Contrary to Governor Scott K. Walker's absurdist claim that 'Wisconsin is divided between Madison and the rest of the State,'* Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg posted some of her biggest advances in Republican strongholds during the Supreme Court election on Tuesday. Walker also denies the election had anything to do with his disastrous legislative projects, which have attracted more civil lawsuits than a Chevrolet Corvair at a McDonald's drive-thru.
Meanwhile others among the more imaginative of the nut-right are attempting to forward the claim that incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was the victim of poor voter turnout in Republican-dominated counties. (They're also making utterly baseless charges of "voter fraud,"** but the Brawler can handle those.)
Then there's a bizarre item in the lefty Capital Times of all places, the less said about the better. T'aint no big deal, the piece's sources therewith assert, that the Fitz Van Walker administration just handed the Supreme Court to an army of motivated punks, thugs, slobs, and hippies,*** a spectacular political failure for the ages.
Those speluncean zanies
The only explanation I can come up with is that a feature expedition article for Spelunker's Quarterly made its way over to the Capital Times, in which local GOP mandarin Mark Jefferson spun so hard and drilled so far into Earth's crust he ran right into UW professor Howard Schweber down amongst the deepest strata of psychological denial.
It's funny because not too long ago, the local conservative intelligentsia, Journal Communications, Inc. products Charlie Sykes, Patrick McIlheran, and Rick Esenberg, were telling anybody within fearshot that incumbent Justice David Prosser would cake-walk back onto his politically conservative high chair, and so thoroughly convincing was his 55-point majority in the winter primary.
It might be recalled that on February 15, Scott Walker was just getting underway with his various assaults on the Wisconsin constitution and on the duly enacted laws of the State. In fact this space predicted that liberal success in the Supreme Court would be contingent on the degree Walker and his fellow desperadoes were inclined to test the patience of the good people of the Badger State.
Turns out them desperadoes was pretty darned inclined.
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The February 15, 2011 primary
Prosser won the February 15 primary against three opponents: Kloppenburg, Assistant State Public Defender Marla Stephens, and Madison attorney Joel Winnig. In terms of political disposition, I don't believe there was anything to choose among the three candidates.
(This space had also recommended JoAnne Kloppenburg as the most politically viable to go against Prosser, as the wing-nut sleaze machine would have made mince meat out of Atty. Stephens, who has devoted her career to enforcing the Bill of Rights, and that is an unpardonable offense to conservatives, as we well learned in 2008.)
Indeed, Atty. Stephens almost immediately threw her wholehearted support behind Atty. Kloppenburg. As far as I know Atty. Winnig retreated to the shadows and endorsed no candidate. Nevertheless, it seems to me sound reasoning to treat the trio's primary vote in the aggregate. And thus did Justice Prosser win the State, 55-45.
And so did Kloppenburg and her energetic supporters have their work set to that gap-closing, and they did indeed succeed in clawing back Prosser's margin. How they did it is as plain as the Arabic numerals.
Gotcher numbers right cheer
Kloppenburg pulled off the biggest flip in Milwaukee Co., which went 54-46 to Prosser in the primary — about the same as his Statewide figures — to 57-43 in favor of Kloppenburg. She couldn't have won the election without turning that margin in particular. But on account of a disappointing turnout in Milwaukee and the slender overall margin of Kloppenburg's victory, she clearly couldn't have won on that accomplishment alone, and that is where the predominantly Republican territories throughout the State came to her rescue.
Since the February primary, Kloppenburg gained in 22 of the State's 24 largest counties, only dropping a couple points in Marathon Co., which went from 51-49 Prosser to 54-46, and Sheboygan Co., where Prosser profited by one, closing out Tuesday with a 63-37 romp.
More impressively, Kloppenburg added eight, five, and nine points respectively amongst the State's three most notorious**** Republican county-enclave-bunkers: Waukesha (3),***** Washington (7), and Ozaukee (14). In addition the AAG picked up six points in Racine Co. (5), ten in Jefferson Co. (18), 11 in Fond Du Lac Co. (16), and a startling 14 points in Winnebago Co. (8), where Kloppenburg choppenburg'd Prosser's margin from 66-34 in February to 52-48.
Kloppenburg Republicans FTW: WMC, AFP, WTF, LOL
Other of the more populous Justice Prosser-won counties where JoAnne Kloppenburg produced significant headway were: Dodge (19), 11 points.; Outagamie (6), 11 points.; Kenosha (12), nine points; Walworth (17), four points; and Wood (22), three points.
That is, all over the State, not just in Madison, and especially in counties otherwise heavily dominated by Republican voters.
So anybody who you catch peddling Republican Governor Scott Walker's terrified apologetica is handing you a phony bill of goods which must be rejected outright. When that guy tweets "Mmm. Burgers" or "O hai Scotty here look a sandwich kthxbai," the implied relaxation is a façade, 'cause there's a hellhound on your trail.
* "The 'backlash' is largely a Dane County phenomenon," rejoins Marquette professor of law and local right-wing media celebrity Rick Esenberg — who apparently never wearies of being almost irretrievably incorrect — and claims, without a scintilla of evidence, that "the Kloppenburg margin is driven almost entirely by votes in a county [Dane] that had become an ideological fever swamp ... "
Sidesplitting stuff, and just so, so wrong. And the guy has been on the radio and the teevee and the op-ed pages and the internets trafficking this and related nonsense nearly continuously lately.
It shocks the conscience, truly.
** Issuing from — who else — the medium wave jackanapes C. Sykes in tandem with the ludicrous Wall Street Journal pundit J. Fund.
*** Those aren't my epithets, those are actual conservative Republican epithets, perhaps most famously "slobs," which was coined by Assistant Majority Senate Leader Glenn Grothman, the Louie Gohmert of Wisconsin politics. However the author uses them here (just in case it wasn't obvious) as terms of endearment.
**** The three were the only three counties not swept by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in the last State Supreme Court election of April, 2009, and proving once and for all, as the wing-nut never tires of not telling you, that Wisconsin absolutely will not abide a liberal judge.
***** The figures in parentheses represent the rank, by all 72 Wisconsin counties, in number of total votes cast on Tues., April 5.