Derision 2012! No Recall in Wisconsin and I ain’t talkin bout cheese

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.

7 comments on “Derision 2012! No Recall in Wisconsin and I ain’t talkin bout cheese

  1. Laurie says:

    WooHoo! Call me crazy, but I think this may in fact mean something in November. One, it may signal that people are tired of the state of the union and are finally willing to accept that, regardless of what some politicians say, the time for the tough desicions is upon us. Second, when other states take notice of what WI did today, they may well have a similar message for our President and many others in Washington.

    • fmlinardo says:

      OK, you’re crazy. Here’s the problem with that rational: what tough decisions do you mean? Stopping the Bush tax cuts will save billions, yet no republican would get on board with that.

      Restructuring government pensions as Walker did, will save hundreds of thousands. State wide that means something, nation wide that doesn’t cover office supplies.

      Romney wins in November, I think. It will have zero to do with what happened in Wisconsin tonight. Walker restructured the state government unions, but his policies have put Wisconsin at 50th in the country for private job creation. By August this election will shift back to the actual issue, jobs and the economy. Romney wins on those two fronts.

    • fmlinardo says:

      The other thing is, the ripples I was talking about is Obama losing votes in November because he didn’t help Tom Barrett tonight. I can’t believe democrats will vote Romney just because they are mad Obama didn’t do anything in Wisconsin. Same goes the other way. Republicans won’t vote Obama just because they think Romney’s not conservative enough.

      That was really the thrust of my no ripples in November comment. But I like the other discussion you started better.

  2. Laurie says:

    I agree with your President Obama-Tom Barrett point. I think people will forget about that. I’m talking about tough decisions like reforming entitlements, realizing that the government does not need to be running health care for the country (although the Supreme Court will probably take care of this in the short term), energy policy, cleaning up the incredible waste government-wide, dealing with the unions, and so many other things. Career politicians and others are going to need to go for this to happen. These things wil help with jobs and the economy.

    • fmlinardo says:

      That’s a lot to ask. No politician, new or career could get most of that started. The tea party swept in to office in 2010 and their record is not good. For all the bluster, except for 2 or 3, most voted down establishment party lines. has a good story on the performance of the freshmen congressmen that claim tea party allegiance. It focuses strictly on their fiscal voting record.

      And of course there is always the problem of the new guys seeking second terms which in effect makes them career politicians. If you think nothing gets done in DC now, I can’t imagine the grid lock when tea party primary challenges the people they just put in office.

      Changing the President isn’t going to get much on your wish list. Union reform will be a state by state issue. And I’m not sure taking away the right to unionize is in keeping with a free society.

      Romney is a free market guy, I would be surprised if goes down the road to austerity along the model of Gov Walker or Congressman Ryan’s plan.

      • Laurie says:

        It is a far cry from where we are now – but chipping away at it would be better than continuing to blaze in the other direction. I agree that states will have to do their part. I’m not expecting the unions to go away, but I do think it’s time to rein them in.

        • fmlinardo says:

          True, true. I just think people ascribe too much power to the President and set themselves up for disappointment. He really can’t affect the economy as much as he gets blamed for or takes credit for. The congress is where the domestic juice is, so lets hope you’re right on your first point.

          Yes, I’m with you on government unions. I would even say it might be time to get rid of government unions all together; just not to the detriment of private unions. And those are vastly different entities.

          Again, did a good article on the difference and the importance of private unions. If you haven’t looked at that site, it’s an ultra conservative blog done by Erick Erickson from CNN. Pretty good stuff.

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