Wisconsin has created a new type of political supervillain by combining the most reprehensible attributes of this nation’s two most infamous ogres of the last century — Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon.

Start with McCarthy’s reckless and unsubstantiated allegations against random names on a list, his endless investigations that produced nothing but press coverage and ruined lives. Then take Nixon’s vindictiveness, his desire to use the mechanisms of state to crush his political enemies, and remove the legal impediments that kept him from doing much about it. Give him laws like Wisconsin’s.

There never would have been any Cubans breaking into the Watergate to take a look at the files of the Democratic National Committee or plant bugs. G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt could have just written subpoenas for whatever they wanted without restriction. When there’s nobody to stop them, it turns out that what they want to look at is everything.