The Political Prosecution of Scott Walker’s Supporters; Update: Obama Weighs In

October 29, 2014

Via Sense and Snarkability, George Will reviews the ugly facts of the other campaign against Governor Walker in Wisconsin, another example of the quasi-criminalization of political dissent (see also the indictments of Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Tom DeLay).

The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

. . .

Wisconsin . . . has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.

According to several published reports, Chisholm told subordinates that his wife, a teachers union shop steward at her school, is anguished by her detestation of Walker’s restrictions on government employee unions, so Chisholm considers it his duty to help defeat Walker.

. . . Chisholm’s aim — to have a chilling effect on conservative speech — has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

(Read the whole thing here.)

Update (October 29th, 2014):  President Obama underscored how much he and Walker’s opponent have in common when Obama went to Wisconsin and tried to rally voters on her behalf last night (also covered elsewhere).  As President Obama has repeatedly said, his policies are on the ballot this November; a vote for other Democrats is, in effect, a vote for more of Obama.

Last night, for example, Obama emphasized that he and the Wisconsin Democrat both support raising the minimum wage—i.e., making more low-wage jobs illegal, taking jobs from those who need them most (such as me less than a year ago).

Governor Walker responded to Obama’s appearance:

Meanwhile, Walker in a stop in central Wisconsin, said voters should be wary of the help Democrats from Washington, D.C., are providing his opponent.

The president is the fourth top surrogate to hit the state for Burke. Former President Bill Clinton was here last week, first lady Michelle Obama made two visits, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also put in an appearance with Burke.

“I think it reflects the fact that she’s the candidate of Washington. . . .” . . .

He tied the visits to the support Burke has received from national union leaders. Unions targeted Walker because of the 2011 law he pushed that sharply limited collective bargaining for public workers.

“I think that should be a warning to people across the state that if they get their way, they’re going to expect something in return for all that support,” he said. “And I think that’s going to be higher taxes and more spending.

“It’s pretty clear they don’t like the fact that we took their power away and put it in the hands of the hardworking taxpayers.”

. . .

Obama arrived in Milwaukee in the late afternoon and attended a $16,000-a-plate fundraiser at Umami Moto restaurant. The event benefited the Democratic National Committee.

. . .

Obama urged everyone to go to the polls and reminded them that voters can cast ballots even without a photo ID.

Of course they can…

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