In case you haven’t been glued to the state of Wisconsin politics for the last 9 months, Frank’s Place has been and is here to fill you in. In the “He Who Smelt it Delt It” recall election of 2012, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held off his challengers and won the recall election.
This all started when Governor Scott Walker restructured the bargaining contract with government unions in Wisconsin. That caused a little 1960’s reenactment of the sit-in; a form of civil disobedience. Angry Wisconsinites?, Wisconsiners?, whoever, staged a little protest in the state capitol and several democratic state senators fled to Minnesota to keep the state legislature from voting on the government union reforms proposed by Gov Walker. Cause you know, Minnesota is where everyone flees to when they can’t stand the heat of Wisconsin or they fail to uphold their oath of office. Looking at you Farve. In case you were wondering, Walker is a tea party republican and the state legislature is, save those cowardly democrats who ran, is mostly conservative.
Once order was restored and those spineless democratic state senators returned to fulfill their oath and do their job, the reforms were passed. That sparked a small grassroots movement to have the governor recalled. Now a recall is normally used when misdeeds or corruption or provable crimes are committed by an elected official or an administration. I can’t think of a time in our history where it was used because one political ideology just didn’t like the ideology of the opposition. Not sure I’m fond of the precedent they set, but what do I know. Gray Davis, former governor of California, was the last to be recalled. He truly drove California into a ditch from which they have yet to recover. Ineptness and lack of control over his administration led to Davis’ recall. Plus they are still arresting some low level members of his administration. That allowed Arnold the Governator to win the California Governor’s seat.
The grass roots movement in Wisconsin started gaining some momentum and managed to get enough signatures to trigger a recall. That recall election occurred tonight. It pitted Walker, the current governor, against Democrat Tom Barrett, the guy who lost to Walker in 2010. Walker was twice as nice. He smoked Barrett again. Rebecca Kleefisch, the Lt. Governor, also a republican retained her seat as well. Besides the Governor and Lt Governor, 4 state republican senators were also recalled. It appears it will be a six pack for the GOP as they should win all six recall elections.
So, you know, well done Wisconsin democrats, well done. It may be helpful next time if you’re going to bitch and moan about something, you remember to man up at the moment of truth. As President Bartlett said on Twitter tonight, “way to take a slam dunk and turn it into an air-ball.” Yes, the president from the show West Wing is on twitter, as is most of the cast.
I’m not a fan of Scott Walker. He’s a conniving used car salesman. However, Wisconsinites seem to like his union reform. A key indication of that – once union dues became voluntary, unions across the state were reporting heavy losses to membership. Some unions shut down completely. Now we’re talking state government unions, not private unions. Big difference. The governor has no control over private unions. At least not yet. This victory tonight might signal other republican governors that state unions are now fair game and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot. Could private unions be far behind if this becomes a trend? It would be interesting to know how many of those who dropped out of the union when they we able, actually voted for Walker.
From the “egg on their face” department I give you the network and cable news outlets. They were using exit polling data that suggested this race would be close. As the polls closed they all claimed the race was too close to call based on the exit polling showing each candidate with 50% of the vote. Actual results started coming in and what do you know, a funny thing happened on the way to the teleprompter. The results were no where near what the exit polling claimed. Walker and his LT Governor crushed their respective opponents. Which brings us to the “what does this all mean” department.
Tonight’s election means a few things to me. First, the death of the tea party has been greatly exaggerated. They quietly kicked some serious hind parts in Wisconsin tonight. I don’t agree with anything they have to say but you have to respect the effort and the outcome.
Second, Obama is smarter than I thought. He’s going to get blamed by Wisconsin Dems for not coming to the cheesehead state once during this whole process. Guess who was smarter. Had the President campaigned actively for Barrett, who wasn’t even the union’s first choice to run against Walker, and the guy still lost by this much, it would have been a disaster. This stink-bomb would have soiled the President for months, causing him headaches possibly up to the convention in September. Now this story is a non-issue in a month maybe two. It will not cause ripples in November. The President’s campaigning for Tom Barrett would have not mattered one bit, so large was the margin of victory.
Third, exit polling (asking people how they voted after they come out and then projecting a percentage based on their answers) will come under some serious scrutiny during the Presidential Election in November. It’s likely you’ll see the networks shy away from using exit polling too much.
Lastly, anyone saying this will mean anything in November is crazy. It’s the first week of June, can you imagine the crisis; political, financial, natural, and man-made, that will occur between now and the first week of November?
My mantra during the GOP primary was delegate count, not voter count, wins primaries. My mantra for the Presidential Election is this. Anything that happens before the National Conventions for both parties later this summer will be meaningless to the actual election. Now if either the President or the Governor were to be arrested, caught with a hooker, died, etc… then all bets are off. But for the most part, this election tonight will not cause neither Romney nor Obama to gain or lose votes.
By the way, those same exit polls that had the recall election at 50-50, had the President whacking Romney by some 15% points if the Presidential election were held today . Guess what the Romney camp will be saying about the accuracy of those number tomorrow. And they’ll be right.
God, I love this game.