James Rowen
Op Ed

Do Vos, Fitzgerald Want Dictatorship?

Rather than accepting will of the voters, they hatch plans to reduce governor’s power.

By - Nov 10th, 2018 12:54 pm
Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald.

Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald.

In Wisconsin, Republican-initiated election suppression is moving from voter ID and election-day pressures to post-election nullification.

At 8:43 a.m. Wednesday morning – – a few hours after Tony Evers‘ gubernatorial win had been confirmed – – I posted a little blog item wondering if Republican legislative leaders would respond to the electoral heresy they witnessed on Tuesday by hurriedly rushing to restrict the powers of the incoming Governor with one-sided, self-serving and blatantly anti-democratic legislation.

Beware the post-election WI GOP monkey-wrench, I wrote:

We’ll see if WI legislative Republicans begin passing sour-grapes measures in special session (s) to hamstring the incoming Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General’s institutional authorities.

Are Walker, Fitzgerald and Vos statesmen or spoilers?

Will they calm the waters, or roil them?

And about two hours later, The Journal Sentinel published remarks from both Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald confirming that, yes indeedee, they are ‘talking’ about doing just that.

Now let me say that I am not clairvoyant or especially smart about how Republicans would react to their worst nightmare gaining life – – their main man getting knocked out in the 15th round by an unworthy challenger – – a Democrat and a teacher!

Actually, all you’d have to do to see this sleazed-up power grab coming right at you is to look at the record and understand that this is exactly how these little tin-horn, power-addicted wannabe dictators had behaved in the past.

Do you remember when Fitzgerald wanted the Wisconsin State Patrol to arrest recalcitrant Democratic senators, drag them out of their beds to the Capitol and pass Act 10 on the schedule Republicans were demanding?

At the time, the State Patrol was run by Fitzgerald’s dad, a Walker appointee.

That’s leadership living the dream in FitzWalkerStan.

Republican leaders had also telegraphed their willingness to abuse their authority when they gerrymandered the Legislature:

* They used off-site computers in private attorneys’ offices; some of the machines’ hard drives would eventually be corrupted.

* They required that secrecy oaths be signed before GOP-only colleagues could get a peek at draft district maps drawn to ensure easy GOP election wins through constituencies, streets and addresses hand-picked to their liking.

* All paid for by taxpayers, many of whom the gerrymandering would screw out of fair representation, and who may now again see some of the value of the votes they just cast for Governor taken away after Republicans lost the race.

I’d expect Vos and Fitzgerald, after getting an approving wink from Walker – – no memos or messy Open Records trails, please – – will follow through, presumably trimming back or altogether eliminating some of the powers they so enthusiastically showered on Walker because they trusted him to use them to give donor/special interests the reliable, fast and targeted room service to which they felt entitled.

Powers set up for Walker to sell with only token checks and balances any state asset, or to manipulate powerful administrative and agency rules which have the power of law – – examples, here  and here – – which up until this point GOP officials and their clients had considered a simple extension of the bought-and-paid-for corporate state they had put in Walker’s trustworthy hands.

I have no idea if Evers intends to sell any state assets, or wants to take more control of the rule-making process. That’s not the point.

What’s at stake is the likelihood that Republicans would begin moving within hours of the election to humiliate and disable a new Governor before he’s sworn in.

Running the Legislature and having a State Supreme Court that still eats out of the GOP’s collective greased palm isn’t enough for these power-hungry Republicans and their lame duck defeated Governor who all want to stack the deck against Evers before the cards are dealt.

The ultimate fix to this embrace of legislative trickery is for Evers, through a veto, to force the Republicans’ next gerrymander into Federal court, where perhaps an honest redistricting in the name of fair elections will send Fitzgerald and Vos finally into retirement.

Where they can freely accept comped seats at Walker’s rubber-chicken lecture series “How we screwed Wisconsin taxpayers and unions for fun and profit.”

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

One thought on “Op Ed: Do Vos, Fitzgerald Want Dictatorship?”

  1. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Thanks, James Rowen, for putting the feet of Voss and Fitzgerald to the fire. Their immediate responses to the election of Evers revealed them as small and partisan people. The Voss appearance on Mike Gousha’s UP FRONT on the Sunday after the election made him look intellectually tiny and emotionally venal. Fitz has not looked much better than Voss in the week since the 11/6/2018 election. It would be beneficial to WI to remove both twirps Voss and Fitzgerald from public office.

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