Saturday, April 9, 2011
Applying Occam's Razor: Nickolaus dumb, not devious
Kathy Nickolaus, Waukesha County Clerk
What a wild world we live in. Very late on Tuesday night, I made a crack in a post about whether Fond du Lac and Washington counties, Republican strongholds that had yet to report any votes, could turn into the Duval Counties of Wisconsin, and determine the election. Duval County is the talismanic vote-rigging county that propelled Lyndon Johnson to the national scene in the U.S. Senate primary election in Texas in 1948. (Back in the halcyon days when Democratic primaries decided the officeholders in Texas, like the Republican primaries do today.) Robert Caro wrote about the vote-rigging in Ascent to Power, one volume of his three-part Pulitzer Prize winning biography of LBJ. For a political junky, it's a "you gotta read."
So, when I read the news of the Waukesha County bombshell while driving back from a vacation in South Carolina late on Thursday night, I wondered the same thing that many Wisconsinites did: Did Kathy Nickolaus, the Waukesha County clerk, deliver for the Prosser camp? It was only a fleeting thought.
I don't particularly care for conspiracy theory extremists, whether they are Birthers or Waukesha Tallyists. The GAB can send their investigative team in, but all they will uncover is that Ms. Nickolaus is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. The Waukesha turnout looked comparably light on Wednesday morning. 14,000 additional votes made the county turnout percentage more reasonable, not less. There is no way that the individual municipal clerks could be pulled into a conspiracy to rig the tally. Ms. Nickolaus' explanation for her error Tuesday night holds water. Occam's Razor: the most rational explanation for an event is the simplest one consistent with all the facts. The new vote margin for Prosser is going to easily withstand a recount. Had I been advising Ms. Kloppenburg, I would have encouraged her not to have declared victory on a 200 vote margin before the initial canvass process had been finished. She looked a little too "eager" to get her fitting.
At least now the Governor can acknowledge the truth. The race was about him.