Monday, November 11, 2013

Richard Milhouse Walker


By Bill Kraus

The Watergate fiasco was only the most prominent reminder of the dangers posed to the powerful when they try to coverup their missteps. The almost inevitable result is a loss of office and the power attached to it.

Overreaching is also to be avoided.

A very large, very loud collection of citizens spent a lot of time out in the cold weather to accuse the Walker administration of overreaching when it enacted Act 10 and pulled the fangs of the public employees’ and teachers' unions.

The reason that this radical move did not bring down the Walker administration is that a majority of the people characterized this as a battle of the 500-pound gorillas. The unions representing these groups had for a very long time terrified their opponents and intimidated their “friends.” The administration was terrifying the unions.

That threat passed, but the question is whether a continuing exercise of overreaching by the victorious administration in many, many less dramatic ways is piling up enough ill will to threaten to bring down the house that the governor and his cohorts in the Legislature built in the 2010 election.

The casual trashing of the idea of a high speed train and the money that came with it was an early display of arrogance.

This was quickly followed by a cavalier dumping of the attempt to spare the justices of the Supreme Court the indignities of raising money from all sources, including possible supplicants and their lawyers to gain and retain their offices. The Impartial Justice statute was underfunded and got its test run in the wake of the aforementioned battle of the bullies, but did it deserve this?

Other graceless examples of what could be characterized as misuse or even abuse of power are the abrupt appointment of the worthy Harold Froehlich and the non-appointment of the also worthy David Deininger to the Government Accountability Board.

To say nothing of the sudden appearance of a resolution on the way the chief justice of the Supreme Court is selected which everyone knows is an attack on the incumbent in that office.

Small blips on the too much power screen?

A much larger blip is the refusal of the powerful in the east, south, and west wings of the Capitol to permit public hearings on the redistricting reforms which are an attempt to avoid repetitions of the recent egregious, obvious gerrymandering of the state’s congressional and state legislative districts.

The revered local governments have been given the back of the hand treatment as well as, if, and when they assert their local preferences in such delicate areas as mining and environmental preservation.

Perhaps the most offensive abuse of power is visible in the way the two legislative houses are doing business. Floor sessions have been reduced to rhetorical dog and pony shows which have no impact on the decisions already made and the votes already counted in the newly powerful caucuses.

Overreaching is piling up.

Is it rising high enough to topple an administration?

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