Wednesday, May 02, 2012

In Today's Nazgûl News: Scott Walker's Adventures in Wisconsin

From the very first time I saw governor Scott Walker's face, especially his eyes, I knew he was a Nazgûl , one of the ringwraiths from the Lord of the Ring.  The other ringwraiths took over other states at the same time, but Walker is the one who has hogged most of the limelight.

And he has carried his assigned tasks out extremely well!  The great state of Wisconsin has almost been demolished!  In the good news, angry drivers can now have guns in their cars, there's no longer any of that gender-equality crap in state-based equal pay laws,  and the state ranked the first in increased unemployment and job loss misery last year!  

Governor Walker should be proud.  That he is facing a recall battle doesn't matter, because ringwraiths get their funding from their overlords and overladies:
Gov. Scott Walker raised an unprecedented $13.2 million over three months to fight off the recall bid against him, outdistancing his Democratic challengers and driving home the challenge they will have in beating the Republican incumbent.
Crisscrossing the country on fundraising trips, Walker has raised more than $25 million since January 2011 and has $4.9 million in cash on hand - numbers unlike any that have been seen for a political candidate in Wisconsin. Two-thirds of Walker's money came from out of state.
His stores of cash dwarf what his Democratic rivals have raised. But a report filed Monday showed an independent group supporting Democrat Kathleen Falk received $4.5 million, nearly all of it from unions and about a third of it from out of state.
Walker's fundraising is on par with that of second-tier presidential candidates. For instance, Rick Santorum raised $18.5 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, and Newt Gingrich raised a little less than $10 million during that period.
Walker has been able to raise so much because of the national appeal he developed with conservatives after his high-profile fight with labor unions and a quirk in Wisconsin law that allows unlimited fundraising while recalls are pending.

The Democrats raised little compared with Walker. Falk, a former Dane County executive, raised $977,000 and had $118,000 on hand. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised $831,500 and had $475,500 on hand.
Barrett didn't get into the governor's race until March 30 - 2½ months after Falk - but had nearly $500,000 to start, left over from his recent mayoral campaign.
Barrett is vying with Falk to win the May 8 Democratic primary and take on Walker in the general recall election June 5. Also running as Democrats are Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma.
It is hilarious.  The best democracy money can buy, and most of it from out of state and from a few large donors:
Conservative billionaire Diane Hendricks gave Walker $500,000. Hendricks co-founded Beloit-based ABC Supply, a roofing wholesaler and siding distributor, with her husband, Ken, who died in a 2007 fall.
Her donation was the single largest ever to a gubernatorial candidate in the state and tied the $500,000 given to Walker over recent months by Bob Perry, owner of Houston-based Perry Homes and a chief backer of the Swift Boat Veterans ads against Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 race for president.
"Wisconsin's never seen anything like this kind of money," said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. "This is all to persuade a relatively tiny universe of undecided voters. It'll be the highest cost per voter spent in the history of the nation in terms of the cost of persuading people."
A Journal Sentinel analysis showed that $4.4 million of Walker's money, or a third of the total, came from Wisconsin donors. The rest came from out of state.
Normally, donors can give a maximum of $10,000 to a candidate for governor. But from the time recall petitions are taken out to the time a recall election is called, donors can give any amount.
No fundraising limit was in place for Walker for about two-thirds of the period covered in the latest report. The Democrats had to follow the normal fundraising limits the whole time because they were not the targets of a recall.
In addition to the $500,000 donation from Hendricks, Walker received two $250,000 donations in the latest period. One came from Las Vegas Sands president Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul who, along with his wife, put $17.5 million into Winning the Future, a super PAC supporting Gingrich.
Also giving $250,000 was Richard DeVos, the co-founder of the parent company of direct marketing firm Amway. DeVos has been active in the school voucher movement, and Walker last year expanded Milwaukee's voucher program and established a similar one in eastern Racine County.
Five people gave the governor $100,000 each - John Childs of Massachusetts, chairman of private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates; Warren Stephens of Arkansas, chairman of financial services company Stephens Inc.; Robert Kern, founder of Waukesha power-generating firm Generac; his wife, Patricia Kern; and Patrick Ryan of Illinois, CEO of insurance firm Ryan Specialty Group.
So why am I so hard on one poor ringwraith?  Probably because he is so blatant in his goals and so destructive in his achievements, because he looks like a puppet with the strings held in only a few gold-ringed pudgy hands?  Because he makes a mockery out of democracy?

I'm not sure.  And of course I'm kidding about him being a Nazgûl .  Right?