Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Scott Walker survived his recall last night...
...so fucking what?
Sure, this sucks for the people of WI who care about things like worker's rights and public education. Sure, the jobless rate there will continue to climb, right along with corporate profits, and there will be a mass exodus of middle-class workers leaving the state for better prospects elsewhere and sure, the state's educational performance will decline, but those are problems for the people of WI to deal with. The majority, by a margin of 7%, have decided they like the way things are in their state and God bless them, they're going to get more of the same for at least the rest of Gov. Walker's term.
But that's really where it ends.
MSNBC and Fox News both took opposite sides of this issue and brought it to the national stage. They both overhyped the significance of this recall election as a referendum on everything from union busting to defending the integrity of America. The hyperbole was thick and rampant on both sides of the aisle. Tons of money flooded in from out of state. Walker got millions from wealthy conservatives like the Koch brothers and his opponent, Tom Barrett, got a lot of financial support from labor unions. In the end, Walker out raised Barrett, and in the post-Citizens United age of politics, that's all it takes to win an election. However, for either news outlet to continue to pitch the line that this election is somehow a barometer of national sentiment or a precursor of the general presidential election is ridiculous.
Scratch that, it's not ridiculous, it just exposes the efforts of the national media on both sides to try and influence the political climate any way they can. Both sides of the mainstream media are using last nights WI vote as a litmus test of Obama's chances in November, but if this election has proven anything, it's that policy and politics are really secondary to the ability to raise money to defeat your opponent in the media war. In that regard, Obama is poised to defeat Romney handily.
There's also the fact that the same state that elected Walker also elected Obama by a nearly 15% margin over John McCain in 2008. Just the rough exit polling from last nights primary show Obama still enjoys a 7-9 point lead over Romney, and that's on the very same night that Walker survived his recall. When the general election comes around and a slew of independent and swing voters - as well as all the people who voted in 2008 but didn't care enough to vote last night - all turn out as well, there's every indication that Obama's lead over Romney will grow even more.
The hoopla over the Walker recall results are the desperate attempts of the conservative and liberal media to change that. They want to make the recall election a far bigger deal than it is. They want to create a national referendum based on a state recall election, when the inglorious reality of last nights election is that Walker didn't win so much as the recall itself lost.
More than 60% of all WI voters exit polled last night said that they thought the recall was being abused. They believed that recalls should only be initiated when there's a case of criminal - or near criminal - misconduct on the part of the elected official. The majority of voters felt that bringing the recall against Walker was an inappropriate use of the ability. That's going to create a measurable level of sympathetic support, even by people who don't necessarily agree with Walker's politics, simply because they feel he was being unfairly recalled. It could be argued, therefore, that a fair amount of votes for Walker last night were really more like votes against the abuse of the recall and not any pledge of absolute support for his agenda.
Again, I'm sorry for my Democrat and progressive independent friends in WI who are lamenting the impending doom of their state over the remainder of Walker's term in office, but November is a long way away and anyone who thinks that last nights election in WI is going to have any significant bearing on the outcome of the general election is talking out of their ass and really just preaching to the choir because independent and swing voters will care not one bit about Scott Walker by the time they pull the lever in the presidential election. The only people who will still be talking about the Walker recall in 3 months as if it's remotely relevant will be the pundits and spin doctors on both sides of the aisle, desperately trying to still make an issue out of it that someone outside their extremist party wing will actually give a shit about.
And that's the way it is.