Friday, March 25, 2011


I am generally an optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person. It takes me a long time to distrust or dislike someone or something, in general. I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories. I am often mocked for being gullible or naive. (And I am. Both gullible and naive. I admit it.)

So, I'm having a really hard time with this one:

On Monday, Bill Cronon published an amazing Op-Ed in the New York Times. My favorite part is this paragraph:

"Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy. Their political convictions and the two moments in history are quite different. But there is something about the style of the two men — their aggressiveness, their self-certainty, their seeming indifference to contrary views — that may help explain the extreme partisan reactions they triggered. McCarthy helped create the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin by infuriating progressive Republicans, imagining that he could build a national platform by cultivating an image as a sternly uncompromising leader willing to attack anyone who stood in his way. Mr. Walker appears to be provoking some of the same ire from adversaries and from advocates of good government by acting with a similar contempt for those who disagree with him."

Note that he says that Walker is NOT McCarthy.

So what does Walker do? He files an open records request to get access to Cronon's emails.

What???? Here we have a very intelligent UW professor who disagrees with our current government in a well-written Op-Ed but has done NOTHING WRONG. Our state is now allowed to read our emails for the simple reason that we disagree with the Gov.? Really? Can they do that?

Cronon's blog is worth a read for the full story.
Jay Bullock has more on his blog, Folkbum.

Scott Walker may be the one who succeeds in turning me into a cynical pessimist. Please tell me that this stuff isn't happening all over the country. Please tell me that Walker is an anomaly.


Tammy said...

But isn't it odd how plain-spoken the Republican request for his emails was, with all those keywords helpfully included, leaving little room for doubt as to their concerns?

The Republicans are perhaps more irritated that he has written extensively about ALEC (registered as a non-profit but whose express purpose is to influence legislation) in his first-ever blog entry. NB: there are only two entries on his blog, and apparently the first has had more than 500 thousand visits already.

Because I had time and curiosity, I read a lot of the (MANY) comments, and readers were checking the links he'd provided and going beyond. They were able, in some cases, to give a fuller impression to the degree of ALEC's influence with specific Wisconsin Republicans. Some commenters are concerned that by week's end, if not sooner, that ALEC and other organizations would wise up and close access to membership information, their 'scholarships' awarded to WI Republican legislators, etc.

Why aren't journalists going after these sorts of information trails?

K said...

They just passed the Budget Repair Bill through an obscure loophole. Tammy - can I move to France? : )

Harry said...

No you can't. I moved to the US 35 years ago. Many of my friends were mortified. But some simply said, we need more people in the belly of the beast. And Wisconsin needs you, and hundreds of thousands like you. And America needs you here. Don't forget that.

Harry said...

Sorry, 25 years ago, lousy typist.

MK Chang said...

I was completely appalled by the open records request too! What is happening here? I keep thinking how unbelievable things are and then I wake up the next day and find out it can get even MORE unbelievable. I have been thinking about moving to Canada.