Am I Actually Titling a Blog-Post “On, Wisconsin”?
I have no idea what is going to happen in Wisconsin tomorrow, although the recent (I guess, last, except for exit polling) poll showing Walker only up by 3% is heartening. That’s within the margin of error, and if turnout is significant enough (sounds like it is) there’s a good chance a recall will be pulled off. There is a gap though in voter enthusiasm according to WSJ (yeah, I know) indicating that GOP voters might actually be more motivated. I’d say I don’t understand that, except I kind of do. Walker has probably got some serious fans because he’s a piece of work and so is the Republican Party in Wisconsin right now (think Paul Ryan, Reince Preibus, Mark Block—chief of staff of Herman Cain’s campaign came out of Wisconsin, and my gosh, they’ve got a Republican history in that state from the birth of the party through Sen. McCarthy right up through Kathy Nickolaus—vote misplacer). And there has been some discussion on yon blogs regarding what the impact of a Walker win/loss would be, and how it might impact the presidential race.
My take is—it doesn’t have a thing to do with the presidential race at all, as the White House has pretty carefully kept itself out of Wisconsin affairs, and some say the DNC support has even been tepid. There’s numerous reasons for this. The cynical but probably dead-accurate cost-benefit analysis on political capital expenditure suggests that a loss would be more of a pain in the ass for the president and the national party than a possible win would offset, so things being roughly even—they’ll just let this one go—keeping in mind of course that grassroots progressive support and the local party organization have been phenomenal to get this far. But the Wisconsin race is special to Wisconsin, and is more particularly a referendum on whether Governor Scott Walker has gone too far as an aggressive partisan, than a statement on the relative merit of the Democratic organization in WI.
What I do suspect, though, is that the vote in Wisconsin will set an example for other states—as it has been doing. Political reality is what you can get away with. So even if a win for Scott Walker might not mean, for example, that people are less likely to vote Democratic in the fall, it does mean that other GOP administrations in other states might feel more comfortable adopting Walker’s strategies. You know—bastardy.
I’m rooting actively for Walker’s defeat, but I fear it’ll be close and probably contested and/or controversial. And even if Walker wins, I’m still bolstered by the idea that he is the target of the “John Doe” investigation, owing to, most likely, his own self-serving ambition in his previous elected office. I hope the general rule of right bastards not prospering is an actual thing. Otherwise, this political season will feel really and truly too long.