Political Animal


June 05, 2012 8:20 PM Postscript: Wisconsin

By Ryan Cooper

Despite my ragging on political coverage earlier today, there is a genuinely gripping recall election going down tonight in Wisconsin, against Tea Party favorite Scott Walker. As usual, TPM has the goods. Check out their piece on what looks like massive turnout, and check out TPM Livewire for updates. Finally, see here for all the poll results nationwide.

Here’s hoping the good guys pull off an upset.


Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • T2 on June 05, 2012 10:26 PM:

    Walker has crushed Barrett. Crushed. The polls were wrong, Walker was way ahead. Way.

  • Live Free or Die on June 05, 2012 10:31 PM:

    I do not want to hear anymore complaining from WI. They had their chance. They blew it. Twice. Until dems get their shit together, I dont want to hear shit from them. Voters get who they deserve. Dont complain about the money. Dems have billionaires too. Where were they? MIA. Walker now can do whatever he wants, claiming that he won twice in one cycle. Anh he will be 100% correct. .

  • T2 on June 05, 2012 10:41 PM:

    Live Free, you are correct.

  • Sparko on June 05, 2012 10:41 PM:

    In most ways it defies logic. In all the rest, it defines this generation of misery.

  • Live Free or Die on June 05, 2012 10:52 PM:

    Let them suffer in WI. I don't want to hear it anymore. I remember when peeps on this site were saying that Obama should not lower himself to use SuperPACs. How naive.

  • T2 on June 05, 2012 10:55 PM:

    This was a chance for people to stand up and say " enough of the Crazy".....and they said
    "gimme the Crazy". Not a good sign for the future. or maybe it is the future.

  • fostert on June 05, 2012 10:55 PM:

    Walker may curse this day. Now that the election is over, the Justice Department can hand down its indictments. He can stay in office now, but he'll end up in federal prison.

  • Patrick Star on June 05, 2012 10:58 PM:

    Unfortunately, my feeling is what we're seeing here is democracy in action. A huge chunk of the once-progressive state of Wisconsin is now batshit crazy. I think we've reached a tipping point in this country, where the collective effect of plutocrats awash in billions, buying off politicians of both parties left and right, combined with a nation full of stupid, lazy, selfish, cruel, but most of all, STUPID people, has finally reached critical mass, a coalition of fucking morons, and God help us from this point on. Oh, and in a couple of weeks, the Supreme Court will jump in and enthusiastically bury the knife in Obamacare, followed by much more cheering and gloating. It's their country now. Obama is toast, and Romney will seal the deal. All I can say is, I'm glad I don't live in Wisconsin anymore.

  • Oh my on June 05, 2012 11:22 PM:

    Woooo Boy, with Walker and his comrades winning their recalls,Wisconsin is going to get a goooood hard look at what Koch governance is really all about now.

  • TCinLA on June 05, 2012 11:40 PM:

    Patrick Star is right. This is an absolute, complete, unmitigated disaster, a defeat of historic proportions. Not only did Walker win 54-46, that bimbo airhead Kleefisch won 55-45 with all the whites coming out to help her beat the ni**er and "show who owns this country." And then there's the four senate seats no one is talking about, where two of the Democrats lost by 60-40, one by 64-36 and the other by 62-38 - those are the kinds of numbers that in politics are known as decisive.

    This is the equivalent of the Bavarian elections in December 1932 that forecast the national results in he January 1933 election in Germany.

    The fascists are winning. I never thought I would live to see this day in this country.

  • BillyBobSchranzburg on June 05, 2012 11:51 PM:

    Well, 10 comments, and out comes the Nazi/fascist talk. Not to mention talk of whites coming out to beat a black man--of course, these are the same horrible white people that voted overwhelmingly for a black man way back in 2008. Does it EVER enter your little pea brains that it might be time to reconsider your perspective on things. Not everyone who disagrees with you is evil, racist, homophobic, or a Nazi. People of good intent and sober reflection can actually have principled disagreements. When an historically liberal state like Wisconsin votes decisively to reject so-called progressive candidates and progressive ideas, it might be the ideas that are at fault...not the voters.

  • LL on June 05, 2012 11:55 PM:

    TCinLA may have a point. We are probably witnessing a full-blown, luxuriant peak of racist, fascist know-nothingism in America. We've been cursed with this from the founding, and Obama's election, coupled with unimaginable wealth in the worst possible hands mean we are living in very dangerous times. I have a feeling that way too many of us thought that racist white men would just roll over quietly. That was clearly never going to happen. They're going to fight like cornered weasels to the end.

  • Patrick Star on June 06, 2012 12:19 AM:

    Hey, BillyBob, you talk of good intent and sober reflection, and then you call ME a pea-brain? You obviously have never read the comments written by your brethren in any right-wing or semi right-wing newspaper or blog. Not exactly rocket scientists, are they? Reconsider my perspective? Are you fucking kidding me?

  • AndThenThere'sThat on June 06, 2012 1:02 AM:

    When an historically liberal state like Wisconsin votes decisively to reject so-called progressive candidates and progressive ideas, it might be the ideas that are at fault...not the voters.

    Lol. When a nation's deregulated banking bubble bursts after 9 years causing a state's economy to collapse, the "people of good intent and sober reflection" conclude it's nothing that can't be fixed by curbing those greedy unionized teachers!

    A progressive might say we need to inject the economy with needed stimulus, get back to Glass-Steagall regulation, and then when the economy is on solid ground pay down the debt with a balance of higher taxes and trimming bloated programs like the Dept.of Defense.
    Conservatives think if we outlaw sharia law, queers, and unions while plastering "in God we trust" on the next round of deregulation everything will go back to being peachy again.

    People of good intent and sober reflection??? I think "coalition of fucking morons" explains it better.

  • DJ on June 06, 2012 1:15 AM:

    it might be the ideas that are at fault...not the voters.

    I rather doubt that, as the electorate was apparently too stupid to realize that "John Doe" and Scott Walker are one and the same. It now falls to the Milwaukee County DA and the US Attorney to do what the electorate has failed to do.

  • Viking on June 06, 2012 1:53 AM:

    "...the electorate was apparently too stupid to realize..." - It is all the voter's fault. The people don't know what is good for them. They must have direction and be told. Hmmm. Can you see how unappealing your position is? Vote for us or you're stupid. Can you see beyond that to how incredibly twisted that thinking is in a free country?

    You lost.

    Your ideas did not resonate with the people. The people are just that...people. If they didn't get your point...educate them. If they still don't get it, be passionate and make your case. If they still don't get it, you don't deserve to lead.

    Or, I'm stupid too. I'm one of those morons that you ridicule for making up my own mind. I could be one of the ones that needs your leadership cause I just don't know what is good for me. You need to make that choice for me.

    And with your attitude and the party leaders who handled this mess, how is it again you plan to win elections? How is it again you plan to get my vote? Or do you plan to do away with that, too?

    Leadership...it's hard work.

  • moronie on June 06, 2012 4:49 AM:

    Three Senate gains in less than a year for Wisconsin dems: not bad, not bad at all.

  • David on June 06, 2012 6:30 AM:

    I had a foreboding about this, so I had already checked the dairy codes to make sure I didn't have any fascist milk or cream, and will switch to French socialist cheese. I know it's just an exercise in feel-good, as is my 23 year boycott of Exxon, but feel-good feels good.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 7:16 AM:

    I'm completely bummed out, also, except for the fact that I never expected the recall to succeed in the first place. It was a shock that Wisconsin elected a Republican governor (and such a horrible, divisive one, at that). But then the 2011 election in Wisconsin failed to give Democrats the majority in the state legislature, and failed to elect JoAnne Koppenburg over Prosser for Supreme Court. Clearly, there was not a huge majority of Wisconsin voters who saw the Scott Walker election as a big mistake that they were eager to correct.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 7:24 AM:

    Is it my imagination, or is it really true that when the exit polls are mistaken, the error is always on the side of Democrats?

    I think maybe it's the asshole factor. If people perceive that assholes are more likely to vote one way, then they will tell pollsters that they voted a different way.

  • John on June 06, 2012 7:42 AM:

    I feel so sad for the people of WI who will now have to live through this. Welcome to the new Mississippi.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 7:58 AM:

    Viking's comments are something for liberals to think about.

    An interesting difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to elections is that liberals tend to blame the voters when elections don't turn out the way they want. They were stupid, or bigoted, or assholes.

    Conservatives don't talk that way. When an election doesn't go their way, they pretty much just shrug it off as a fluke, a temporary setback at most. Conservatives never ask what "message" is being sent by the voters when they lose (they interpret any defeat as sending the message that the candidates were not conservative enough).

    I think that the difference between the attitudes of liberals and conservatives might be due to liberals being more "reality-based", but it does come across as contemptuous and arrogant to blame the voters.

  • castanea on June 06, 2012 8:10 AM:

    The fact that Obama stayed away from Wisconsin is now a good thing. His presence in the failed recall election would have given pundits on both the right and the left yet another excuse to bash him. The recall election would have been interpreted as a referendum on him, rather than a referendum on Walker.

    Even now, though, I'm sure we will read left-leaning pundits lamenting that Obama betrayed his base, or some such nonsense, because if he'd used his bully pulpit, he would have been able to ensure a Walker defeat.

    No way. Voters in Wisconsin has made themselves heard. They'll get the government they deserve.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 8:30 AM:

    Another point about the Wisconsin elections: While there are reliably "Red" states, such as Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, etc., that always vote conservative, liberals really can't take any "Blue" state for granted. California elected Arnold. Massachusetts elected Romney. New York elected Pataki. Wisconsin elected Walker. Every blue state is a battleground state.

  • bluestatedon on June 06, 2012 9:06 AM:

    There are plenty of reasons that the recall failed, but two in particular stand out to me.

    1. A WaPo survey revealed that over 40% of Democrats believe that recalls are appropriate only when there is official "misconduct", or that recalls are never appropriate regardless of the reason. I realize that the term "misconduct" is open to interpretation, but my takeaway is that a surprisingly large percentage of Dems in Wisconsin were probably ambivalent about voting for recall. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/early-exits-are-recall-elections-appropriate/2012/06/05/gJQAk3qzGV_blog.html

    2. Far more critically, exit polls indicate that fully one-third of Wisconsin union members voted for Walker. That is an absolutely mind-boggling number given the open, virulent hostility to unions expressed by Walker, and more importantly, his major financial backers. When the major organized opposition to a politician can only persuade 2/3 of its own general membership to vote for its preferred candidate, that's indicative of deep and serious divisions within its own ranks. Other articles (can't find the links) have examined the apparent antagonism expressed by non-public sector union members towards their brethren in public unions, and I'd guess that's at work in Wisconsin.

    Divide and conquer is always a smart political strategy, and Republicans are past masters at it.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 9:19 AM:

    On the bright side for Democrats, apparently each $1 spent campaigning resulted in 8 times as many votes as the same $1 spent by Republicans.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on June 06, 2012 9:44 AM:

    I think that the difference between the attitudes of liberals and conservatives might be due to liberals being more "reality-based", but it does come across as contemptuous and arrogant to blame the voters.

    Right. Because pretzel redistricting, voter i.d. laws,and fraudulent ACORN pimp videos just scream respect and deference to the voting process. Viking is just chest thumping the Walker victory here, so make no mistake in believing Republicans don't hate voters who vote "the wrong way". Just look at the recent posting here @ WM on Jonah Goldberg lamenting the voting rights of 18-to-21-year-olds.

  • Viking on June 06, 2012 10:21 AM:

    AndThen... You can chose to believe that. That's fine. Let's say it's all just a gloat for me. How does that change the fact that you lost? OR, more importantly for your team, how can you retool and learn how to win?

    Again, you lost.

    Your tactics did not work. You message did not resonate. And while you will dismiss the voter who chose against you (or perhaps even chose to support Walker) your insistence that all those listening to you should agree with you is not a winner. Think of it...you make your point, and demand that all others fall in line. It does not work. Never has. And yet, you sit in that anger and expect a different outcome. So you head off and do the same campaign again, only louder. No, it doesn't work, and it didn't.

    For what it is worth, while I am happy at the outcome, I'm also taking this in stride. I've been on the losing side before, many times. But overall we are a great people and we always prevail, provided we engage. I believe there is a path chosen for our nation, and our people. We have our job to do our best and fight for what we believe, but in the end, the outcome is driven by the one who gave us our rights in the first place. So, no, no chest thumping. It's not my victory. I simply like the outcome. But either way, we are in better hands in the long run.

    I understand the sting of the lose you feel. I do. But if you want to gather steam and win again, you must, MUST, drop the attitude that you are high on the moral horse and the others who ignore you are stupid.

  • castanea on June 06, 2012 10:42 AM:


    Your second point illustrates why the middle class is going into the tank. One of the biggest reasons that Republicans continue to have electoral success is that a critical mass of voters are content to vote against their own economic self interest and in favor of the sort of "bust the unions, crimp the teachers, and the state will be saved" fairy tale of the rightwing.

    And no matter how often and with how much emphasis Democrats can make that point, as long as segments of our society are bent on self destruction, the Walkers of our nation will continue to be elected.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 10:53 AM:


    I'm not saying that conservative politicians ACTUALLY respect voters. I'm saying that they don't publicly blame the voters when things don't go their way. They blame ACORN, or voter fraud, or the liberal media, or George Soros, or whatever. But they never publicly say that the election showed that the voters were stupid. They never even acknowledge that the election showed that the voters didn't like their message. They always interpret the message as: We need to be more forcefully conservative.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 10:56 AM:

    "...I've been on the losing side before, many times."

    I think you still are. While it's not possible for everyone to win, it is possible for everyone to lose, which is what we're seeing in Europe and soon enough in the US.

  • Viking on June 06, 2012 11:18 AM:

    I take your point, Daryl. But come on, you know the point I'm making.

    In a larger sense though, I do believe we are all on the winning side, for the fact that destiny determines these outcomes. No matter the outcome, we prevail. But...I digress.

    I have to head to work. But the key point I'd like to say is...have a great day! Be cheerful. Even in this one defeat, or victory, we are in a far better place than so many. And a greater place than what could be. Even in a loss, we are in america, truly the greatest nation on earth.

    And for that, we should spread that cheer. Stay strong, and be well.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 06, 2012 12:32 PM:


    I think that conservatives and liberals are optimistic and pessimistic about different things. Conservatives are optimistic that things will work themselves out without the need for any coordinated effort. Liberals are pessimistic about that--they believe that a lot of problems, such as discrimination, poverty, pollution, global warming, economic insecurity, high unemployment, declining standards of living for median workers, will not go away on their own.

    On the other hand, liberals are optimistic about the ability to solve our problems if we work together. Conservatives tend to be pessimistic about that, they so deeply distrust "collectivism" that they reflexively dismiss out of hand any cooperative approach to accomplishing our national goals.