a baker’s dozen of independent entities, all orbiting independently, and all subject to unpredictable gravimetric forces of which Trump is only one. Sooner or later, there is a collision. Scott Walker is the rubble that remains after one of those, endlessly spinning around a dying sun.

And Walker had so much to offer as a candidate…

At Buzzfeed, even the Insiders’ Insiders are shocked (http://www.buzzfeed.com/kyleblaine/scott-walker-is-dropping-out-of-republican-primary-race#.myp3W17dJ):

Even late last week, Walker wasn’t showing outward signs of planning to drop out.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who hosted Walker at a breakfast at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday, the day after last week’s debate in California, said in an email that it was a “total shock” to him that Walker was exiting the race. He said there was no indication that anything was amiss at the breakfast and Walker didn’t hint at the looming campaign suspension…

Luntz said he predicted that many of Walker’s donors would migrate to Marco Rubio, because “a lot of Walker supporters had Rubio as their second choice, and a lot of Rubio supporters had Walker as their second choice.”

But “nothing happens for a while because you have to go through a grieving period,” he said.

Grieving the lost paychecks, I guess.

From the Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/scott-walker-to-drop-out-of-presidential-race-1442868289):

… There were plenty of factors in Mr. Walker’s downfall. He gave a series of unsteady answers on the question of whether he supported a pathway to legal status for immigrants in the country illegally. He also inserted himself awkwardly into the policy debate over China, refused to take a position on evolution and compared his efforts to fight unions to battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

But his biggest problem appeared to be fundraising. Many of his top donors expressed concern in recent weeks that, as the result of those stumbles, he wouldn’t raise enough money to maintain a large campaign staff…

Top donors had been raising concerns for weeks about the size of his staff, and some were quietly prodding the governor to replace his campaign manager, Rick Wiley. Mr. Wiley was in Washington when Mr. Walker made his announcement in Madison, Wis. Mr. Walker employed dozens of aides at the Madison headquarters, as well as in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. His staff even included a full-time traveling photographer, a luxury not even well-financed candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush employed.

Mr. Walker leaves the field even though two super PACs who supported his candidacy had plenty of money and had reserved as much as $16 million in television ad time in three states. The lion’s share was expected to be spent in Iowa and South Carolina.

Unintimidated and Our American Revival, the two committees, raised $26 million in the first six months of the year, according to their July disclosure reports. Some $10 million came from two families—roofing billionaire Diane Hendricks, who gave the Unintimidated super PAC, $5 million, and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and his wife, Marlene, who contributed $5 million.

Super PACs can accept donations without contribution caps, and they are prohibited from coordinating with the candidates’ campaign, which must comply with a federal donation limit of $2,700 per person for the primary. Because Mr. Walker didn’t officially enter the race until July 13, his campaign has yet to disclose how much it raised to finance its staff and perform other core duties…

Hmmmm….








Open Thread: Return from the Dead?

I find it very amusing, now that Scott Walker is an ex-candidate, all the tv newsfeeds put up a clip showing that the notorious “bumped my head on the kitchen cabinet” bald spot is rapidly turning into an early-stage combover. Presidential!

Also, Liz Mair — who got hired & fired by the Walker campaign back in March — took a pretty sweet victory lap around twitter earlier this evening:

Another investigation, Scotty? Which of your underlings will get thrown under this bus?