Activist Wednesday: Wisconsin Aftermath
Posted June 6, 2012on:
I’m out in Minneapolis again, and had a team dinner last night, so I have no way of knowing whether the woman-hating corporate toady Scott Walker was kicked to the curb. However, I do know that the National Democrats did finally wake up and start fighting for Tom Barrett. Fundraisers were held, pavement was pounded, and calls were made. Oh, and the Big Dawg arrived. Obviously, he understands what is at stake here.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold also put himself out there for Mr. Barrett.
There was one very prominent Democrat, however, who brushed the election right off his shoulder; who didn’t quite seem to grok what it was all about; who couldn’t manage to make a phone call or an encouraging video, to be that inspirational leader so many claimed he was for so long, to put out an alternate vision of the future that was compelling and specific (the way Bill Clinton does in that short, yet very effective video above.) Can we guess who?
The recall race to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker has pretty much seen it all — except for President Barack Obama.
Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee who hopes to oust Walker, reads nothing into that: “No, because we understand that he’s got a lot going on,” Walker told me on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Whatever happens, the Wisconsin results will be translated as a proxy race for the fall presidential campaign.
It will go something like this:
If Walker avoids recall, it is an early-bird signal of the grassroots strength of conservatism, the decline of union power and an opening in Wisconsin for Mitt Romney.
If Walker is recalled, it is a rebuke of the excesses of conservatism, a defeat for the tea party and a sign that Wisconsin remains solid Obama territory.
I know this is the CW these days, but I don’t quite see it that way. A recall election is simply not the same as a national election. The odds are much higher in favor of the incumbent; turnout is going to be uncharacteristically high; and the money factor, as Pat pointed out yesterday, will be very important. None of those things will be true in the national election. Both Romney and Obama will be spending oodles and buckets of cashola, and I don’t believe that the turnout will be there in 2012 the way it was in 2008.
The fact is that the election to rid Wisconsin of the Walker infection is not about Barack Obama. It is about grassroots efforts to fight big money with little money, to take on corporate corruption with people power.
If this recall succeeds, it will be a sign of hope for the people of Wisconsin, who have been so passionately engaged for so very long. And even if it doesn’t, it will show how much people can do when they truly care about an important cause.
I am not as pessimistic as our dear friend Pat. The Tea Party Republicans (and their Democratic counterparts in Austerity) are bound and determined to destroy everything that Democrats and unions have fought for, yes; but this recall shows that people can be motivated to fight for their ideals. Young people, older people, people of all social strata, shapes, genders, colors and sizes.
I recently saw a story on the PBS NewsHour about the Romney campaign fighting for Hispanic and African-American votes. The campaign staffers were optimistic, claiming that they felt the Romney campaign had something to offer all people. Realistically speaking, are these voters long shots for Willard? Sure, but the philosophy of the Republican Party is to never give a single inch, to fight for every vote.
Bill Clinton was the same way: he went after the white working class-vote, and even though that group was considered Republican territory, he got enough of those votes to win the White House…twice.
If we lefties, middlies and others who are tired of the two-party two-step want to make any changes, we will have to adopt the same philosophy. Never give up! Never surrender! (Hey, it worked for Tim Allen. )
This is an open thread. And be sure to tune in tomorrow for the first post by our new Widdershin – Prolix!
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