Before the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election had even been called Tuesday night by the news networks, conservatives and Republicans were gleefully celebrating Governor Scott Walker’s impending victory. If you were watching Fox News, you were informed that the hastily organized June race in one state is a near-certain predictor of the presidential election results November. Moreover, unions that opposed Walker had not only been defeated in this one specific race; they had been exposed as out of touch with their own members and decisively crushed throughout the nation from today to the End of Times.

Here’s a sampling of what conservative pundits and Republican politicians had to say:

“If I’m Barack Obama I think, ‘Do I need to defend Wisconsin now?’”
—Sean Hannity, Fox News host

“With tonight’s victory, I think this is a state, not only can we win in Wisconsin, but Mitt Romney can also be very competitive, can win Michigan, Pennsylvania.”
—Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

“As Reagan followed Thatcher, Mitt Romney will follow Scott Walker.”
—Hugh Hewitt, radio host

“This shows the irrelevance of the unions.”
—Denny Strigl, former Verizon CEO

“Pack it in, Unions. It’s over.”
Tweet from Brett Doster, Florida senior adviser to Romney for President.

“Perhaps it’s those union leaders, those thugs… who need to be recalled…. Obviously [Obama’s] message has been defeated here in Wisconsin.”
—Sarah Palin, Fox News contributor

“TONIGHT’S RESULTS WILL ECHO BEYOND THE BORDERS OF WISCONSIN”
—Press release headline from Mitt Romney

The National Republican Campaign Committee asserted that the recall election results mean trouble for Democrats in unrelated Wisconsin congressional elections. “By rejecting [Democratic nominee] Tom Barrett [Wisconsin voters] also sent a message that they are ready to stay on a fiscally responsible, pro-jobs track and that means trouble ahead for Madison liberal Tammy Baldwin,” they declared.

There are a few inconvenient facts being ignored by all these chest-beating proclamations. Democrats were at a distinct disadvantage in this particular race. They had only a few weeks between the primary, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was selected, and the election, while Walker had months to organize. They were wildly outspent by Republicans, who brought in massive infusions of cash from corporations and wealthy donors. In total, the GOP side spent $45.6 million to $17.9 million on the left. And the exit polls showed that this very same electorate that favored Walker 54-45, favors President Obama over Mitt Romney, 52 to 43. Voters from families with a union member chose Barrett 62–37. (There was no breakout available for just union members themselves, but they tend to be even more Democratic than all voters from union households.)

Before the votes were even cast, sharper minds cautioned against overestimating their national significance. Here’s Slate’s Will Oremus listing the reasons this race is not a test-run for the presidential election:

1) It’s a recall. 2) It’s happening in June. 3) The incumbent is a Republican. 4) Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is running. 5) A significant number of states (49 by my count) will not be participating. 6) Need I go on?

Drawing inferences about a national election on the basis of a state election is almost always tenuous, but it’s particularly so in the case of a gubernatorial recall, where the main issue is not the U.S. economy, health care, or national security, but the character and specific track record of the individual in office.

And, as The New Republic’s Alec MacGillis notes, an uptick in the economy will help all incumbents regardless of party. That means both endangered Republican governors such as Ohio John Kasich and President Obama.

Make no mistake, this is bad news for progressives and Democrats. But it does not prove what conservatives say it does. Rather, it merely shows that the unlimited spending unleashed by the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court has given Republicans a tremendous spending advantage and that does make a difference. Whether or not President Obama and other Democrats can overcome that is an open question.

Related Topics: Barack Obama | Election 2012 | US Politics | Gubernatorial Campaigns and Elections | Campaign Finance | Citizens United v. FEC | Campaigns and Elections | Sarah Palin | States | Conservatives and the American Right | Electoral Politics | Political Action Committees | Presidential Campaigns and Elections

  • |
  • |
  • Text Size A|A|A

If you like this article, consider making a donation.

make a donation

Reprint this article. Click here for rights and information.

reprint information

DISQUS...

Glad you liked it. Would you like to share?

Facebook

Twitter

Sharing this page …

Thanks! Close

Login

Add New Comment

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.

  • Post as …
  • Image

Real-time updating is paused. (Resume)

Sort by popular nowSort by best ratingSort by newest firstSort by oldest first

Showing 20 of 106 comments

0 new comment was just posted. Show

  • ronj1955 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Corporate money has run the electoral process for decades.

    show more show less

  • cashhuge.com 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    like Dennis replied I am amazed that some one able to earn $5841 in one month on the internet. have you read that web page

    show more show less

  • RDDavis 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    And NOW, demos want people to reject Romney cause they say he had low job creation numbers, BUT what they dont tell you is, Romney averaged just slightly over 5% unemployment during his time as gubner of Mass.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to create new jobs, when there is no one to take them, EVERYONE who wanted a job, had one already!!

    show more show less

  • RDDavis 2 comments collapsed CollapseExpand

    THIS is what we had in
    ’06 when Republicans held both houses of congress and the WH, and dem0s were
    running for control of congress promising “CHANGE.” How’re yall
    liking the “CHANGE?”

    2006 unemployment #s
    4.7…jan.
    4.8…feb.
    4.7…march
    4.7…april
    4.7…may
    4.6…june
    4.7…july
    4.7…aug.
    4.5…sep.
    4.4…oct.
    4.5…nov.
    4.4…dec.

    http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servle…

    When Republicans had
    both houses and the WH…………………….http://www.icmarc.org/xp/rc/marketvie… … oduct.html

    The 1st quarter of ’06 saw 4.8% growth in GDP. Then came demos running for
    control of congress promising “CHANGE.” They won, and after 2 years
    in power, things HAVE “CHANGED” GDP growth dropped to negative 6%.
    Happy with your “CHANGE?”

    12,600

    12,621.77

    January 24, 2007

    DOW open and close

    Deficit in january
    ‘07, 1.2%

    show more show less

  • Stephen_Carver1 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    I don’t know if you remember this, cause your stats from 2006 are really beautiful, but in 2008, the bottom fell out of the economy and the financial sector almost collapsed, the auto industry almost collapsed and we went into the worst recession since the Great Depression.  The collapse was a direct cause of 30 years of continued government deregulation in all sorts of financial sectors, brought about by a misplaced understanding of what the long term effects of supply-side economics would be.

    In simpler words:  Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down” economy (aka “voodoo economics” as stated by George HW Bush) FAILED ON A MASSIVE SCALE.

    So, your statistics, while beautiful, are…well…pointless.

    show more show less

  • RDDavis 2 comments collapsed CollapseExpand

    ·

    Just like in EVERY CASE , when

    Republicans pick up power, the economy does better. When
    dim-0s pick up power,

    the economy falters.

    It happened when carter gained the WH, the economy got
    WORSE.

    It happened when Reagan gained the WH, the economy got
    BETTER.

    It happened when clinton gained the WH, economic growth
    dropped from over 4%,

    to about 2% 2 years later.

    It happened in jan ’95, when Republicans took over congress,
    the economy caught

    fire and sported some of the best times in our history,
    including balanced

    budgets and even a PROJECTED surplus.

    It happened in jan ’00 when W. gained the WH. He inherited a
    recession, a crashing market and 9-11 with terrorists in our country planning
    and training. He turned that into the longest running jobs expansion in our
    history with an average 5.2% unemployment number.

    It happened AGAIN in jan ’07, when dim-0 gained control of
    congress promising

    “CHANGE” from the 4.4% unemployment, mid 4%
    economic growth, and the

    longest running jobs expansion in the history of the nation.

    “CHANGED” to depression.

    Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.c…

    show more show less

  • Stephen_Carver1 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    You are truly clueless, aren’t you?

    show more show less

  • LaFayette75 2 comments collapsed CollapseExpand

    DEMOCRACY – USE IT OR LOSE IT

    From WikiP here:

    The right to collectively bargain is recognized through international human rights conventions. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies the ability to organize trade unions as a fundamental human right

    What a bunch sub-human life forms are those quoted in BA’s article above. How low have we descended?

    The right of collective bargaining is included in the UN Charter of Human Rights – see article 23 here. The charter was formulated at the UN in 1947 and sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt.

    The US is signatory to that charter but never, never, never adopted Article 23 into national legislation – because we are seriously behind the advance of human-rights. Like some old-fashioned country existing on a planet at the opposite end of our galaxy.

    If ignorance is bliss, than we are a very, very Happy People. And if we are not a Happy People, then no one else is to blame other than We, the Sheeple who continue to vote for politicians under the influence of plutocrats. The choice is ours – always has been, always will be.

    Democracy – Use It or Lose It. (Look for and vote into office a Progressive Candidate. Show the bastards that “I am mad as hell and I aint gonna take it anymore!!!”)

    show more show less

  • LaFayette75 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    BIG-DADDY

    I’m not kidding. Where are the courageous politicians who are willing to bring Uncle Sam, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century by instituting in law certain basic human-rights as regards unionizing?

    Or do you want to be led by the nose as is the case today – by plutocrats and their crony Supreme Court.

    We have a Bill of Rights – and the freedom to gather together into a union to bargain collectively is a basic human-right which we, as a civilized nation, deserve to have stated there.

    Your fate is at stake and that, perhaps, of your family – and almost certainly your children. So decide. You think we don’t need unions to represent us against the forces of capitalism amassed against us?

    Then you have not lost your job often enough.

    In the Supply and Demand equation of the Labor Market, both sides must be of equal strength and significance. Any damn fool should be able to understand that basic premise.

    From WikiP:

    In the mid-1950s, 36% of the United States labor force was unionized. At America’s union peak in the 1950s, union membership was lower in the United States than in most comparable countries. By 1989, that figure had dropped to about 16%, the lowest percentage of any developed democracy, except France.

    Other union membership for other developed democracies, in 1990, were:
    – 95% in Sweden and Denmark;
    – 85% in Finland;
    – over 60% in Norway and Austria;
    – over 60% in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom;
    – over 30% in West Germany and Italy.

    You’re being screwed if you think BigDaddy is going to look out for you.

    show more show less

  • gorak 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    The issue was the presumed universal impossibility of abolishing teachers union rights. The idea wasn’t that you would occasionally get thrown out of office for this, but that you would always be defeated over it. This presumption only took one contrary example to blow it apart all over the country. The impossible has become merely difficult and the change is irreversible.

    show more show less

  • DaveOlson 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Don’t believe your own PR.  This was a serious loss and will affect the fall.

    show more show less

  • TomGenin 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Fact: The Exit Poll in Wisconsin was worthless.
    Fact: The “Exit Poll” said the Walker/Barrett race was Tie.
    Fact: Walker won by 8%.
    Fact: Exit Poll said voters still favored Obama over Romney by 7%
    Fact: Only an idiot would rely on an Exit Poll that was off by 8% for the opposing party when your guy is up 7%.
    The exit polling was worthless, whereas the victory was priceless.

    show more show less

  • michiganruth 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    “If you were watching Fox News, you were informed that the hastily
    organized June race in one state is a near-certain predictor of the
    presidential election results November….”

    actually, Ben, I WAS watching Fox News, and what you wrote is simply not true, even tho it was a really cool-sounding sentence. (you’ll get over loving the sound of your own copy when you’re older.)

    now that I think about this tho:

    I am absolutely in favor of liberals continuing to think there’s nothing wrong with their policies.  you’re right Ben: the Wisconsin election means bupkes, and Democrats have nothing to learn from the results. the 7-point differential was a “razor-thin” margin, and the whole thing was a Koch Brothers-funded setup anyway.

    show more show less

  • J_Stuart_Mill 2 comments collapsed CollapseExpand

    Testy, testy…!   Are a MAJORITY of Right-Wing Mouth-Foaming Animal-Devils gloating up and down the Promenade…?  No.

    So take it easy.  If Walker had lost, a portion of Left-Wing folks would have popped off themselves.  True or False…?

    BTW on a tactical front, this is thin gruel.  Frankly, the End Zone Dance (and the Anniversary End Zone Dance) on bin Laden was somewhat … unbecoming a President.  Kinda “Mission Accomplished” thing there … I mean, in both cases the CIC should have seen the sign/plans and maybe said, “No, this is more serious than that, this is an apolitical role of a President.”

    If only….

    Anyway, back to Reality.  The Whisky results really matter ONLY in the context of a close election this Fall.  If Romney takes Pennsylvania, the context of conditions (economy, etc) that would make that happen mean it would be OVER.

    If Obama takes Florida, in context that would mean it’s OVER.

    If, however, it’s close, then Romney needs / Obama must hold:  Florida, Ohio, Virginia … and ONE MORE.  That could be Whisky.

    That’s it!  Can we do analysis, even if we have a position? Sure! Even if we have a collection of dog whistles, in my case … I’m from Ohio … I’ll be working down South looking for the demographic that voted 42% against Obama in WV and KY Dem Primaries … and turn out that vote.  Ground Game.  Part of life. Can’t say I’m happy it’s come to this….

    show more show less

  • TomGenin 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    I think you mean “pooped” themselves. If they would have “popped” themselves, well… a Walker loss would have had a plus side.

    show more show less

  • Democracy_of_One 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Ben – You are an original.   “Rather, it merely shows that the unlimited spending unleashed by the
    Republican appointees on the Supreme Court has given Republicans a
    tremendous spending advantage and that does make a difference.”

    Supreme Court – ” Selected not Elected.”  -Do I read an entendre in there.

    When the SC declares Obamacare illegal, what are you going to say?

    show more show less

  • porchhound 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    The leftist wackos like this “journalist” are having grand mal seizures at their keyboards attempting to twist the Wisconsin union recall debacle into something other than what it is…ABJECT FAILURE and a sign of things to come in November.  What do you people GAIN by lying to one another?  Can you WISH a different outcome?  Grow UP and smell the sound of public union contracts going through the shredder!

    show more show less

  • bflat879 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Ben, Are you serious here?  IN 2010, the Democrats were given a wake-up call, they hit the snooze button.  They’ve been in denial ever since.  This election is the alarm going off again.  I’m betting they hit the snooze button again and I’m basing it on reading your comments.

    If you don’t know there’s something happening out here you’re just not too observant.

    show more show less

  • SteveThomas39 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    It’s so funny to read this site. It’s like traveling to an alternate universe where common sense is against the law. Oh wait, I forgot, that’s the idea of progressivism. But it sure was a vitally important election to “progressives” before they lost.

    show more show less

  • Ranting Loons 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    Democrats were all about this being a national election a month ago. How they were going to dump walker and how “the people” of Wisconsin were behind them – it seems they were off a bit.

    As for your exit poll comparisons – they were “off” – remember how they were predicting a neck and neck race, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

    show more show less

0 new comment was just posted. Show

Load more comments

Reactions
  • RT @thenation: A few inconvenient facts being ignored by all the chest-beating conservative proclamations: http://t.co/pr5pWHs7 #WIrecall

    14 hours ago

    @laurenismyfav

  • National victory by state election hmmm GOP Declares National Victory in Wisconsin | The Nation http://t.co/r5jVNwx7

    16 hours ago

    @capitaloffensiv

  • GOP Declares National Victory in Wisconsin | The Nation http://t.co/kiwHaNJl

    16 hours ago

    @FLakesDems

  • GOP Declares National Victory in Wisconsin | The Nation http://t.co/ooCYlUOw

    16 hours ago

    @Fieryreddragon

Trackback URL

<div class=”disqus-noscript”><a href=”http://the-nation.disqus.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thenation.com%2Fblog%2F168243%2Fgop-declares-national-victory-wisconsin”>View the discussion thread.</a></div>

Latest

 

Ad Policy

Blogs

GOP Declares National Victory in Wisconsin | The Nation

Advertisements