Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos need to go

The Wisconsin State Journal produced one of its better efforts in its latest Sunday editorial (“Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos should drop their vendetta”) saying,

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, have been calling for the resignations of the Elections and Ethics administrators in recent weeks — without offering any evidence of wrongdoing.

Well, yes. This is open and shut. There is no evidence of wrongdoing at the Elections or Ethics boards, but there is plenty of evidence that Vos and Fitzgerald are (again) using their positions to unethically cement their own power and longevity in the legislature. They’ve gerrymandered legislative districts, they’ve made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, they’ve wrecked the independent Gov’t Accountability Board, they’ve greased the wheels for secret money in our elections. And now  — outrageously — they want to fire these two relatively underpowered watchdogs for no good reason.

So the Wisconsin State Journal was right, although they didn’t go far enough.

It’s not enough to say that Vos and Fitzgerald are wrong, possibly just out of pique, trying to fire these two board administrators. A one-time rebuke is justified, but just the start, more is required. The way to hold elected officials “accountable” is to vote ’em out at election time. The State Journal should call for that to happen, and do it repeatedly.  There’s a primary this year on August 14 and a general election on the first Tuesday in November.

Replacing these two enemies of good government won’t be easy (maybe not even possible) because of the self-serving gerrymandering and other steps they so eagerly put in place as soon as they achieved their leadership positions. No matter. Wisconsin deserves better. We call on the State Journal to get very, very serious about making the case that gerrymandering, voter suppression, lack of rule-following, secret cash, coordinating with outside groups and petty vendettas are disqualifying at re-election time. And we call on the State Journal to say it over and over, amen.

Wisconsin State Journal endorsements

WSJ EndorsesIs it puzzling that the Wisconsin State Journal is endorsing candidates for the November election?

It is if you recall the State Journal’s multi-part editorial war against Wisconsin’s rigged voting districts. That little war — we think of it as a little jihad, but a “jihad” in the good sense, a holy crusade, well-intended — was quite clearly the best thing the State Journal editorial page crusaded for in recent memory. They even enlisted other Wisconsin newspapers as allies. Nice!

Still, it was far too timid: all they did was ask for an old-fashioned public hearing.

Asking the Republican leaders of the legislature to put aside their own interests to do the right thing was thoroughly destined to fail. And fail it did. Those self-same leaders had worked very hard and spent plenty of [taxpayer] money to accomplish the intended goal of safely-rigged voting districts, and they weren’t going to abandon that lovely self-serving project just because some editorial board(s) asked them politely to do so.

So, whadaya know? It wasn’t a real jihad. It wasn’t serious. It never escalated.

In fact, here, with these candidate endorsements, we see that the State Journal editors have lost the thread of their own thinking. The voting districts are all safely pre-allocated for either Republican or Democratic victory. (Mostly Republican, of course, because Republicans drew the districts.) It’s too late to jump in with endorsements. It honestly makes no sense.

It would make more sense for the Wisconsin State Journal to publish, in advance, the easily-predicted voting results based on the gerrymandered districts. Instead they’re endorsing general election candidates as if their endorsements matter. They don’t.