Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Do you Recall? A few thoughts on Wisconsin

First, there's this.  And it is good.



Then these, which are just hilarious:


And of course this.  Which is just... I mean... whoa.


Fate-tempting schadenfreude aside, a couple of related thoughts occur to me this morning: 

First, much has been made of the fact that the President 'mailed it in' (or Tweeted it in, more precisely) in Wisconsin, never showing the kind of support or leadership in a critical race that the Democratic base had every right to expect from him.

Second, much is being made this morning about the fact that pro-Walker forces significantly out-spent team recall.  

Less is being said about just why those two things occurred.  Why did the President and so much of the exceedingly well-funded national labor movement decide months ago basically to sit on the sidelines of a race that all agreed last year would be the defining political contest in the run-up to November's main event (see, e.g., Ms. Maddow's typical understated pronouncements in the excellent vid clip above)?  

Sure polls for a while now have pretty consistently shown Governor Walker leading his foes, but not by anywhere near the kind of margins that would put the race out of reach. Polls last week showed a dead heat... yet there was no 11th hour spending binge from the left, and President Obama did nothing more than task some White House intern with sending out an election eve Tweet.

I've been known to indulge from time-to-time in irrational optimism, but one possible explanation could be that the left's polling told them early on that the price of victory in Wisconsin would be too high - that the argument they would have to make and win is not one that would resonate with the vast middle in the rest of the country.

The fact is, Governor Walker's 'controversial' reforms worked.  And they worked in rather spectacular fashion.  To win the argument they teed up, the public sector union forces would have to convince the public that the reduced spending, deficits, and property taxes that Governor Walker has already achieved are not worth a modest increase in the amount that public employees pay for their still-generous benefits.  They'd have to argue that the double-digit fall-off in Wisconsin public sector union membership since Walker ended compulsory union sign-ups is something other than a workers' verdict against their union bosses.  Talk about a losing argument.

Rather than try to make that argument, thereby highlighting Walker's successes and further alienating the Independents who are already fleeing President Obama in droves, the White House and the national left took a pass. 

By insisting on a recall and losing, the left took a Governor with a mission and handed him a true mandate.  And that, for them, apparently was the lesser evil.

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