THURSDAY HOT READ: KLOPPENBURG'S ZEAL
Five days before the April 5 election, some last minute thoughts on the choice voters will make. First, Patrick McIlheran looks at the injudicious prosecutorial style of Joanne Kloppenburg, including several cases we've discussed on the show.
She's running, in other words, on a reckless claim she can't back up. It makes one wonder about her judgment.
So does her career as the state prosecutor working with the Department of Natural Resources. Has she prosecuted judiciously? No. She has shown toward Wisconsinites all the humanity of the Terminator.
Take Wayne Hensler, a farmer, now 82. His 70-acre field south of Lake Mills tilts slightly and is near water, heaven help him. When he was told his runoff was plaguing Rock Lake, he offered to change the drainage. No go: Eventually, the state demanded he give up 7 acres (the best ones, he says) to plant in grass.
Hensler is stubborn, a proselytizing atheist who puts up anti-God billboards. When the court told him to turn over $5,000 to the DNR so it could render his 7 acres useless, he replied no. He was sent to jail immediately, while the state's attorney, Kloppenburg, dug into his bank accounts.
Kloppenburg chased this case from 2004 to, apparently, present, since Hensler says he's going to put in soybeans. She e-mailed a colleague in 2009 to note that Hensler, who'd recently gone through heart surgery, "looked very hale and hearty" as he got hauled off.
Hensler says Kloppenburg showed neither understanding nor judiciousness. "This was more of a hate thing than anything else," he told me.
Wisconsin supreme court justice David Prosser went to bed one night a respected former prosecutor, and woke up the next morning the target of a $3 million union-run smear campaign, falsely accused of being an enabler of pedophiles. That is what you get when you oppose the political machine that has been fleecing taxpayers in Wisconsin and elsewhere for a generation. Or, as in the case of Justice Prosser, when they suspect you might merely stand in their way and do your job....
It is important that conservatives nationwide make this campaign their own. What is at stake in Wisconsin is not just one piece of legislation or one bill restoring a measure of sanity to the state budgeting process. The question to be answered in Wisconsin is: Who works for whom? Do the public employees work for the citizens, or are the citizens mere cattle to be disposed of at the pleasure of the bureaucrats and their union bosses? Every arrow in the quiver — court cases, judicial elections, recall, lawsuits, lies, libels, and brute thuggery — will be thrown at this case, along with lots of money derived from the union dues that state and local governments helpfully deduct from their employees’ paychecks on the unions’ behalf. Wisconsin may seem an unlikely battleground, but a line must be drawn, and this is the place to draw it.