Flush with success after their recall victories in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties several years ago, they had ambitions of taking on Jim Doyle and influencing statewide government in 2006. In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article which is no longer online, but which was quoted in this Dailykos post, CRG co-head Chris Kliesmet explained the group's goals:
"Chris Kliesmet, the CRG Network's Milwaukee-based executive administrator, says the group aims to have ‘boots on the ground’ in all 72 counties and raise a war chest of $1 million from a membership base of 10,000 people. That's a long way to go from the current loose confederation of local operations, mostly in the Milwaukee area, operating with about $5,000 in the bank, according to a campaign finance report," Epstein and Johnson write. "To become the force Kliesmet and his partner, Orville Seymer, envision, they'll need to figure out how to transform people angry over very local issues like lake management districts and the removal of a high school football coach to a united, statewide political machine."How's that working out for CRG? Well, they seem to have scaled back their ambitions. A spin-off group, Franklin Citizens for Responsible Leadership, was charged with campaign finance violations and had to disband in 2008.
They still hope to get their chosen candidate, Scott Walker, into the Governor's mansion, but their efforts have met with limited success. Last fall, they held a rally to encourage Walker to veto spending in the Milwaukee County budget that had been added by the County Board. Check out this slideshow and notice how many of the attendees (presumably CRG's core constituency) are elderly. That may have some bearing on their recent actions.
CRG's other co-head, Orville Seymer, has proven himself to be a hypocritical attention whore. After making snarky comments that got him ejected from a County Board meeting in 2006, Seymer sued Milwaukee County for $1 million, claiming he had been subjected to public humiliation and that his free speech rights were violated.
This same champion of free speech has now filed charges with the County District Attorney claiming that County employee Chris Liebenthal must be blogging on County time. Seymer's evidence? A bunch of blog posts on dates that turned out to be furlough days or Liebenthal's scheduled vacation days. It was pointed out by none other than Owen Robinson, the warden of Wisconsin's asylum for the nuttiest of right-wingnuts, Boots and Sabers, that blog time stamps are meaningless anyway. But Robinson still thinks this is sufficient evidence to warrant an official investigation, costing the County time and money as Liebenthal's work computer is seized and examined.
As conservative (but not wingnut) blogger Jeremy Shown said on his thoughtful blog:
The fact of the matter is that if you have to resort to having the civil magistrate confiscate the computer of your rhetorical opponents, you have already lost. Can't the Walker camp come up with some smart folks to simply counter the pronouncements that Capper makes on his blog? Just read it for a while and it shouldn't be all that hard. Even I could, and I couldn't figure out that Capper and Chris Liebenthal were the same guy.
Also, men who began their careers in the IBM Selectric era tend to be hunt-and-peck typists (since typing used to be a skill reserved for secretaries). They overestimate the time it takes to compose blog posts when you are primarily writing about stuff you know really well (limiting the need for background research).
Oh, and CRG also misspelled the link on their website that is supposed to point to their Num6ers Game blog, where their version of this principled stand on behalf of the taxpayers is chronicled. Instead, it points to a "Mega site of Bible studies and information." I guess the word "blogspot" is strange and exotic to the elderly scribes who are designing the CRG's site. Or maybe Moses is volunteering his time.
Is there anyone under the age of 50 who can possibly take Citizens for Responsible Government seriously? No wonder their more recent recall efforts have been less successful than their initial round several years ago. Their constituency is literally dying off.