Now, the local scribes have a new game to play: combing through the online database of signers of a petition to recall Governor Walker, and reporting it as “news”. Today, we were shocked and astonished to learn that Paul R. Soglin and Joseph T. Parisi had the unmitigated gall and crass naiveté to sign the petition to recall Governor Walker.
Late last week, a breathless Charlie Sykes (Milwaukee shout radio host) informed us that several senior executives of the United Way campaign had signed the petition, thereby endangering contributions to the charity from those who chose not to sign the recall petition.
And then there’s the Dane County Judge, David Flanagan, who was outed not only for signing a recall petition, but for signing a recall petition his WIFE was circulating! When my bride first informed me about this while reading the article in the local morning print media, I said “next thing you know they’ll be finding out that judges have actually VOTED in elections!!!!!”.
In the alternate universe in which I live, it would be news if the Mayor of Madison and the Dane County Executive (Soglin and Parisi) did NOT sign the petition. But in my alternate universe, it is also headline news that Judge Flanagan did not recuse himself from sitting in judgment of one of Walker’s pet new laws, the ALEC-induced Voter ID law.
The reason this new pastime of reporters combing through the online database to uncover names of petition signers is news is that we have been conditioned by the extreme partisan politics of the past decade, and the clueless failure of our state’s highest court to operate in a fair and non-partisan manner, to believe that NO public figure can possibly conduct themselves as a professional and set aside their personal preferences to act in the best interest of John and Jane Doe.
The justices of our state’s highest court have amply demonstrated that they haven’t the foggiest clue of what “impartial” means; what is and isn’t ethical behavior; and they’re operating in a microcosm where “appearance of impropriety” has no basis in their reality.
There’s a reason the founding fathers made sure that we elect our nation’s political leaders via secret ballot. And, there’s a reason that signing things like nomination papers and recall petitions is not done secretly or anonymously.
The inability to discern why one is secret and the other is public has apparently become a lost art.