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Why this Democrat and teacher hates WI's recalls

By   /   May 11, 2012  /   No Comments

By Wisconsin Reporter

There was plenty of red meat on the recall platter Friday.

Tom Barrett, his backers and much of Wisconsin media feasted on reports of an upcoming liberal documentary “catching” Gov. Scott Walker on camera in January 2011 saying the state needed to go after public-sector unions to help straighten out Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget crisis (Walker is no friend of government unions? Stop the presses!)

Meanwhile, career educator Jonathan Zimmerman offered some interesting perspective on Wisconsin’s recalls.

Zimmerman, a history and education teacher at New York University, bills himself as a “lifelong Democrat” and certainly no friend of Scott Walker.

In his opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Zimmerman says he is “predictably appalled” by Walker, “who has cut spending and stripped teachers — and most of the state’s public workers of collective bargaining rights.”

But Zimmerman goes on to say that he also is appalled by the recall campaign against Walker by Wisconsin Democrats.

“The recall epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics,” Zimmerman writes. “And if you don’t agree, I’ve got two names for you: former California Gov. Gray Davis and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Democrats fumed in California when their former governor, Davis, was recalled in 2003 — only the second governor to be treated thusly at the time. Walker has become the third governor in U.S. history to be recalled.

Feinstein, California’s long-serving senator, arguably one of the most liberal senators in U.S. history, faced a recall from a group vehemently opposed to her support of a handgun measure.

The senator’s response at the time: if voters tried to remove everyone they disagree with, no public official could effectively serve anyone.

“Orderly government cannot prevail on the shifting sands of a recall brought, not because of any corruption or incompetence, but because of a difference of opinion on an issue,” Feinstein wrote in a 1983 campaign pamphlet.

There’s a difference, Zimmerman and others contend, between “throw the bums out” on election day, and the perpetual election that Wisconsin now is enduring.

Read the whole piece, if you’d like.

Letters from Obama

Still don’t think this gubernatorial recall election is a national campaign? Still don’t think the outcome is critical to President Barack Obama’s chances in November?

Think again.

The Obama camp in an email weighed in Friday on Walker vs. Barrett: The Rematch, reminding supporters about what’s at stake in the June 5 recall election.

“For the last year and a half, Governor Walker has divided Wisconsin — siding with big corporations and the super-rich at the expense of working, middle-class families,” states the email as published in the liberal website the Daily Kos. “He’s broken our trust in state government: Too many Wisconsin families are out of work, students face crowded classrooms, and working men and women will be hurt by cuts to health care funding.”

The Daily Kos billed the recall as “an important dry run for the Obama campaign’s efforts to turn out voters and make sure they’re actually able to vote, uncovering problems with time to address them for the November election.” The charge is that Republican leadership will make it more difficult for Democrats to vote, despite the fact that the state’s voter ID law, despised by Dems, is tied up in court and probably won’t apply to the recall election.

“As such, it’s a win-win situation — Tom Barrett gets help on June 5, and every Democrat on the November ballot is in a stronger position,” the Daily Kos writes.