Political Animal


May 26, 2012 9:18 AM The Wisconsin Recall and the Presidential Race

By Adele Stan

You may have thought it would never end, but a week from next Tuesday, the recall campaign against the Koch-bought Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, will end when Wisconsinites head to the polls for a vote that could end Walker’s tenure before his term is up. The revolt against Walker began with the the February uprising against a so-called “budget repair” bill that the governor pushed through the state legislature using strong-arm tactics, a law that largely revoked the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

For months, Democratic leaders at the national level have hemmed and hawed about the wisdom of getting involved, in a presidential election year, in a recall effort that could fail. The state is quite evenly divided between the Tea Party-style Republicans who now control the legislature, and the Democrats who oppose them, and it’s in play in the contest between President Barack Obama and his GOP opponent, Mitt Romney.

Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week noted the president’s absence in the recall fight, and, only last week, Wisconsin Democrats were begging the Democratic National Committee for help, to no avail. But now, writes Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post, the Democrats’ internal polling is showing that Walker’s Democratic challenger, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, could actually win this thing:

The Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race is now a dead heat as voters have learned more about the corruption probe surrounding Gov. Scott Walker (R), according to a new internal poll for the campaign of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D).
In a survey of 935 likely recall voters, conducted by the Garin Hart Yang Research Group from May 22 to 24, Walker led Barrett by 49.89 to 48.62 percent. With the poll’s margin of error at plus or minus 3.3 percent, that means the race is essentially tied.

Perhaps those numbers have something to do with why, at long last, this week the DNC sent out a nationally distributed fundraising letter on Walker’s Barrett’s behalf.

Although last night’s gubernatorial debate between Walker and Barrett featured some sharp exchanges, it’s worth noting, as the Washington Post’s Dan Balz did, that Walker did concede that the tactics he used in ramming through his anti-labor law may not have been, well, the smartest:

Though Walker offered no apologies for the reforms he pushed through, which led to huge protests on the state Capitol grounds and a walkout among Democratic legislators, the governor acknowledged anew that he regretted the way he had gone about making the changes.
“Looking back, without a doubt I’d change how we did things,” he said. He added that Wisconsin voters “like the results but they just wish we’d done it differently.”

And, in case you missed it, Walker isn’t the only Wisconsin Republican facing a recall vote on June 5; Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is also facing recall, but her chances of prevailing against challenger Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, look better than Walker’s prospects, meaning that Wisconsin could wind up with a governor and lieutenant governor of differing parties, which is not customary in the Dairy State.

But, more importantly, Democrats have a chance to win back control of the state Senate, which, if Walker should survive the election, would serve as a substantial check on his power.

Robin Bravender has tells that story at Politico.


  • stormskies on May 26, 2012 10:03 AM:

    What is truly stunning about this is that Walker, despite all that has been exposed about him, despite all that he has done, still has roughly an 'approval' rating of about 50% in Wisconsin. Think about that.

    A true testimony to the underlying willful stupidity of a large amount of our fellow citizens.

  • Hedda Peraz on May 26, 2012 10:21 AM:

    "the DNC sent out a nationally distributed fundraising letter on Walker’s behalf."
    Maybe this is why Democrats lose elections. . .

  • Adele Stan on May 26, 2012 10:29 AM:

    Yikes! Thanks, Hedda, for the catch. Need more coffee.

  • berttheclock on May 26, 2012 10:32 AM:

    Yes, good catch, Hedda, but, I don't really believe Debby Wasserman-Schultz is aware of it. Only one word adequately describes her work and that word is Pathetic.

  • hells littlest angel on May 26, 2012 11:00 AM:

    I'd like to see Obama get involved in this election, but I don't see any need for him to have been involved for all the months this has been going on. I hope he'll do some campaign appearances in Milwaukee and Madison next weekend, which would be the appropriate and perfect time to lend some assistance to Barrett.
    While this is an election with national consequences, big national consequences, it is also a local election. I'm glad the DNC has lent a hand, and I have made a small contribution to the recall effort, but Wisconsinites just can't expect someone else to unshit the bed for them (I've got my own fuck-head Republican governor (Corbett) to fight with).

  • c u n d gulag on May 26, 2012 11:05 AM:

    The DNC is one of the main reasons we have too many Whoreporatist Democrats.

    I, for one, wouldn't mourn if they went the way of the dodo bird, and became extinct.

    They've done nothing over the years except to turn the Democrats into the 1970's & 1980's Republicans, and are now Republicans Lite - slightly more empathetic/a little less Fascistic.

    And every time the Overton Window moved to the right, instead of trying to move it back left, the DNC encouraged Democrats to jump out of the feckin' window.

    Democrats once stood for Main Street.
    You Democrats had Main Street's back, and they had yours - until R's used the Southern Strategy, and other wedge issues.
    And instead of fighting back, you "triangulated," which is a fancy word for 'ditherer,' and tried to play both sides against the middle.

    Now, it's Wall Street.
    And if you think Wall Street's got your back, you're right - it's easier to stick the shiv in your backs that way.
    Want an example?
    See: Obama, Barack Hussein.

    I used to like Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
    Now, I think she'd be better served getting her butt out of TV green rooms, and start to walk around and talk to some OWS people.

    The solution to racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic, wedge issues isn't to ignore them.

    It's to confront them, and point out that they're nowhere NEAR as important as issues of class, and class warfare.
    The right has been getting away with using Blacks, Women, Hispanics, and Gays, as ammunition. The way to stop it is to point out, and keep pointing out, over and over again, the INCOME DISPARITY that's the real cause of this nation's woe's, and the internecine problems.

    But, as long as Democrats are dependent on Wall Street, they can't, and won't, do that.

    Maybe it's too late to come home to Main Street.
    But you'll never know unless you try.
    And I hear some more and more populist framings coming from President Obama. He needs to keep that up for the next 5+ months.

  • Diane Rodriguez on May 26, 2012 11:06 AM:

    Barrett was on MSNBC a few nights ago discussing the assistance that Wisconsin had been receiving from the DNC. He talked about ground help as well as a bit of monetary help. Barrett emphasized that Walker's #'s hadn't moved since the beginning, regardless of his 25 to 1 spending. Barrett's have. I think there is a lot of merit in looking at the get-out-the-vote effort, i.e ground game, instead of the money game, where the DNC and Barrett can't compete. Looking at the cup 1/2 full as this is a linchpin election.

  • DAY on May 26, 2012 11:06 AM:

    Well, said hell's- and fellow Penns Woods resident!
    It was Wisconsin voters that put him in, and they bear the responsibility for taking him out.

  • c u n d gulag on May 26, 2012 11:08 AM:

    Oh yeah, if we don't win, then Walker becomes the new rightie uber-hero.

    Victim AND victor!

    If Mitt fails in 2012, Walker will be one of the fave's for the R nomination in 2016. And if Mitt wins, he'll be a fave for 2020.
    He pissed-off the lefties, AND WON!
    And that's all anyone on the right cares about.

    And yes, Adele, I am a wordy SOB!

  • stormskies on May 26, 2012 11:34 AM:

    The willful stupidity of a vast majority of our fellow citizens in the actual underlying issue that threatens to destroy our country once and for good. And that underlying willful stupidity is mainly within the while males of our country. Check out this poll about white men and you will of course understand just exactly what the problem is.

    In an election year in which the economy ranks as Americans’ top concern, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds significant advantages over President Obama among white voters who are struggling financially and buffeted by job loss, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Asked which candidate would do more to advance their families’ economic interests, middle-class white voters who say they are struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Romney over Obama by a large margin — 58 percent to 32 percent.

    Yes, this pathetic white men think the solution is Romney and going back, and worse, the policies of Bush: the very one's that not only lead to their economic problems, but almost destroyed our country, and the worlds, economy.

    Then we wonder how someone like Walker, despite all that he had done, all that has been exposed, can generate an approval rating of around 50%.

  • hells littlest angel on May 26, 2012 11:49 AM:

    @stormskies: yeah, a whole lot of white men are just dumbfucks. They want a president who looks like them, even if he'll fuck them over to put a dollar in his pocket.

  • Kathryn on May 26, 2012 1:13 PM:

    I keep asking this but I'll ask again, at some point would it be a good idea to start linking Romney's policies by name to Bush's, Bush instead of Bain.....at some point? Guess the question is do white males hate the black president more than they fear Bush economics and a war in Iran? Personally, I do think goading Romney to show his neo con leanings and advisers chomping at the bit to repeat Bush/Cheney 1 shout/might wake up a few people. Also, Romney recently gave a shout out to Darth Vader Cheney himself amazingly.

    Does anybody know what the consensus was yesterday regarding who performed better in Barrett/Walker debate? From what I read, it seemed like Barrett more than held his own and Walker is such a sniveling little dweeb, but I'm biased against him so can't judge in an unbiased fashion. It is sickening that even after tape was released with Walker blabbing with rich broad about his plans to divide and conquer, the scandal in his political operation that he has a good chance of winning. Saw this morning that another tape has surfaced with one of the Fitzgerald's with some shows Walker to be ultimately working towards a Right To Work state from day one. Why anybody would trust him at all is beyond me.

  • TCinLA on May 26, 2012 1:33 PM:

    All that blonde bleach Wasserman Shultz uses must have finally seeped through her skull and affected her brain, it's the only explanation I can come up for that moron statement she made that the outcome of the Wisconsin election won't have any "national repercussions." Talk about whistling past the graveyard! Of all the morons who have ever headed up the DNC, she takes the prize.

    And stormskies has nailed it about the intelligence of the average White American Male. Just try pointing out the facts to them, and you will find out what the meaning of "rock head" is.

  • POed Lib on May 26, 2012 1:39 PM:

    We have GOT to take this piece of offal Walker OUT! But Obama needs to stay away. This should be done by Wisconsinites and those who love the state. Obama cannot help.

  • spiny on May 26, 2012 4:08 PM:

    Well, to be honest the Democratic party hasn't exactly been a bastion of economic populism either. In their zest to become the other party of business, D's have turned their backs on working people time and time again. So in the absence of a positive message to the working class from the Democrats, the lies the Republicans tell gain traction.

  • smartalek on May 26, 2012 6:05 PM:

    It's even worse than that, spiny.
    Not only have far too many Congressional Dem's been literal sell-outs, our Presidents have, for all their egalitarian happy-talk, been only too willing to join the Pubbies in shafting Jane and Jo Sixpak.
    Let's not forget that it was our very own Bill Clinton who signed both NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
    And I've griped repeatedly about Pres. Obama's furtherance of one of the single most pernicious and damaging of the manifold Publican/corporate lies: that gov't, "like families," must "tighten our belts in hard times."
    "What's the matter with Kansas" is that there's almost nobody in either party that has even provided a coherent, factual narrative, let alone truly, reliably, and consistently stood up for them.
    Calling our fellow Americans "stupid" for not knowing that they're being lied to when there's nobody at all telling them any truths is not only profoundly unhelpful, it's unrealistic and unfair, too.
    Since when do good liberals engage in blaming the victim?

  • rikyrah on May 26, 2012 6:44 PM:


    they have had Walker for 2 years…

    if the folks in Wisconsin don’t know that their asses need to vote on June 5th

    then fuck them.

    they were the same mofos who sat on their asses in 2010.

    why the fuck do folks have to beg these people to come out and vote.

    they haven’t seen enough?

    I think DWS was wrong, but goddamn.

    what the fuck has to happen in Wisconsin for people to know that they need to get off their asses and vote June 5th?

  • sue azia on May 26, 2012 7:53 PM:

    With all the outside millions being spent on behalf of walker, it is amazing that barrett is doing so well. It is a shame that president obama and the democrats in congress have not come out to WI to help him and the senators in wi.
    we need to stick up for the middle class whether for public or private workers and not just for the rich. We need to counteract the bad supreme court decision in united citizens so we have back our democracy.

  • exlibra on May 26, 2012 8:49 PM:

    [...] this week the DNC sent out a nationally distributed fundraising letter on Barrett’s behalf.

    Did they, now? None has reached my household. Not all that surprising when it comes to me -- I've stopped giving them (and all the other Dem organizations and give only to individual candidates) several years ago and they've almost given up on me by now. But now that my husband's gone, I open his mail and he got none, either, despite having been a right sucker for them in the past. And if it doesn't come here till mid week, it doesn't leave much time for people to respond, does it? Which, I suppose, would suit DNC just fine; they could keep the money and spend it elsewhere, like propping up another hopelessly yellow-bellied Blue Dog, maybe.

    I took myself off to Google last week, found Barrett's website, and donated directly. DNC can jump on the bony ridge of my Polack arse.

  • michael Bernard on May 27, 2012 4:18 AM:

    I too have not received any request for aid to Wisconsin Democrats in any of my 10 emails from Debbie Wasserman Schultz/democraticParty.org.

    I have received many such requests from 1) Adam Green Boldprogressives.org 2) Chris Bowers Daily Kos 3) Senator Jeff Merkley (from Oregon) for OpportunityandRenewal.com ( a progressive PAC) and 4) ActBlue

    Many requests for money to support discrimination against women but none for Wisconsin. Doesn't make sense to me, but I gave to Merkely and BoldProgressives.

  • renrph on May 27, 2012 10:56 PM:

    The way the national Dems have thrown Barrett under the bus is shameful. One more reason I will never give another nickel to a national committee, only to individual candidates. Scottie has so much filthy lucre he can run 50 TV ads for every one that runs for Barrett. No way you can possibly counter all of the lies and omissions at that rate. Still he can't move his polling out of the margin of error. His strategy: blame the effects of GWB's economic crash in Milwaukee on Barrett; never mention that Walker himself was the Milwaukee County executive while unemployment and poverty were rising after the disaster. Are we that dumb? Yes, we are.

  • Robyn Tonkin on June 03, 2012 12:24 PM:

    Years ago, in far northern Wisconsin, some cops had a stuffed deer that they used to set by the side of the road during deer season to catch guys who would shoot a deer on the side of the road. The deer's name was Timex, because he could take a licking and keep on ticking (you probably have to be a Boomer or older to get that joke). Well you could get Timex out of whatever closet he is in and set him up in the governor's office in Madison and the tea partiers would claim him as their lawful governor if he had won on the Republican ticket. Some folks think his brother holds the office right now. I always get frustrated by articles that let the Republicans frame the solution to our problems in Wisconsin as union busting to lower State costs, ignoring the gutting of health care for the poor, the cutting of funds to the struggling counties north of Route 8, the slashing of school funding, the closing of needed state offices--heck, Walker even wanted to end recycling in a state that depends on its scenic beauty to attract tourists.

    The person who talked about get-out-the-vote efforts as crucial for Democrats was right on the money. I poured everything I had to give into helping State Senator Jim Holperin get re-affirmed in the recall last summer, and I know my husband and I made a difference going door to door, writing letters, making phonecalls and we even funded our own short radio ad. We walked down a lot of long country driveways and on a lot of small town sidewalks to talk to people about my candidate, and let me assure you, people took notice.