Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is facing a recall election, and Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (left) talk before the start of the debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 25, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Hauck
Last Friday night's Wisconsin recall election debate began a series of bizarre exchanges between Republican Governor Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, over Walker's attitudes regarding direct democracy.
During this campaign, Walker and his supporters have been harshly critical of those who have sought to recall and remove the governor and his political allies. Though the Wisconsin Constitution is absolutely clear that the reasons for recall elections are to be defined by those who seek them -- as opposed to the politicians who would like to restrict the scheduling of accountability votes -- the Walker camp has claimed that the recall is an expensive and unnecessary political gambit.
Barrett challenged this spin with a suggestion that Walker is a recall hypocrite.
Referring to Walker during the debate, Barrett said: "He has signed recall petitions, it's my understanding, against Senator Feingold, against Senator Kohl, not for criminal misbehavior, but because he disagreed with political decisions that were made."
Walker did not respond immediately. But the next day the governor said, "I have no memory" of signing on for the recall of the Democratic senators when they were targeted in 1997 by anti-abortion groups.