Wisconsin's Republicans have gained a reputation for tilting the playing field for elections. This includes their creative redistricting and their voter ID crusade, which is intended to prevent fraud but, as a bonus, disadvantages voters who lean Democratic.
So it was no surprise to see Gov. Scott Walker messing with the Government Accountability Board last month. He withdrew the appointment of David Deininger, who led the election-oversight board during the effort to recall Walker in 2011 and 2012. Deininger's term isn't up until 2016, but Walker apparently couldn't wait that long, what with his own reelection scheduled for 2014.
It couldn't help looking like the governor wanted to reconstitute the nonpartisan board to his liking, given that the GAB's decisions didn't always meet with his approval during the recall process. Never mind that the board's decisions also angered Democrats at times. And never mind that Deininger himself is a former Republican state representative.
Making it even harder to give Walker the benefit of the doubt is the fact that his replacement for Deininger is former Republican congressman Harold Froehlich, who actually donated to Walker's campaign. So much for even the appearance of fairness.
But if the GAB caper represents Walker taking the low road, a comment he made this week shows him to better advantage. The governor expressed skepticism about a Republican-backed bill in the Legislature that would limit recalls. Wisconsin Public Radio reported him saying, "I think most people would be hard pressed to go forward with another statewide recall unless there was misconduct or something more specific in that regard."
Here's Walker behaving like a magnanimous leader rather than a self-interested politician who merely wants to protect himself from another recall. Let's hear it for the high road!