Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recall Racket: The Value of a Signature? $14.25

While I was out helping with the recall efforts, Twitter's @ alerted me to this stunning anti-recall rhetoric from Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Click here to witness the horror.

Rebecca Kleefisch wants you to know that your signature is worth 7.7 million dollars when it comes to signing a recall form. That's how much she estimates it will cost the state to hold a state-wide special election to recall the Governor. (She doesn't mention anything about herself being the target of a recall--this is all about Walker.) She urges Wisconsinites not to sign the petition because they might be taking $7.7M from education or health care or other noble causes to hold the election. She carelessly fondles a football autographed by Bart Starr and jokes that her husband wouldn't want her handling it, letting us know that Bart's autograph costs more than $300, which pales in comparison to the value of YOUR signature.

There's so much to deconstruct here. First, let's look at her use of the football. Besides being a blatant attempt to associate herself and her message with the Packers, she tries to show us her confidence by firmly grasping the ball and thrusting it toward the camera. At the same time, by making a joke that her husband wouldn't like her touching it, she suggests that under most circumstances, she wouldn't carelessly juggle her husband's ball, but the circumstances are so dire that she would risk his displeasure to bring this very important message to you, the taxpayer, who is about to accidentally rip yourself off by signing a recall petition. Never mind the fact that Joel is probably the one running the camera. (I know, so many bad joke possibilities here, so little time.) It also helps that Bart Starr was never caught with his pants down in a dixting scandal. If Kleefisch talks about Bart Starr and you like Bart Starr, you should like Kleefisch by association, right? Of course, the fact that Bart Starr was a union man is left out of the video.

Sitting down in the Kleefisch home is supposed to make you feel like she's your neighbor or friend. (She admitted to you she was touching her husband's ball without permission, didn't she?) I have to assume that light pink sweater is to make you think that she's feminine, because the color isn't doing her any favors. I've noticed a trend toward ultra-feminine pastels on tea party women, so I suspect it's somewhere in the secret tea party play book. It's too bad that they forgot to let her know that the amount of eye make-up that she's wearing doesn't track with the 'soft' color of the sweater. (I know, it's poor taste to pick on her looks, but I'm fairly certain she's relying on her appearance to create a certain perception for the viewer, and I feel quite comfortable critiquing that construct.) The beautiful fall day outside her window, with the neighbor's house with the American flag flapping in the breeze, a pumpkin in the window, and a cartoonish lawn ornament (is that a snowman?), really sets the scene as the Good Wholesome Neighborhood in Which Everyone Should Want to Live. Rebecca for Real is Really at Home, and she's invited you there to visit with her. What could be more trustworthy?

Now that she's gained your trust, the numbers! Let's face it: if a $300 football is out of your economic reach, the thought that signing a piece of paper would cost $7.7 MILLION is pretty unbelievable. Even if the figure is accurate, and let's face it, the governor's office doesn't exactly have a stellar record with quoting figures in the $7M range,
the amount is small compared to the amount of money that Walker has cut from programs. While Kleefisch tries her best to convince you that the money for the election will come from a program towards which it was already allocated, even if we believe the lie that the money perhaps could be taken from education, she fails to mention that Walker has cut $834M from public education already. Let's drop the millions from the figure for a moment. If someone took $834 dollars from you, would you be willing to pay another $7.70 to make sure that they couldn't do it again? I thought so.

Kleefisch also tries to take advantage of the recall fatigue that many areas, such as my town, experienced during the last round of special elections when both volunteers working directly for candidates and those working for other independent groups targeted the same voters. She asks you if you want your tax money going toward more campaign advertisements. Of course, the truth is that none of your tax money goes to political campaigns, and certainly not to political ads. In fact, under Walker's leadership, there is no more public funding for any candidates in Wisconsin. Somehow, Kleefisch's pink sweater resists going up in flames as her pants begin to blaze. (Joel will probably be very unhappy if she accidentally burns his ball.)

For all Kleefisch's attempts to twist (or outright break) the truth, there is one thing she forgot to consider in the equation. Math. Kleefisch claims that your signature on a recall petition is worth $7.7 million. Your signature alone could cost the state 7.7 MILLION dollars. Except that it can't. One signature won't recall the governor. It requires 540,208 signatures to recall the governor. One signature is worthless, unless it is accompanied by 540,207 other valid signatures. If you divide $7,700,000 by 540,208 signatures, it works out to roughly $14.25. Fourteen dollars and twenty-five cents. That's what your signature is worth, if, and only if, it is accompanied by 540,207 other valid signatures. Not even enough to purchase a football WITHOUT the autograph.

BattiestGrrl's advice to you is this: sign the petition to recall Walker. If we collect enough signatures to recall Scott Walker, then your signature is worth less than $15. If we don't get enough, your signature is worthless. Oh, and make sure you remember to recall Rebecca for Real while you're at it.

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