I’ve been telling people for months that there was no doubt there would be a recall election for the Governor of Wisconsin, that the number of signatures needed was trivial next to the swathes of people irritated, dismayed, or pissed off by Walker’s agenda and political style.  For those of you who thought I’d developed an uncharacteristic streak of optimism or naivete, well, one of us was wrong and it wasn’t me.  I suppose it’s possible that we won’t manage to get as many signatures in the next six weeks as we did in the last two, but color me skeptical.

That said, one of the things people on the ground have been noticing is a reluctance by some people to sign the second recall petition, the one for Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. And honestly, the number of people who just blindly sign the petition for her because I tell them to squicks me out.  I mean, yes, I am a reliable authority, the final arbiter of morality and justice, and deeply knowledgeable and right about everything, but that doesn’t mean you should just take my word for it and remove somebody for office.  I have more respect for the people who say, “I don’t know anything about her, no thanks.”  And utter contempt for the people who say that, then don’t go learn anything.

Dudes, Kleefisch is at least as scary as Walker.  Here, let me show you how.  And then you can go ahead and sign that petition and I won’t judge you for it, ‘kay?

Let’s start with a source that will be, I suspect uncontroversial: hers.  We’ll set aside petty commentary about how she has the same creepy, toothed smile in every photo and move on to actual content.  As of this writing, the top two articles on the website are a report about Wisconsin leading in manufacturing jobs, and another article touting how Wisconsin has swiped 111 jobs from Mexico.  We’re open for business y’all, ain’t it grand?  I’m particularly amused by the second article, what with the juicy implications that we’re getting good American jobs back from those Mexicans.  It’s a shame this is hollow propaganda.  So she gets points for well targeted rhetoric, which I can always respect, but loses them for being just a teeny bit out of touch with reality in a really obvious way.

The next two articles are, in my opinion, much more fun.  The first talks about how she’s returning to her Tea Party roots.  I’m glad this wasn’t the first article because so many people would have considered that damning enough and nobody would have read on about the Mexico rhetoric.  There’s a great picture of her (I think?) with the Gadsden flag, which I still love, and will remain eternally bitter over its appropriation.  I suspect her constituents get the same happy thrill, without the dirty self-loathing chaser.

The next article is about the summer recall elections.  There’s nothing original there except the headline, “Media Agrees: Summer Elections Endorse Walker.”  Then three quotes from three different news organizations.  Not any direct shenanigans going on in that article, but I feel obligated to point out that while I can bitch extensively about the summer recalls, the Republicans outspent the Dems by a significant margin, yet the Dems won more of those elections than they lost.  And the Republicans are frantically fundraising because they spent their war chest for the presidential campaign last summer.  (Or, at least the ones who feel entitled to my wallet are)  Were the summer recalls embarrassing?  Yes.  A defeat?  Er, not really.  I’d call it a draw.

The rest of her webpage is boring.  Lots of Tea Party key words, no content.  You have plenty of links if you want to poke at it yourself.  Let’s move on.

May I take a moment to express my appreciation for the AV Club?  I think I can.  Also, bitch snarked at my train.  My gut reaction to people snarking at my train is the best argument against conceal carry out there.  That said, conceal carry and the castle doctrine have to be the two things they’ve done they don’t piss me off.  But leave my train alone.

It gets a little bit touched on in the campaign ads linked to by the AV Club, but here’s the thing you all probably have heard about from Rebecca Kleefisch: Same-sex marriage is a slippery slope to dog marriage.  Way back in the day a similar rant from a similar politician knocked me off my “Government should get out of marriage” stance and into enthusiastic support for gay marriage.  His slippery slope argument was that after liberating teh gays we’d slide into permitting plural marriage.  Can I bring sleds to this slope?  Also, I like the ribbons on this hand basket.

And, finally, I leave you with her PolitiFact file.  She gets up to half-truth, and that’s as far as she goes.  Oops.  Well, now you know.  And now you can see why keeping her from sneaking into office behind Walker might be a really, really good idea.

4 thoughts on “Who is Rebecca Kleefisch?

  1. On the blind signers:

    20% of the left is energetic and active. Maybe their battle cry is, “We should care for the least among us.”

    20% of the right is energetic and active. Their battle cry might be, “Government is not the solution, it is the problem.”

    60%, in the middle are not energetic and active in politics. They are worried about other things. Their battle cry is, “Go Vikings!”

    I love following politics–listening to podcasts on legal and political issues, watching the news, and discussing with friends. So it is rational for me to be involved at least as far as those activities go. I would rather do those activities than do other things like watch sitcoms or read fiction.

    And it sounds like you love the stuff, too, so it is rational for you to get involved, because you enjoy it.

    But you and I are the mutants, not them (if I appraise you correctly). We spend more time with our heads in politics, economics, and legal issues than 99% of the population.

    For me it is a hobby. Though there are a long list of things I would like to see changed, but I have never voted in an election that would have turned out differently if I had stayed home, instead. So my vote has always counted in a nominal sense, but never in a real sense. I vote because it is a sweet, quaint activity that makes me feel a larger part of something, but that won’t change anything–similar to cheering for the Saints. Mark Twain said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    And if I go out proselyting, I will almost certainly not change any minds. After all, I had 20 years with my oldest son and never changed his mind.

    Why is it so hard to change minds? Why do so many either sign without comment or refuse to sign?

    It turns out that the middle 60% are acting in a rational way, if one defines rationality as an economist does: do stuff if and only if the benefits from it are at least as great as the cost. Spending time getting involved in politics is irrational, if a person only looks toward their material self-interest or toward the material self interest of others. Each individual in the middle is more likely to win the PowerBall than to have their vote decide a statewide election. So there’s not enough in it for them to be interested.

    As I said, it’s rational for me to sink so much time into educating myself, because I love it. And it’s rational for you to be so involved, because you love it.

    So why do people sign your petiton without thinking? (1) Because it is not important and they want to get you in their rear view mirror (2) Because people feel social pressure not to disagree with someone about a sensitive subject–politics. And some who want to discuss the issues are mutants. Or they like your smile.

    Why are some afraid to sign? Their names will go in a database somewhere. And that carries some small, uncertain risk. The Supreme Court recently ruled that even financial contributors’ names could not be protected–hence some anti-Prop 8 contributors were openly discriminated against and the court said, that’s just the cost of engaging in politics. That risk of providing one signature, when weighed against the benefit of that one signature–nil, since it’s supremely unlikely that the petition will fail or succeed based on one signature–is not worth it.

    1. It’s rational for everybody to be involved, something a lot of people in Wisconsin figured out in February after staying home in November. I’m not sure where you live, but while the pointlessness of voting is valid in many areas, that is not the case in Wisconsin at all. All of our elections the last several years have been excruciatingly close, down to the supreme court elections getting decided by a bag of ballots “discovered” after the initial count.

      I haven’t run into anybody refuse to sign the petition because they disagree and I doubt they were motivated by my smile, in part because my smile is generally considered to be creepy, but more likely because I haven’t been outside of Madison with the petition and Madison is overwhelmingly in favor of recall. I have been refused because 1) Their best friend would kill them for signing my copy of the petition instead of waiting to sign the friends 2) They’re waiting for their daughter to get home from college when they’re having a party and signing as a family and 3) Don’t I know they were at the midnight opening party and signed days ago?

      And while we will definitely get more than enough signatures to trigger elections, and any one person signing or not won’t make a difference, I do feel quite strongly that the faster we get the signatures and trigger the election, the better. The Republicans are better fundraisers, more organized, and generally less prone to self-destruct. Giving them more time to do their fundraising and for the Dems to implode is bad. So, sure, we’ve got until January 17. If we can get the petition certified a month early, that’s really good.

  2. “It’s rational for everybody to be involved, something a lot of people in Wisconsin figured out in February after staying home in November.”

    You have fallen prey to the fallacy of division–what is true for the whole may not be true for the parts.

    It is true that if everybody boycotts Walmart they will lose money. But that does not mean that if I boycott Walmart they will lose money.

    If everybody votes, the election results are likely to change. But that does not mean that if I vote, the election results are likely to change.

    In Florida in 2000, with a margin of maybe 300 votes, if I had not voted, I would have no cause for regret. If I voted one way, the margin would be 299, and if I had a second way the vote would have been 301, and if I had voted 3rd party the vote of the winner would not have changed. In all three cases, the same candidate wins.

    1. And you’re falling for the fallacy that my actions do not have an effect on my surroundings. People do not act in isolation, and your decision to vote or not could well impact the decision of those around you. If people see you voting, or know you did it, it makes voting seem more normal, more important, and more attractive for them to do. In other words, if you vote, the odds of everybody voting go up, thus increasing the odds of the election results changing. This is a big part of the strategy behind targeted GOTV efforts – get somebody in a cluster enthusiastic about voting, the whole cluster becomes more likely to vote. Now, like I said, in some areas the probabilities are too small given the starting spread in results to have any impact. In swing areas and close races, those small probabilities are hugely important.

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