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Issue of the Week: Voting Shenanigans

Plus Winners and Jerks of the Week

Sep. 17, 2008
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Republican presidential nominee John McCain is sending erroneous absentee ballot applications to voters in Wisconsin, “hundreds of thousands” of them, according to the head of the state’s Republican Party. The applications look legit, but many will ultimately be sent to the wrong municipal clerk. Then the clerks will be burdened with these misdirected forms.

Worse yet, McCain’s campaign is also sending incorrect absentee ballot applications in Virginia and Ohio, two other swing states that will be critical this fall.

Should we chalk this up to good old incompetence or something much more sinister? Either way, the McCain campaign has done a huge disservice to well-intentioned voters around the state.

So, consider yourself warned. If you want to vote with an absentee ballot this fall, and you’re registered to vote at your current address, contact your local municipal clerk or download the application at the state Government Accountability Board’s Web site (elec tions.state.wi.us; click on “voter information” and “voters’ frequently asked questions”).

If you’re not registered to vote at your current address, it’s best to do so before Election Day. You can do so in person at your local municipal clerk’s office or download form EB131 under “voters’ frequently asked questions” at elections.state.wi.us.

Don’t fall for political shenanigans that look like they’re intended to throw the results of the election in doubt.

Blog of the Week:

Keith R. Schmitz at Folkbum’s Rambles and Rants (folkbum.blogspot.com)
Lehman Brothers = Marx Brothers—Now That Worked

There will be a flurry of conservative hairsplitting and excuses, but the disaster that is happening right now on Wall Street with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, thanks to the subprime mess, should, among rational thinking people, put a stake into the heart of the right-wing notion of hands-off when it comes to the market.

John “McAdams,” for example, might want to go back and erase off his [Web] site those posts where he proclaimed the concern over the subprime blowup “a fad.” One can think of less deadlier fads, like bungee jumping.

Those of us who thought “letting the economy do what it does best” would fatten our portfolios and hasten our retirements are learning otherwise.

There is a long line of people to thank for this disruption, but let’s hustle to the front of the line: John McCain’s actual economic adviser, Phil Gramm. “The Angry Snapping Turtle,” as Molly Ivins liked to call him, was responsible for dismantling many of the post-Depression firewalls that kept things stable. Keep that in mind when contemplating support for this ticket.

Like H.L. Mencken once said, “Democracy is a form of government that promises that the people get what they want, and they get it good and hard.” ’Nuff said. He’s John McCain, and he approves this mess. (To read more local blogs, go to blognetwork.expressmilwaukee.com.)

Event of the Week:

Silver City Main Street Asian Festival
Saturday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., West National Avenue between 35th Street and 41st Street

Celebrate Milwaukee’s rich Asian cultures with martial arts demonstrations, Chinese Lion Dancers, a fashion show, parade, vendors and amazing food. (To find more cool events, go to www.expressmilwaukee.com.)

Hero of the Week:
David Bogan

David Bogan, former U.S. Marine and Milwaukee’s “Hulk Hogan of Humor,” spearheads a collection drive this weekend at ComedySportz (420 S. First St.) on behalf of Operation Iraqi Children, which helps American GIs deliver school-supply kits and other necessities to Iraqi children. Bogan witnessed firsthand the plight of kids in distressed areas while serving in Somalia, and approached Operation Iraqi Children, founded by actor Gary Sinise, about doing something locally for the youngest victims of war. “I have friends on both sides of the political aisle,” Bogan says, “and this just seemed a real no-brainer, bipartisan way to help the kids.”

ComedySportz will be accepting donations of money or school supplies this Friday, Sept. 19, from 6 p.m. to midnight, and all day on Saturday. For a detailed list on assembling a school kit, please see www.operationiraqichildren.org. Colored pencils are preferred to crayons, as the latter melt in the brutal heat of the Iraqi summer.

Jerk of the Week:
State Sen. Alberta Darling

This past week, Alberta Darling was all over the Internet, attacking Barack Obama for using the term “lipstick on a pig” to describe John McCain’s so-called policies of change. Ironically, in a 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune, McCain used the same term, “lipstick on a pig,” to describe Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. The entire lipstick flap is a non issue, but that is not the problem. The real problem is that Sen. Alberta Darling, who was elected to the state Legislature in a special election in May of 1990 as a moderate, pro-reproductive-choice Republican, has over the past 18 years given up her moderate stances and caved to the right-wing faction of the Republican Party. She has become a very partisan, anti-choice Republican who is no longer in sync with her district. Many moderates and independents in her district don’t recognize the current Alberta Darling, since she is not the person they first elected in 1990.

“A McCain victory on Election Day will usher in a Palin presidency, with McCain serving as a transitional frontman, an even weaker Bush to her Cheney.”

—Frank Rich, writing in The New York Times

Reflection, by Daniel Roehlman

"Lake Michigan, seen from Seven Bridges in Grant Park."

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