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30 May 2012

FollowUp 33: Wisconsin Republican Dirty Tricks

While most of the attention in Wisconsin continues to be on the gubernatorial recall election, coming up on Tuesday 5 June, there is a lot more happening on the ground.  Here is an example of a state senate ad and a news story on the issue.  I will then offer a few thoughts as to why this is really horribly misleading.

Originally, there was an ad on this topic that was mailed out. It was discussed on Channel 4.

"Lehman voted for felons. Putting our communities in danger, John Lehman voted for early inmate release."

That was the beginning text in the video version of the ad, sent out by the Wisconsin Recall Action Fund on their Stop the Recall YouTube Channel.  The words are certainly provocative.  The inmate release was, according to the ad, part of the 2009 Assembly Bill 75.  If you follow that link, the first thing that you are likely to notice is that the pdf is over seventeen hundred pages long.  This is the 2009 state budget, not a simple and isolated bill.  The part regarding early release for inmates is fairly early in the document, beginning on page 13 and running for four solid pages of text. 

Early inmate release is limited to those inmates who gain approval of a parole board and, depending upon the class of felony, sets conditions for rehabilitation programs, supervision, electronic monitoring and tracking, appeals and hearings.  Those who committed violent crimes and crimes against children, those who would most put communities in danger, are not eligible for early release.

On its face, the ad is horribly misleading.  But the scare tactic being used is based on a flawed premise, that early release of inmates endangers communities.  If you speak with a prison warden, she or he will tell you that they are opposed to fixed sentences without parole.  Having a parole possibility gives the guards a tool, an incentive for good behavior within the prison.  That incentive helps inmates through their rehabilitation programs, making the prisons safer, lowering recidivism, and allowing for safer communities after inmates are released.

The truth is diametrically opposed to the conclusion of the ad.  Mr. Lehman's vote made Wisconsin communities safer.

This local ad in SouthEast Wisconsin counts as dirty tricks in my book.  It is pulling legislative provisions out of context, presenting scare tactics without real basis, and telling implicit lies as to the goals of a candidate.  Will it scare voters enough to vote against Mr. Lehman?  Perhaps.  The Recall for Governor is tightening, though still looking like it is in Governor Walker's favor.  Gathering millions of signatures was not enough.  If Wisconsin is to move beyond the Walker lies and destruction of unions and women's rights, then the Democrats and Independents who have had enough of Mr. Walker and Mr. Wanggaard need to cast their ballots on Tuesday.  The election will come down to who turns out the votes.

16 November 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
30 November 2011, FollowUp 1.
4 December 2011, FollowUp 2.
11 December 2011, FollowUp 3.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 4.
15 December 2011, FollowUp 5.
30 December 2011, FollowUp 6.
13 January 2012, FollowUp 7.
17 January 2012, FollowUp 8.
25 January 2012, FollowUp 9.
2 February 2012, FollowUp 10.
9 February 2012, FollowUp 11.
12 February 2012, FollowUp 12.
18 February 2012, FollowUp 13.
22 February 2012, FollowUp 14.
6 March 2012, FollowUp 15.
12 March 2012, FollowUp 16.
16 March 2012, FollowUp 17.
30 March 2012, FollowUp 18.
31 March 2012, FollowUp 19.
3 April 2012, FollowUp 20.
4 April 2012, FollowUp 21.
11 April 2012, FollowUp 22.
14 April 2012, FollowUp 23.
17 April 2012, FollowUp 24.
21 April 2012, FollowUp 25.
29 April 2012, FollowUp 26.
2 May 2012, FollowUp 27.
6 May 2012, FollowUp 28.
10 May 2012, FollowUp 29.
13 May 2012, FollowUp 30.
23 May 2012, FollowUp 31.
24 May 2012, FollowUp 32.

2 June 2012, FollowUp 34.
4 June 2012, FollowUp 35.
5 June 2012, FollowUp 36.

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