Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Wisconsin's No-Win Scenario

After all hell broke loose in Wisconsin in mid-February I wrote that of all the paths our state government could take, the one chosen was the most polarizing and divisive imaginable, a path that leads to "ripping Wisconsin in two."

As it turns out, almost exactly in two.

I also wrote back in February that it was easy to see how Scott Walker wins in all this, but harder to see how Wisconsin could emerge victorious. As of this morning it has become infinitely more difficult for even Walker's most ardent supporters to find plausible grounds to declare him a winner, regardless of the eventual outcome of the inevitable ballot recount.

Seven weeks ago, hardly anyone knew who JoAnne Kloppenburg was. David Prosser was coming off a resounding primary election win, outpolling Kloppenburg by a whopping 30-point margin. Kloppenburg had never held public office. Had never even run for one before. Prosser was a 13-year Supreme Court incumbent with a political career spanning more than three decades. Yet the general election turned out to be a photo finish.

Yes, some of Prosser's wounds were self inflicted. Even those who endorsed him did so in some of the most heavily caveated terms ever seen. But his biggest wound was opened by Scott Walker.

What's known for sure at the moment is that much remains unknown, including which of the candidates will end up sitting on the state Supreme Court for the next 10 years. What's certain is that a lot of lawyers will be very busy and will be getting a lot richer in the weeks to come, that conspiracy theories about ballot box stuffing and voting irregularities will abound, and that partisans on both sides will be more or less perpetually overheated.

Against this backdrop, we all are left to puzzle over how anything resembling a consensus on how to move Wisconsin ahead can possibly be reached in this totally polarized and completely divided state. For the time being anyway, any attempt to quench the citizenry's thirst for a way forward will involve dipping from a thoroughly poisoned well.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

at least now the situation will remain newsworthy. could help to bring in support for the cause. i know it will keep me interested. i will probably donate $$.

Adam Rockwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pvl said...

The politics of division. This process has proven useful at various times through history.

These are sad times in Wisconsin.