Walker survives recall

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived his recall election. The AP story, by Scott Bauer, says: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers. The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt with his defeat of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda.”

Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: “NBC, CNN and Fox News called the race shortly before 9 p.m. The Associated Press called it for Walker minutes later. Exit polls for a time had shown the race at 50-50, but later showed Walker with a 4 percentage point lead. … Now that Walker has survived the recall, he cannot face another one for the remainder of his term, which runs until January 2015.”

At Time, Alex Altman offers his explanation of why: “Amid the avalanche of postmortems, some will surely point to the structural reasons for Walker’s success: a yawning fundraising advantage, voters weary of Wisconsin’s endless elections, or fissures in a Democratic Party struggling to reconcile its fraught relationship with public unions. And while all these factors were important, equally so was the performance of the candidate himself.  Strip away the massive spending and the bare-knuckle tactics and the spectacle of a state torn in two. At bottom, this was an election about what kind of politician Americans prize. Scott Walker won not despite his refusal to compromise, but because of it. He cast himself as a politician of conviction, even when his convictions might not be popular. Voters may bemoan the absence of bipartisanship, but the truth is that most prefer their elected leaders to be ideologues. As a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week showed, a solid majority, including two-thirds of Republicans and 55% of independents, favors a president who fights rather than compromises. As Toqueville said, we get the government we deserve.”

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post says: “There was considerable internal discussion and disagreement between Washington and Wisconsin Democrats (and organized labor) about whether to push for a recall election this summer or wait until 2014 for a chance to unseat Walker. (Washington Democrats broadly favored the latter option, Wisconsin Democrats and labor the former). As the recall played out, two things became clear: 1) There were almost no [undecideds] in the race and 2) those few souls who were undecided tended to resist the recall effort on the grounds that Walker had just been elected in 2010. The sentiment among those undecided voters, according to several Democrats closely monitoring the data, was that while they didn’t love Walker they thought he deserved a full term before passing final judgment on how he was performing. That Democrats nominated Barrett — the same man who Walker had defeated in the 2010 general election — added to the sense among independents and undecided voters that this was primarily a partisan push to re-do a race in which they didn’t like the final result. … Say what you will about his policies but Walker is a damn good campaigner and, from the moment he knew a recall election was likely, he did everything he could to ensure he came out on top. From fundraising to moderating his image in the wake of the collective bargaining war, Walker understood from very early on the threat that the recall posed to him.”

Testosterone kills. Paul Walsh’s Strib story on a fatal car/motorcycle crash last April says: “Having just been passed by a sporty black car on a Sherburne County road, Cody Moen revved his car’s engine even higher, closed in tightly on the other vehicle and then zipped onto the gravel shoulder. But the high-speed attempt to regain the lead turned tragic, according to charges filed Tuesday, and Moen’s car spun off of the gravel along County Road 17 in Big Lake Township, crossed the northbound lanes, a median and into the path of a motorcycle heading south. The bike hit Moen’s car on that clear mid-April afternoon this year, killing motorcyclist Brien Wickham, 31, of Big Lake, and passenger Jacquelyn Lee, 26, of Ramsey. Moen, 19, of Big Lake, was charged Tuesday in District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and remains jailed.”

We’re strictly average. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “Minnesota’s economy grew 1.2 percent in 2011, lagging the state average of 1.5 percent as the pace of growth slowed in most parts of the country, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Tuesday.
The state’s gross domestic product (GDP) — the sum of all goods and services produced — was $244.9 billion. The inflation-adjusted growth of 1.2 percent, which is subject to revision, put Minnesota in the middle of the pack among states: No. 23. Economists at Wells Fargo Securities characterized the report as showing ‘excruciatingly modest gains.’ ”
But he did see “The Hurt Locker” … Amy Forliti of the AP writes: “A singer who appeared on the NBC show ‘America’s Got Talent’ and claimed he was injured during a grenade blast in Afghanistan has no military record of his purported combat injuries, the Minnesota National Guard said Tuesday. Timothy Michael Poe appeared on the nationally televised show Monday. He told the judges he spent 14 years in the military, and suffered a broken back and brain injury when he was hit by a grenade in Afghanistan in 2009. … ‘Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports,’ Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.”

Richard Chin of the PiPress checked out the transit of Venus with local observers: “[T]he skies were clear when Venus crept toward the edge of the sun at about 5:04 p.m., and lines started forming at the observatory’s big telescopes. ‘We get lucky once in a while and today is one of those days,’ [chairman of the Onan Observatory, Merle] Hiltner said. ‘It is always better to see it firsthand than on the Internet,’ said Waconia High School science teacher Roxanne Kuerschner, who invited her students to the observatory to watch the event through her telescope. ‘If you’re an astronomer, you want to be here. I want to have the event on record,’ said Javier Medrano, who had connected a camera to a telescope on a mount that tracked the sun, taking one photograph every five seconds. Medrano said he expected to collect about 2,000 exposures by sunset, which he’ll turn into a video of the transit as seen from Minnesota. Opinions differed on whether seeing a planet gliding slowly across the sun is as aesthetically pleasing as the rings around Saturn or the brilliantly colored Orion Nebula.”

The percentage of open seats up for grab’s in next year’s Legislature has hit 25 percent. Says Bill Salisbury in the PiPress: “47 state legislators have retired or decided to run for other offices since a court panel ordered a new redistricting map on Feb. 21. That means at least one-fourth of the 201 seats in the Legislature will change hands this fall, which would mark the largest turnover since 2002, the last redistricting year.”

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Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/06/2012 - 06:09 am.

    It’s mornings like this . . . . . .

    that I find myself truly ashamed for my fellow citizens and afraid of what their malleability in the face of the huge amounts of money spent by the 1%’s message machine means for the future of this country.

    This morning I am both sad and afraid.

  2. Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 06/06/2012 - 07:39 am.

    Big labor’s Big money…

    Funny, big money from special interests to Democrats has never been a problem. This recall was viewed by Wisconsin voters as the unions being sore losers and wanting to re-do an election.

    Obama has done more fund-raisers than any other President and went back on his promise to accept public funding and limits in his 2008 campaign. I wonder how many of the 99% he meets at his $40,000 a plate fund-raisers?

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/06/2012 - 08:09 am.

    This reminds me of that scene

    in Independence Day when they discover how to destroy the evil alien mothership. General Gray then says: “Get on the wire, tell them how to bring those sons of b*tches down.”

    The Left pulled out all the stops in it’s most important election in decades, busing people in from out of state, signing up a record number of same-day voters and they still failed because the republicans figured out how to beat them at their own game.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/06/2012 - 10:38 am.

      Suggesting cheating is disingenous

      People from out of state were not voting. Of course, the suggestion followed by the statement that the Republicans figured out how to beat them at their own game makes me wonder…

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/06/2012 - 08:48 am.

    Absolutely No Thanks to the US Supreme Court

    No thanks to the US Supreme Court for turning a one vote system into a two vote system for some. The everyday citizen gets to vote once on election day. The wealthy get to vote twice. Once with their money and then again on election day. I wonder which vote has the most influence? Democracy is on its way out. Campaigning 365 days a year 24/7 needs to stop. There is no time for the politicians to actually do any work, if they are inclined to actually do any work, for which they were elected. No matter who wins an election it is a sad day in America because of the way they won. The win is not based on ideas, leadership, or a will to do good for all. It is based on influence peddlers, many of whom don’t even live in the area where an election is held, not to mention they might not even live in our country. If the Supreme Court is going to continue act so irresponsibily there should no longer be lifetime appointments to the court. Our country can not stand anymore of this reckless decision making. Wake up voters.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/06/2012 - 04:33 pm.

      There’s room for restraint

      but Congress has to act and neither party is willing to or interested in requiring disclosure of the donors, which still appears possible after Citizens United. Why would they? Both sides benefit from anonymity and the Democrats get to pound the floor about the evil old Supreme Court.

      So, the next time a politician blames the court, ask him or her what he or she intends to do about it.

  5. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 06/06/2012 - 09:27 am.

    Citizen’s United

    David Dayen at firedoglake writes that a glitch in Wisconsin campaign finance law was the reason for Walker’s outspending in this race. As the incumbent, he could receive tons of financial contributions while the recall efforts were still collecting signatures while Barrett could only raise money after the recall was in play. Citizen’s United was not the reason Walker could outspend Barrett.

    This was an important election, but probably not the most important in decades. That was in 2000 when the right stole the Presidency. But the “Left” did pull out all the stops in this election at least as far as it could. The playing field is now so rigged in favor of big money from corporations and wealthy individuals attempting to maintain their stranglehold on power that the “Left” is not longer in the so-called game. It’s not a matter of beating the “Left” at their own game; it’s a matter of changing the rules of the game so only one side can play. It has nothing to do with democracy. The people of Wisconsin now have their authority figure who will continue, as he has been, robbing the same people who elected him to office while his supporters cheer him on, just like Bernie Madoff was cheered by his clients while he deceived them.

    It’s really sad when people who are so ideologically blinded cannot even be gracious in victory. No, out of state people were not “bused in” to vote. You’re confusing that with the busloads of out of state money brought in by Walker from out of state.

  6. Submitted by william laney on 06/06/2012 - 09:30 am.

    If anyone questions

    The power that accompanies money in politics, that question has been answered with the Governor’s re-election. My daughter, an RN, worries that her union will be next in line to be eliminated. I think she’s right, along with all other private sector unions in Wisconsin. Walker’s “divide and conquer” strategy is working just fine for his contributors, who continue to extract wealth from the economy while wages and benefits drop for the working public.

  7. Submitted by Dave Eischens on 06/06/2012 - 09:31 am.

    WI Senate flips to Dem majority

    And that’s a big deal. If one were to look at it objectively: on Tuesday the R’s controlled Gov, Senate, Assembly. On Wednesday they only control Gov and Assembly. Don’t know if I’d call that a win.

    Likely Cillizza is spot on in observing many WI voters believe any Gov should have his full term and then the voters decide whether they keep their job or not. That’s how the system typically works.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/06/2012 - 10:06 am.

    A whole lot of “Who gives a damn” in Wisconsin?

    As I understand the numbers, more eligible voters stayed home (43%) than voted for either Barrett (27%) or Walker (31%). (Rounded).

  9. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/06/2012 - 10:13 am.

    Brian nails it…

    “We get the Gov’t we deserve”. Maybe we should reconsider that bridge construction over the St. Croix. Not sure I want the massive influx that’s about to come.

  10. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/06/2012 - 10:13 am.

    Walker’s win

    My $0.02 is that quite a few voters decided there was an aura of sour grapes associated with the recall effort. I’d also argue that Tom Barrett was not an ideal candidate against Walker. Part of his defeat is the same kind of urban/rural divide that often characterizes Minnesota, with the Twin Cities being painted as the Evil Forces of Darkness against the alleged purity of rural (and, even more, suburban) life. It’s a stereotype both false and tired, but it still seems to work. That, and disgust with what seems like a constant political campaign in Wisconsin likely cost Democrats some votes. Toss in genuinely massive spending from the wealthy on the Republican side, and you have an interesting form of class warfare being waged against ordinary workers by other ordinary workers, while the one percent sit back and enjoy the show.

    The silver lining, if Democrats need one, is that Democrats regained control of the Wisconsin Senate, and given the polarization evident there, as well as elsewhere in the country, it seems possible that Mr. Walker’s agenda may well grind to a halt. The recall effort, in other words, was hardly a total failure.

    Those people tired of political campaigns will have a hard time getting excited about another election in November, the ads for which are already appearing on TV. Since heavy voter turnout usually works to the advantage of Democrats, this could quite easily spell trouble for Obama in November, especially if the economy – something over which he has virtually no control – goes south again. I think that likely to be the case even if a return to recession is largely the result of Republican intransigence. The People of Money have been working for years – decades, really – on a propaganda campaign that has lately come to fruition in several states.

    The guy quoted by Doug Grow in his MinnPost election piece today is a fairly typical example. Despite being far more dependent on “big government” than the teacher he’s busy bashing, the man doesn’t appear to recognize the incongruity of what he’s saying. He’s been duped, and doesn’t know it.

    And speaking of our resident grinch, I think Mr. Tester is only partly correct. It’s true that Wisconsin Democrats appeared to pull out all the stops for this campaign – a mistake, I think, but I don’t live there, and I’m not a member of the party – but when Mr. Tester suggests that Republicans “beat them at their own game,” I disagree. In fact, it strikes me as something of the reverse. Democrats were not able to successfully emulate the Republican game of misinformation and massive spending on TV advertising. I’ve read elsewhere that the Walker campaign outspent the Barrett campaign by an 8-to-1 margin. Those who doubt the influence of money in politics ought to pay attention to that number.

    Tom Christensen might be a little over the top by asserting that the Citizens United ruling gives the wealthy two votes to the single voter the rest of us get to cast, but it’s only a little. Money is – and has been since the beginning – vital to politics, which is why attempts to rein in the excesses of plutocracy are a more or less constant theme in modern government. People of Money, just like people who have little or none of it, want the government to serve their interests. When they hold the reins of power, they pass laws to benefit themselves at the expense of the rest of society. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re among the one percent), the People of Money usually have far greater resources upon which to draw when they want to influence a particular politician, or even a group of them.

    For those who don’t much like the rightward drift of the society the past couple of decades, the only real alternative is to organize. Many small contributions can eventually equal or surpass a few huge contributions, and that’s what the Obama campaign is counting on. I’d suggest that the Minnesota DFL, if it hopes to capitalize on the clown show put on by Republicans in this year’s legislative session, will have to adopt a similar organizational mind set. When you have thousands of contributors of a few dollars, you’re beholden to the group, not the individual. When you depend upon very large contributions from a few, those contributions always – always – come with practical and/or ideological strings attached.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/06/2012 - 02:31 pm.


      But the confusing thing about the “rightward drift” is that most of them don’t make enough money to be republicans.

    • Submitted by John D Sens on 06/08/2012 - 01:14 pm.

      Ideological strings

      All political contributions come with ideological strings attached. It is just that the large contributors have more moxie to push their interests.

  11. Submitted by william laney on 06/06/2012 - 02:57 pm.

    80% of the people have lost ground in the last 20-30 years. There are many unhappy people out there, even before the collapse in 2008. The ALEC people have been brilliant in turning these people against each other. So the guy with no shoes is angry at his neighbor, who found a pair in the dump, instead of them both wondering why the people in the big house all have new shoes.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/06/2012 - 06:22 pm.

      That’s a great metaphor, William

      I hope it’s okay if I borrow it the next time an appropriate occasion offers itself.

      • Submitted by Robert Hoppe on 06/06/2012 - 07:45 pm.

        It’s a great metaphor if you live in North Korea or Cuba

        All this hysteria about wretchedly poor people without the means to buy shoes. Have you heard about the riots at urban shopping centers to buy $200 Nikes? The poor in this country are rich by the standards of most other countries in the world. The vast majority have cars, micro-waves, big screen TVs, plenty of food, (heard of the obesity epidemic?) no one is denied health care, and the government spends billions to give free cell phones to the poor. Let’s not be ridiculous. Also another poster said most Republicans don’t make enough money to be Republicans. How much do you have to make to want the government to leave you alone as much as possible and protect your freedom?

        • Submitted by CJ Camp on 06/06/2012 - 10:37 pm.


          Being poor sounds awesome! Microwaves?!? I think I’ll quit my job right now!

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/07/2012 - 07:27 am.

          Taking things a little too literally

          Robert, you may wish to review the definition of “metaphor” . . . . . .

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/07/2012 - 09:03 am.

          Republicans want a gov’t

          That leaves people alone and protects freedom? Like the freedom to marry? Like the freedom to vote? The main goal of the party is to protect the rich and corporations, period.

      • Submitted by william laney on 06/07/2012 - 12:31 pm.

        Be my guest Pat. I am simply amazed that good working people bash other good working people over the financial mess the world is in, instead of the financiers who have gambled and lost many times the world’s money.

  12. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 06/07/2012 - 11:15 pm.

    Money talks?

    A Strib article today said that 90% of voters had their mind made up the day the recall election was announced so I’m not sure what votes all that money bought. I don’t remember this much hand wringing over the greater amount of money Obama spent in 2008 nor do I expect to hear any after Senator Amy outspends her opponent by over 10 to 1. Meg Whitman would be in office if money was the answer. So would Jim Oberstar.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/08/2012 - 10:00 am.

      Not just this (or any other single) election cycle

      The message machine of the 1% has been hard at work for years now shaping the ideas and the attitudes of the American populace in its “divide and conquer” strategy which has sadly and regrettably been quite successful. The fact that 90% of the voters had their minds made up well in advance of election day to vote against their own best self interests only serves to underscore how well the messaging machine of the 1% continues to achieve its goals of keeping the middle class fighting with itself instead of against income inequity.

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