Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Badger State Beatdown- Scott Walker Becomes First US Governor to Survive Recall; Obama's Bad Week Continues

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker surivived Tuesday night's union-backed recall effort by a considerable margin. The results marked the first time that a sitting governor had survived a recall- a campaign that was about 18 months in the making and gained national attention for possible nationwide implications. Walker had earned the ire of organized labor and the left for legislation introduced curtailing the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions like the SEIU and AFSCME in 2011- prompting Democrat state senators to flee the state to prevent a quorum on such legislation.

Interestingly, the network who's 'personalities' were the most emotionally invested in seeing Walker unseated were the first ones who called the race for Walker. Less than an hour after the polls closed in the Badger State, MSNBC called the race for Scott Walker.

In the week prior to the election, the consensus among the media and punditocracy was that it would be an extremely close contest with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett reportedly closing a significant gap with Walker. However, when the polls closed on Tuesday night, the results of the recall wasn't anywhere near as close as anticipated.

Not only did Walker handily surivie the recall effort, but Republican Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch retained her office by a similar margin against challenger Mahlon Mitchell. Kleefisch is the first ever Lt Governor in the USA to face recall.

Yay Wisconsin!
Three of the four state senators (all Republicans) also successfully held off challengers from the Democrat party in their respective state Senate districts. GOP State Senator Van Wanggaard [Senate District 21, which covers most of Racine county aloing the Illinois state line- NANESB!] was unseated by Democrat challenger John Lehman, giving the Democrats the majority in the Wisconsin State Senate. However, that majority would only be theoretical and may be short-lived- the Wisconsin State Senate has already adjourned for the year and the seat is up for re-election in November of this year- before the Senate re-adjourns. It's possible Lehman could serve out his entire term without the Senate ever being called into session.

Not surprisingly, some organizations did their best to spin the outcome in their favor, despite overlooking the agonizingly obvious in the process.

Many of the same pundits, media figures and politicians who were emotionally invested in seeing Walker voted out of office before completing his first term could only point to the exit polls showing President Obama leading over presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney as a bright spot. However, these same exit polls showed that the race between Walker and Barrett was a dead heat- so their reliability is suspect at best.

Perhaps one of the most intruiging breakdowns of the recall is that Walker recived more than ⅓ of the vote from union households. Even before the polls closed, prominent Democrats such as former President Bill Clinton and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney began circulating the talking point that the only reason Walker could win was because of out-of-state support from the Tea Party and wealthy donors such as the Koch Brothers [rather conventiently ignoring the $20 million unions and Democrats spent on the recall, the margin which candidate Obama outspent candidate McCain in 2008 or President Obama's lavish Hollywood fundraisers this year- NANESB!].

I pointed out that Obama was conspicuously absent from Wisconsin just days before the recall voting despite fundraising in neighboring Illinois and Minnesota- one of the first bad omens for the Barrett campaign. Despite recent GOP gains in the Badger State, Obama was still considered a favorite to win Wisconsin in the November 2012 presidential campaign until Tuesday night. However, if the Obama camp decided to stay away from the Wisconsin recall as a pre-emptive means of damage control, it didn't do them any good.
Walker’s win prompted Democratic and Republican strategists to reassess Wisconsin’s political landscape and the role the state will play in the presidential race. Until earlier this week, target states listed by President Barack Obama’s campaign didn’t include the state, which has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, albeit narrowly at times.

In a campaign video released June 4 -- the day before the recall -- Obama campaign manager Jim Messina listed Wisconsin as “undecided,” along with Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia.
So not only would Obama be facing an energized Republican base in Wisconsin come November, but a demoralized liberal and union base who won't forget that he had abandoned just before to the recall.

If that wasn't enough, the same day Walker cruised to an easy win, Bill Clinton questioned Obama's economic proposals of allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire.
Incredibly, Bill Clinton – the man the White House sent to represent the President during the election – compounded the result by admitting that the country was in a recession and by urging Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts. That makes him the most senior liberal in the nation to cast doubt on Obama’s economic strategy.
In recent weeks, prominent Democrats such as Clinton, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and Newark, NJ mayor Corey Booker have cautioned the Obama camp that they should back off their attacks on private equity as a means of attempting to attack Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital.

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