What Were They Thinking?
Wisconsin recently made history with the unprecedented recalls of 9 state Senators: 6 Republican, 3 Democrat.
The effort to recall the Republicans was a grass roots campaign by thousands of unpaid volunteers working tirelessly across the state for two months to gather the required number of signatures on recall petitions.
The effort to recall the Democrats was initiated by an anti-immigration Utah based group of tea party conservatives which involved hiring people (many from out-of-state) to lie to residents to obtain their signatures. (At least one of the paid operatives also went on to steal from the locals.) And who, being paid per signature, had a strong incentive to copy names from phone directories and obituaries.
Being good Wisconsinites, residents did not doubt the veracity of the operatives so were happy to sign what they were told was a letter asking Sarah Palin to go away. None of them asked to see it because being good Wisconsinites they know that people don’t say stuff that’s not true.
The recalls were sparked when the Republicans tried to hastily pass a new piece of legislation on short notice. They insisted that just because they were doing it on an accelerated schedule without public hearings and debate and calling the vote at 2 a.m. they weren’t trying to hide anything. The Democrats disagreed, so the Democratic Senators got in their cars and left the state, leaving the Republicans without a quorum and mightily peeved.
Peeved did not adequately describe the mood of the public, which immediately found out what the Republicans were trying to do and boy oh boy was the public ever pissed about it. The outraged masses responded by marching to the Capitol and singing socialist protest songs such as the national anthem and Kumbaya while smiling at law enforcement and handing out cake and cookies.
Meanwhile, many members of the outraged masses decided they wanted do-over Senate elections and started circulating petitions to recall 8 of the Republican Senators.
About the same time, Dan Baltes, a conservative ex-convict wing-nut from Utah, started recall efforts against some of the Democratic Senators, possibly because he is a conservative wing-nut.
Be that as it may [what does that really mean anyway? It sounds good, but what does it mean? And why do people almost always say it in an insufferably snide, patronizing tone that lets you know they think you are a twit], petitions were filed and recall elections scheduled.
Three of the Democrats were being recalled, which meant the Republicans had to find three solid candidates to run against them. And therein lies the question to which I seek answers.
The best Republican candidates they could find were:
1. Kim Simac, a spouse-swapping horse trainer who self-publishes children’s books because, well, she couldn’t get anyone else to publish them so she did her patriotic duty and found a company who would print them for her in China. She says that the fact that her ex-husband married her current husband’s ex-wife is “one of those quirky American stories.” In an amazing coincidence, Kim and her soon-to-be new husband Arthur Simac filed for divorce from their former spouses on the same day (Dec. 15, 1993) in the same county court. No reports on whether they did so while holding hands.
2. Jonathan Steitz, a corporate lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions (i.e. layoffs and downsizing to increase corporate profits) at a downtown Chicago law firm who was born and raised in Texas, and lived in Kenosha briefly before moving to England, returning last year to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. A believer in “limited government” and “a job-friendly environment”, he would slash corporate taxes and business regulations and let the elderly fend for themselves when it comes to prescription drugs because it’s all about personal responsibility. He thinks that Walker’s devastating cuts to Seniorcare didn’t go far enough. He would eliminate the program entirely. Preferably all seniors as well.
3. David VanderLeest, a divorced man with a lengthy court record, including a bankruptcy, delinquent property taxes, a home foreclosure, an unpaid judgment, building code violations, criminal conviction, a convicted felon girlfriend, and no particular apparent qualifications for office in the way of education or experience, or the ability to write a coherent sentence.
None of these candidates inspired confidence in me as to their suitability for office. And the only platform they offered was the: “Vote for me because my opponent, the evil cowardly incumbent Democrat left the state instead of watching helplessly as the Republicans passed a bill in the dark of night that they didn’t want you to know about.”
I didn’t think this could possibly convince anyone who wasn’t suffering from a recognized mental illness to cast a vote in their favor. And then I saw the results.
My question is this: why would anyone vote for any of these people?
Exhibit #1: Kim Simac. If her bio didn’t already make you scratch your head, consider her actual comments. With her actual spelling.
“Do you know that we have only spent 100 Billion dollars on missile defense since 1982. That is nothing. We can spend money on junk cars and we can spend money on just about every other ridiculous cause, but we Penney Pinch our security. It is time to contact all our elected officials and let them know that we want money spent of missile defense and we want it done now.”
“The idea that a subject like man-made climate change is a done deal just doesn’t make sense to me.”
“we are going to become more involved in our school district and work to develop a program that would allow creationism to be offered at our high school as an elective.”
“I think that [Richard Nixon] deserves a pardon.” [So – she not only thinks he deserved a pardon – she doesn’t know that he already was pardoned?]
Can’t answer an oral question:
What specific legislation is moving through the Capitol right now that you look forward to – if elected – supporting or challenging?
“I guess I would have to say that with all of the things that I’ve been looking at, I think you just stumped me. All the things I’ve been looking at for all the last couple months here trying to get up on board as a new candidate, I’ve been trying to stay up with the issues, but I would have to say that I can’t name you a single one right now.”
And can’t answer a written question:
Do you support full disclosure of all corporate campaign contribution expenditures on partisan and nonpartisan elections? Why or why not?
“As a Senator when Campaign Finance Reform Legislation is put before the entire Senate I will give it serious consideration.”
Seriously – she received 45% of the vote? Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: Michelle Bachmann – who keeps getting elected to Congress – has made strikingly similar misstatements (“The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” She supports teaching creationism in public schools, saying that “Evolution has never been proven.”) Perhaps it’s on page 4 of the Tea Party handbook.
Exhibit #2: Jonathan Steitz, a corporate shill with almost no connection to the state of Wisconsin who wants to eliminate essential programs. And who takes money from people who say stuff like this:
“Any people that are decendents of Americasn slaves, would not be alive today if their ancestors would not been have rescued from certian death by the people that bought them and then sold them in America.
“Further more the continued deneial of the compasionate act of giving those people a second chance for life, and the condeming of their benifactors, and the fact that they deneigh that many Americans died for them to even end slavery in this country, is the reason that many white people are to say the least, not impressed with the gratitude expressed to them by blacks.
“White men created America. It is a country that people from virtually EVERY country on the plannet want to come to! The reason so many people hate America is because they are jealous.”
Steitz received 42% of the votes. Does Wisconsin have that many lunatics in his district?
Exhibit #3: David VanderLeest, a man with a lengthy court record who files incoherent court pleadings and dates a felon, got 34% of the votes.
When people entered the booth and cast a ballot for one of these three candidates, what were they thinking?
I want to hear from the people who voted for these people. Especially the ones who voted to keep “family values” Republican Randy Hopper, a middle-aged, married father who took a young lobbyist as a mistress then dumped his wife for the 25 year-old girlfriend and helped get her a cushy state job at 35% higher pay than her predecessor. I mean really? He lost, but he still got 49% of the vote!
So please, inquiring minds need to know (if only to get you the help you need): why did you vote for them?