Over the weekend, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an article that leaves the reader gobsmacked
with disbelief at both Chris Abele's hypocrisy and the fact that the paper left it unchallenged.
In the first part of the article, the reporter, Steve Schultze, reports that Abele, the Mitt Romney of Milwaukee County, again vetoed a resolution that would have put the Move to Amend referendum on the fall ballot.
The veto in itself is not surprising. After illegally trying to get the Move to Amend people to pay to get their referendum on the ballot in 2012, he vetoed the resolution, waiting until it was too late for the Milwaukee County Board to override it and still get it on the ballot.
Also remember that Abele was more than willing to use his vast wealth to buy the election for county executive in 2011 and to scare off any potential opponents in 2012. Abele also did not hesitate to throw his money, as well taxpayers money, to buy influence with Teapublicans like Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga in Madison to get his plutocracy bill passed in the first place.
In other words, Abele is Citizens United personified.
The mind-boggling part comes with Abele's irrational rationale for his veto:
Abele said he agreed with those critical of the ruling, but not the tactic of holding a referendum. The $25,000 to $40,000 it would cost to put the measure on the ballot would be better spent on county services, he said.The gentle reader should keep in mind that Abele did not have any qualms about the cost of running a meaningless red herring referendum in April of this year to cut the pay of the county board supervisors. Abele's referendum was meaningless because the damage to the representative government that Milwaukee County once enjoyed was already done. The referendum was nothing but a punitive ploy by the emotionally-stunted Abele, who was more interested in lashing out at those who would oppose him rather than in good government.
National opinion polls already show that the public overwhelmingly disagrees with the Citizens United decision, Abele said.
"I believe the high court's decision corrupts the political process," Abele said in his veto message. But lobbying Congress to pass new campaign finance legislation or to call a constitutional convention would be a more effective way of reversing the high-court ruling, he said.
Putting money into services, which should be Abele's goal anyway, is not really a big factor for him. He has squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on paying for his courthouse fire, overpaying his cronies/aides, hiring his own personal security force and lobbying the same Teapublicans to eliminate the living wage in Wisconsin.
It is also laughable that Abele should suggest that it would be "more effective" to lobby Congress. Perhaps it is because he is unable and unwilling to understand that poor people have rights too, but Abele should really be able to recognize that the referendum is a way of lobbying Congress, especially since it is citizen-driven.
It could be that Abele is so used to just buying off politicians to get what he wants that he doesn't even understand that vast majority of citizens can't and won't do that. More likely, he just thinks that the little people should shut up and let their superiors, like Abele, make their decisions for them. After all, that is what Dear Leaders like Abele are for.
Sadly, Abele's hypocrisy doesn't end there.
Abele also vetoed a resolution to abolish an unfilled position in the Government Affairs Department. The position became vacant at the end of last year when Abele summarily fired the worker in that position for no reason other than she used to work for the county board. And this is coming from the same man who is constantly accusing the board of making everything personal and political.
Abele says he vetoed that resolution because he is suddenly concerned about being able to address citizens' issues, even though that hasn't happened in the three years he's been in office. It is also ironic because those citizens' issues used to be addressed by the county board until he hamstrung them in his power grab.
If Chris Abele put half as much energy into be a leader as he does in this inanity and hypocrisy, we would all be better off for it.
Fortunately, despite Abele's best efforts, there are still adults in the room.
On Monday afternoon, the county board is scheduled to take up these two issues and other mistakes made by Abele. Hopefully, they will continue to put their political differences aside and serve the public together by overriding Abele's vetoes.