Posted by Bud on June 15, 2011 at 16:22:16:
In Reply to: Milwaukee radio hosts "in sync" with GOP agenda posted by Bud on June 15, 2011 at 16:21:01:
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Governance As If By Talk Radio; Wisconsin Republicans Play Out The Farce
The political scene in Madison since the January swearing-in of Scott Walker and his Republican legislative majorities is familiar if you listen to right-wing talk radio.
Not just the content of new law and plans, of course: You've got your union-bashing and voter suppression and tax cuts for the wealthy and favors for corporations and special interests, like the road-builders- - the typical ultra-conservative Charlie Sykes/Vicki McKenna talk radio agenda - - spiced up this go-round with concealed firearms carrying permissions and, courtesy of River Hills' State Senator Alberta Darling, the new Queen of Reaction, even the easing of child labor laws.
If fact, there was Darling on Sykes' show this morning, right on cue and perfectly coordinated, being led through the litany of all the good things in the budget and on the table - - and she thanked Charlie when she had to go do her damage for helping get her "message" out.
But when I say talk radio I'm also talking about the volume and tone of what's happening in the Legislature - - loud, demanding, bullying, authoritarian - - with gavels falling gleefully to close debate or kill amendments, or Senators, like Fred Risser, being cut off in mid-sentence.
You hear this basic talk radio practice routinely on Mark Belling's 1130 WISN-AM show as he talks, even shouts, over his callers - - even supporters.
Why? Because it's an uneven playing field. He has the power because he has the microphone.
That's how the Fitzgerald brothers are running the show; they have the power, so anything goes.
Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald is arranging the calendar beginning today so that Scott Walker's two-year budget - - billions in public funding, taxing and spending, on thousands of programs - - will be taken up in extraordinary session - - despite the absence of compelling need, or a true emergency.
The actual need is to nail down the loose ends for Walker and Corporate Wisconsin and the talk radio agenda - - wrap it up and go home and campaign through the self-generated recalls and, above all, try to disperse the crowds outside.
It's completely tactical and partisan and self-defeating - - but is also a total, in-your-face bastardization of the process into talk radio, where discussion is micro-managed, and anger is manufactured and the outcome is not in doubt. The host wins.
The Fitzgeralds can do this because they have the power; the budget will be sped to Walker's desk after limited, meaningless Kabuki debate - - not because it's the right or even a smart thing to do - - but because it's the ploy the game-players Fitzgeralds and Walker are choosing.
Brother Jeff threatens, if the State Supreme Court does not dance to his tune and hand him a gift-wrapped judicial victory, to include in the fast-tracked budget the union-busting measure his brother Scott Fitzgerald mishandled as a separate measure in the Senate when he trampled on the Open Meetings law and rammed through Walker's falsely-labeled budget-repair bill in which union-busting provisions and the end of collective bargaining were included.
But legislative bodies are not talk shows.
Leaders are not radio jocks.
Public policies aren't topics to be teed up and clobbered by hosts with microphones, selected callers, audio kill switches and seven-second delays.
Talk radio is twisted entertainment.
Legislating is life and death.
What the Wisconsin legislature is about to do this week is not legislating.
It's faux-legislating. And like the bogus Democrats that Republicans are running in the recall elections, it's fake governing - - sick, real-life farce, with a cringing statewide audience.
Walker and the Fitzgeralds they think they will rule forever, and that their bills and policies are are inherently meritorious and irreversible, but Republican leaders in Wisconsin will come to regret their extreme experiment suspending democracy and discounting the public.
Their contemptuous radicalism will be retired by the will of the people.
And history will treat them harshly; Walker and the Fitzgeralds and the other architects of the failed State of Fitzwalkerstan will be punchlines, footnotes.
/Posted by James Rowen
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