The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: Wisconsin Aftermath

Posted on: June 6, 2012

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!


23 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: Wisconsin Aftermath"

Allow me my “Debbie Downer” mood today since I can’t quite wrap my head around this outcome.

Would it have made any difference had President Indifferent bothered to show up for a quick 5 minutes on the WI turf just to let the opposition know that he “cares”?

Maybe and maybe not but who’s to say?

The message from WI is that the public apparently has no problem accepting their state government as is, whittling and eliminating away at their rights and we could be looking at a complete takeover of the Tea Party crazies come November what with all the money pouring forth from the billionaires willing to stake these elections for their own benefit.

I see “dark days” ahead to be honest. With 21 states already feeling the effects of Repub governors who are trotting out an agenda that goes agains the public this tide of radicalism is close to taking over the entire nation.

WI voters could have stopped it but were unable to which just reinforces the evildoers to advance even more.

This is a blow to democracy and I would not count Romney out no matter how awful he is.

I agree with Pat. I think Walker’s win is a huge win for the Tea Party. It will embolden them to no end. It will embolden the Kochs to no end. It’s a public relations catastrophe for the Democrats. They have seriously fucked this up.

The White House is impotent. The occupant nothing more than a symbol of the failures of the Dem Party that once stood for the working man.

The echo of “fail” resounds throughout the nation when a sniveling, conniving courtier like Scott Walker, his toadies, and the billionaire class are rewarded which signals the end of the Dem Party as we knew it.

I can’t express my disgust strongly enough at what we have come to when this type of “leadership” that is intent on destroying the rights of the public is granted more time to carry it out as the leader of his party remains aloof.

Too sad to argue.

The Dem Party has now stepped before the GOP firing squad but not before they have loaded the ammunition into the weapons.

The Tea Party has managed to overcome what was once known as commonsense and has been able to take a lot of folks along with them.

I’m with Pat on this one. 30 years of the Republican noise machine has taken its toll. When you’ve got Ds and Rs alike talking austerity, our goose is pretty much cooked.

I’ve been watching this all from afar. Blue Lyon has gone pretty much dark because it all just seems so futile. So I bury myself in my family, my critters and my photography. The Democratic Party long ago lost its soul, and the Republican Party apparently has none, and the tsunami of corporate money is convincing enough of the 99% that their lot is not the fault of corporate greed but the teacher and fire fighter who live down the street, that government has no role to play in making our lives better, and that anything we get we deserve.

Beyond discouraged. Beyond disgusted.

Where’s my camera?

I hear you, blue. I’ve gone back to reading more than ever just to escape the toxic atmosphere.

Very disheartening.

This is so sad to paraphrase The Princess in Star Wars “So this is how Liberty Dies…With Thunderous Applause”

RIP to the American Experience….1776-2012

Hi Blue! Many hugs. I have been following your camera blog sporadically – I barely have time to even do this one lately, so please forgive me. Hope all is well.

Believe me, I understand all your disappointment. I am disgusted as well, but given the weak efforts of the national Party in this thing, I am not surprised.

I truly do think that if the Dems had a coherent message they would have won easily. They didn’t convince the voters that Walker needed to be thrown out before his term was up. That was the case they should have made, and they didn’t.

I also think that a Party that won’t fight to win, deserves to lose. Where does that leave us? Without a Party…but that has been true for the last several years, hasn’t it? We didn’t leave the Party – the Party left us.

I guess I am kind of shaking my head that people think this means the Tea Party is strong. It isn’t. Polls show that voters hate the Tea Party. What it means is that the Dems are done.

The Dems should have read the polls, tied Walker to the Tea Party, and explain that he is an extremist who doesn’t do what’s right for the people who elected him. They didn’t do that.

Once again the side with the easier to understand argument – and the deeper pockets to spread that argument everywhere – wins the debate. This is how the Repubs have been winning for the past 30 years. Not too hard to beat an opponent who doesn’t even fight back.

RIP Democratic Party. It took four years to die, but we predicted that Barack Obama would kill it. Sadly, we were right.

The overarching failure in WI was that outside of not agreeing with Walker’s policy/legislative assault on the public sector, no one made a salient case for his ouster.

To be clinical, referendums are tough and recalls are even tougher. I’ve been involved in several referendums — you have to make a crystal clear case why the status quo MUST be changed and outside of misconduct, illegality or some imminent exigency, there is a certain segment of the population who will not vote in favor of a referendum or a recall.

In the polling from WI, 9% of the people believed a recall was not appropriate in any circumstance. In over 2.5 million votes cast yesterday, the totals were about 50,000 short of exactly 9%.

With that said, no one can tell me that some cowering D wonk in some dark corner bar didn’t know this. It was just like my Little League coach said, “If you didn’t come to play, let’s forfeit.” My response was always, “Do we still get ice cream if we forfeit?”

The overarching failure in WI was that outside of not agreeing with Walker’s policy/legislative assault on the public sector, no one made a salient case for his ouster.

That’s exactly right – thanks for summarizing my ramblings so succinctly.

Again, the Presidential election in Wisconsin has zero to do with what happened in the recall. The Ds acted like it was a regular election and an unimportant one at that. Of course Walker wasn’t kicked to the curb.

This doesn’t mean that come time of the regularly scheduled election, Barrett won’t beat Walker handily, nor does it mean that Obama will lose Wisconsin.

Either way it does show, as Pat said, the complete suckitude of the Dem Party.

“Sicls” describes it perfectly.

The Dems are like the hapless guy whose neighbor goes ahead and cuts down the trees on his property, telling him that this will increase the value of both properties while allowing a better view for him.

The hapless guy bows his head in “appreciation” of his neighbors “thoughtfulness” plus pays the bill for the treecutters his neighbor called to do the job.

The current Democratic Party at work.

“Kick me again, I love it!”

First of all: Hey blue! Good to see ya!

I have to agree with Pat. I know I read somewhere that the Barrett had asked the DNC for $$$s and he didn’t get those, but they did a fundraiser for him. Was Jerry Lewis far behind?

I guess the folks in WI bought the bullsh*t about those government workers getting fat and sassy on their salaries and those oh-so-generous pensions. They had two refernda in Cali: one in San Diego and the other in, I think, San Jose to cut back on city govt. jobs, the pay and the pensions. They both passed. I read the comments on yahoo and people were saying things like ” give them a 401k” or “cut back on those salaries” and such. One sponsor of one of the referendums said they couldn’t afford the ‘obligations” of the pensions! Most people I knew of who went into state/county or local govt’ jobs took those jobs at at lesser salaries than in the private sectors because those jobs at decent pensions. But it seems now that the city/state officials want to renege on their “obligations” to the employees. Go figuah.

I am so disgusted by all that is going on with the elections with Karl Rove and the Koch Bros and others with their unlimited funding for their ’cause” dumping millions on these elections. Thank you Citizens United.

LOL!!!! I just opened my email and had this one from Democracy for America:

Right-wing Gov. Scott Walker and Citizens United may have won last night — but this was a step forward for progressives.

Walker outspent Democrat Tom Barrett by more than 7-to-1 — and that doesn’t take into account the tens of millions of dollars that Republican Super PACs poured into the state.

But despite the avalanche of spending, a people-powered movement kept us in the race — and DFA members were a powerful part of that movement.

Yeah, baby, they kicked your ass royally, that’s what they did.

Just got this one too:

Last night was a tough night for us in Wisconsin. After being outspent 8 to 1 by Scott Walker and the billionaire Koch brothers, we lost the gubernatorial recall.

But what the national media is not telling you is: I am the new Democratic Senate Majority Leader after winning an important Senate recall election by just hundreds of votes.

Starting today, Senate Democrats will be a strong check on Scott Walker’s power. If Walker tries to pass extreme policies that bust unions, hurt women, or attack middle-class families, we will have one word for him: No. We will demand laws that benefit the middle class and start repairing our state.


Mark Miller, incoming Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader

Well if the Dems have the WI State Senate maybe they will be able to stop some of the more egregious cr@p that Walker will try to pull.

One glimmer of light in the whole debacle, Fredster.

blue@15: Yes, we can hope it’s so.
BTW, that’s a cute pic on your gravatar.

I’m more like this:

Yes, RIP Ray Bradbury.

One thing about Wisconsin. I have a friend who is teaching at the University this year and has had a front row seat to the whole process. Early on he was saying Walker would be thrown out. But then Barrett won the runoff and became the Democratic candidate. Apparently Barrett was by far the most conservative of the Democrats and a lot of those who fought for the recall in the first place didn’t want to work with and for him. Including the Unions, who didn’t consider Barrett a very good friend. Now, did they all cut off their noses to spite their faces? Perhaps.

DYB said: Now, did they all cut off their noses to spite their faces? Perhaps.

Oh I’d say so. Definitely.

I watched part of Maddow and now Lawrence O’Donnell. They must have gotten their marching orders because they are both harping on Romney not serving in the military and getting 4 deferrments and then having a high lottery number. Big Deal. It’s almost 45 years ago (at the height of the war). No one cares now. This is not the way to be cheerleaders for O folks. Personally, it’s not a big concern to me.

@14 – Good news indeed!

I really cannot stand pundits. I suppose they are entertaining, but too often they are so full of faux rage about the stupidest things…like whether Romney is a racist. I’m sure the color he cares most about is green, and that’s what we should be worried about with all our leaders.

mb said: I’m sure the color he cares most about is green
Yes, and how much he can get his hands on, either by fair means or foul.

“…woman-hating, corporate toady Scott Walker…” God, I love that!

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