The Theater of the Absurd

As all who care are aware, on Tuesday former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Gableman reported to the Wisconsin Assembly’s Elections Committee on his investigation of the 2020 presidential election.  Mr. Gableman was appointed by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos – with a $676,000 taxpayer-funded budget – to investigate the election shortly after former President Donald Trump criticized Mr. Vos and other leading Wisconsin Republicans for failing to investigate supposed election corruption.  The alacrity with which Mr. Vos acted to pacify Mr. Trump proved him to be not only despicably partisan (we knew that) but gutless to boot. 

In his presentation, Mr. Gableman — a former state Supreme Court Justice, mind you – declared that “the Legislature ought to take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020 Wisconsin presidential election.”

This is, of course, pathetic poppycock.  First, all objective analyses of the Wisconsin’s election results have determined that President Joe Biden won the state; second, all objective authorities have opined that the Legislature has no power to decertify the election’s results.  Interestingly, there has been sharp negative reaction to Mr. Gableman’s assertions and proposals on the Republican as well as on the Democratic side. It seems likely that a number of state Republican officials fear both that the report makes them look ridiculous and that it shifts voters’ attention back to 2020 instead of ahead to 2024.  As of the time this is typed, Mr. Vos himself has maintained an uncomfortable silence regarding the substance of Mr. Gableman’s recommendations – after past statements that he opposed many of the measures Mr. Gableman is urging.  Mr. Gableman’s rehashing of debunked conspiracy theories could provide a boost to the fledgling campaign of Republican Gubernatorial candidate (and election conspiracy theorist) Timothy Ramthun, which might ironically ultimately aid the upcoming campaigns of WI Gov. Tony Evers and whomever state Democrats nominate to challenge Republican U.S. WI Sen. Ron Johnson.

After reading the accounts of Mr. Gableman’s report and presentation, the matter strikes me as both hapless and malign.  He is either a liar or a fool.  His report, designed to stir unfounded suspicions among credulous Wisconsinites about the legitimacy of a sitting president whose election has been validated nationwide by all credible evidence, is at best pointless and, by resurrecting unsubstantiated claims as it does, arguably un-American.

Even so, given the perspective provided by our witness to the current existential struggle of a people fighting and dying to preserve their freedom, I’m choosing to focus on the absurd aspects of Mr. Gableman’s quest.  I hope that those who follow these pages will excuse my linking to a scene from Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles that, while aptly capturing the machinations of Mr. Gableman and his sponsor, Mr. Vos, admittedly woefully fails to adhere to the standards that I generally try to maintain in these pages.

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