Mix together a room full of underemployed malcontents and a willing media, and you come up with this year’s most underwhelming political movement – “The People’s Legislature.”
Attorney Ed Garvey, who apparently believes his embarrassment in the 1998 governor’s race wasn’t enough, went back to the well again in early January by stirring up a group of the politically confused (i.e. progressives) in a sham meeting to bash state government. Note to Garvey – if your 1998 running mate, moonbeam Barb Lawton, has achieved more in public service than you have, you may soon be seeing your political career as a victim on “CSI: Miami.”
Complicit in the organization of this charade was Mike McCabe, head of the “nonpartisan” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which advocates for public financing of elections. McCabe, as you may remember, lost to Mark Pocan in a 1998 Democratic primary for State Assembly by a nearly four to one margin – McCabe actually made Mark Pocan look like Tom DeLay.
One wonders if McCabe or Garvey would continue to label state government as “corrupt” if they had actually been elected, or if this is all sour grapes. The strategy seems to be, if you can’t be elected legitimately, form your own band of the misguided to lead.
Billed as a “nonpartisan” event, the organizers held out Carol Mcky as the sole “Republican” scheduled to be present. In fact, the Wisconsin State Journal, swallowing Garvey’s press release whole, reported the “longtime Republican” Mcky would be present at the “nonpartisan” event. Incidentally, a simple Google seach shows that Mcky is an outspoken opponent of the War in Iraq, was featured at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, and campaigned aggressively for John Kerry.
Joining Mcky was former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson, who provided some much needed balance to the festivities by calling the U.S. government “tyrannical,” and “authoritarian.” Thompson finished up by saying, “This is how totalitarian governments come into being. And I believe government in America today, at all levels, is dangerously close to taking this serious misstep.” Thompson, as you remember, was the Libertarian candidate who ironically complained about not getting enough government money for his campaign.
The “People’s Legislature” was billed as an event where a platform would be developed as if special interests had no say. It was to reflect what the common people of Wisconsin would want without big money contributions and corrupt politicians involved. So what did this group of “common folk” come up with?
They produced a four point plan for campaign finance reform straight out of a Democracy Campaign press release, including public financing of campaigns, merging the state elections and ethics boards, and redistricting reform. Stuff that the real people of Wisconsin care about.
I can imagine a typical dinner at a blue collar home:
MOM: How was your day at work?
DAD: Well, the boss is on my back, my paycheck is shrinking, my co-workers aren’t pulling their weight, and my back is killing me from working that drill press.
MOM: You seem more down than usual. Is there something else?
DAD: Well, there is. The Legislature hasn’t consolidated the elections and ethics board, and I believe our democracy is at stake as a result.
MOM: More yams?
Since the initial meeting in January, the “People’s Legislature” has continued to impose their odor on the rest of the state, having several meetings attended by nearly tens of people. These individuals were brave enough to venture out of the smoke-filled vans they had been living in long enough to hear why we need to waste taxpayer money on TV ads that everyone hates anyway.
Here’s a note to the chemically challenged People’s Legislature attendees: There’s a big white building in the middle of Madison where real laws are made, and there’s a reason Garvey and McCabe have failed to gain entry into a system so “corrupt:” they are as crazy as you are.