Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Democracy, Wisconsin style

We already know the high regard in which Wisconsin Republicans hold the sacred forms and traditions of democracy, right?

If you recall that they railroaded Walker's union-busting bill through the Assembly and Senate, likely nothing will surprise you.

But here are some new rules from the Republicans:

1. If you're a Democrat, you don't get a vote in committee.

2. If you're a Republican, you don't have to live in the district you are elected to represent.

Let's go over that once more.

The majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate has ruled that the Democrats who boycotted the proceedings to avoid giving the R's a quorum are in contempt of the Senate, and that consequently their votes in committee don't count.

They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded

Nice, huh?

Now, Number 2: Like every other state, Wisconsin's legislature has a system of districts. The voters in those districts turn out and vote for their representatives, who live in and represent those districts.

Except that that's not how it works for one of the Republicans in the Senate. Last year Randy Hopper, R, Fond du Lac, left his wife and took to living with a 25-year old aide.

As you can see from the picture, Randy is not 25 years old. If it matters to you that his new paramour is twenty years younger than he is, that is.

And if it matters to you that she now works for the lobbying firm that represents some very nasty right-wing groups.

It's certainly not unheard of for an elected official to set up housekeeping outside of his district, or even to have an extramarital affair.

What seems to cross the line for me is that not only did he move out on his wife and out of his district, but he ran for re-election. That means he undoubtedly had to sign papers with the Wisconsin Secretary of State, probably under oath, verifying his place of residence. (He conveniently includes a map of his district--I mean the one he used to live in--on his legislative web page.)

And whatever he swore to on those papers was a lie.

So it's not the sex, and it's not just the hypocrisy (nothing like those bible-believing, family values Republicans, huh?), it's the whole package of sleeping with a scummy lobbyist, leaving your wife for her, and lying about where you live when you run for reelection.

In case you're wondering, his wife says she'll sign the recall petition. His maid already has.

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