Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Recall Recap: The Good, The Bad, The WTF?

My colleague Jeff already shared his views of the recall results, as have many other bloggers. Now it's my turn.

Instead of trying to a full length drawn out analysis, here are just some free floating thoughts:

This was one ugly campaign with dirty tricks and craziness galore.

There is some concerns about the integrity of the election itself.

  • There is the questionable electric voting machines that Walker's been bringing in, mostly in the northernmost counties which had gone against him in 2010 and suddenly flipped.  These machines have proven to be easily tampered with and utterly unreliable.
  • What's up with that story about Channel 12 asking people who were still standing in line to vote how they felt about Walker being named the winner?  That is illegal electioneering and the reporter and the station should be held criminally responsible.  And why hasn't any of the mainstream media even touched this story?
  • And on Tuesday morning, WTMJ 620-AM radio station was telling people on their news program that the residency law was 90 days instead of 28.  I've heard that the GAB is looking into that bit of skulduggery too.
  • There also was the robocalls trying to trick people who had signed the recall into believing they did not have to vote.
  • There were the teahadist thugs who came all the way from Texas to harass voters and impede the system anyway they could.  Considering that they couldn't handle replicating the recall petition without botching the job, why should we have any confidence in anything they do?
  • Our side wasn't much better, as in that idiotic Walker love child nonsense.  Everyone knows that Walker has no heart to love anyone or anything with.  I shudder to think how many man hours were lost  as people chased after this distraction.

I must respectfully disagree with my friend and mentor, Jay Bullock.  The recall was not a bad idea.  Poorly executed, yes - bad idea, no.  Democracy is never a bad thing.


Thanks for nothing, Citizens United.  I know this sounds like sour grapes, but this election wasn't won as much as it was bought.  Citizens United has opened the door to the kind of corruption and greed that we are currently seeing, not only here in Fitzwalkerstan, but all across the United States.  And in this, I include not only the graft bestowed on Walker by the Kochs, the Bradley Foundation and WMC, but also the corporate media, like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who refused to honestly and objectively publish the news, if they bothered to touch base on it at all.

But even this has its upside. It has exposed ALEC for what it is and corporations are dumping it fast as they can as they experience the blow back from it.  And thanks to the tireless work of Sue Wilson, the corporate media's violation of federal law, especially from squawk radio, is being exposed.


The finger pointing has started in earnest.  Some are calling for the resignations of DPW's Mike Tate and Graeme Zielinski.  Some are blaming the unions for not doing enough, while others are blaming the unions for pushing too hard.  Some are whining about President Barack Obama not stepping in.  More are whining about DNC's lack of support.

My take is that this was lost in the primary.  We were winning until then.  But then all of a sudden the Democrats started saying that this wasn't about Act 10 or collective bargaining, but still claiming to be friends to the unions.

The fact is this was about Act 10 and collective bargaining, but not just these two things.  It was also about education, womens rights, human rights, civil rights, veterans rights, voters right, transparency in government and integrity in government.  All of these things have been greatly limited if not banished altogether.

Things really started falling apart when the left broke into camps that were opposed to each other instead of working together. What was once a loosely cohesive group of people suddenly became an exercise in herding cats.

I could understand why people might be initially upset with the unions for coming out with an endorsement for Kathleen Falk so early, but they refused to listen why, and only fed into the whisper campaign against the unions and against Falk.  Kathleen Vinehout and Doug LaFollette, wonderful people that they are, only made things worse by running campaigns that further divided the people, even though they really didn't stand a chance.

But they stifled the Act 10 part of it in order to make Tom Barrett look "more electable."  Don't get me wrong, I like Barrett well enough, but he was not the right person for this race at this time.  He had handcuffed himself and his campaign by running for mayor and postponing his entry into the gubernatorial primary.  He made things worse by not standing with the unions, saying he didn't want to restore all their rights, only just some of them.  

And Barrett's campaign faltered when it made its platform solely about Walkergate and not how he was going to fix it.  With so many people suffering recall fatigue, he failed to overcome that by giving them something more than "I'm no rock star."  When the people were looking for the rock star of rock stars, his message was the exact wrong one to get people motivated.

As far as Obama and the DNC, I'm glad that Obama stayed out of it. It would have only served as another tool for the right to motivate their voters even more.  And I never counted on the DNC, since they have a long history of poor decision making.  


There are silver linings to all of this though.

People are waking up and becoming aware of what's really going on.

Not only that, but we have a very solid base to work with as we continue our fight to restore sanity and dignity to our state.  We have come together as a people who are aware that all is not well and won't be well as long as the corporate puppets are in office.

We also have found and continue to improve on using tools like social media to keep ourselves informed of the truth and are using that to share what we've learned with each other.  This has already shown itself to be a valuable tool to the ground game we will need to reclaim the state.

And we have found what the left and the Democrats are so sorely in need of in rising rock stars that will lead the way.  I'm referring to people like Assembly candidate Laura Hauser-Menting, Senator Chris Larson, Dane County Supervisor Jenni Dye, former Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle and the incomparable, impeccable Lori Compas, to name but a few.

And most importantly, we have found rock stars inside of all of ourselves through #wiunion.

And lastly, there is one more rock star which will be the biggest one for the year to come: John Doe.


  1. Although I disagree about the love child story....I do agree that it was not relevant but what is the difference between the love child story and the meme being pushed that walker did exactly what he said he would do?

    At least the love child story has a chance of being true.....

    1. The love child story was beyond stupid in my humble opinion.

  2. There was a significant number of folks who did not vote because they did not believe in recalling for non criminal reasons as well as a significant number that voted FOR Walker for this reason. Consider all those Obama supporters that voted for Walker.

    Try this thought exercise: Assume Russ Feingold had satisfied all our fantasies and run for Governor from the get go. Most assume
    this would have scared off the Falks and Barrett would have not even given a thought to running.

    How many think this would had made a difference?

    More money may have come in early but Feingold being Feingold, he would not have gone national like Walker and begged for the millionaire money.

    The Falk/union tussle with Barrett would not have slowed momentum with all Feingold all the time.

    The Walker ads could not have focused on a local/Milwaukee record but would have focused
    on more abstract issues of Feingold's Senate record, much of which is irrelevant to running State goverment. Harder to go negative.

    While many still think he would have been the ultimate game changer-----would that have been enough to change the minds of those significant number of recall deniers that ultimately cost the Dems the election by either not voting or voting for Walker now and Obama in November? Monticarlo

    1. Those dems who voted for Walker stuck to their principles, but, I think they made a mistake.

  3. Thanks for that analysis Monti....very interesting!

  4. Capper.... Bice today in his online chat said that it wasnt illegal, or even unethical, what the reports did last night. Thoughts?

    1. He's wrong. The GAB is looking into them because no one is allowed to talk about the election withing 100 feet of the polling place.

  5. Nice analysis Capper. Very good I think. I think if Barrett had one more week he could have done it, I really liked him, and hadn't paid much attention to him before. I do think the primary was bizarre and that Falk wasn't given a chance.

  6. I don't think there's anyone to blame for how this all turned out. The fact of the matter is, outside of Milwaukee, Madison, and a (very small) handful of other counties, Wisconsinites are becoming more and more conservative. The left *did* have impressive turnout -- there isn't much hope for drastically improving that in the near future -- but there are evidently more Tea Partiers than Dems. There has been a structural shift in the way this state functions. I no longer believe it is possible to rationalize with the people who buy into the Walker ideology; there is no hope for persuading the non-existent "moderates" or compromising with Republicans. No amount of education or outreach can help people so hellbent on voting against their own self-interests.

    1. Oh, they'll turn soon enough once they hit rock bottom. I think two more years will do it.

  7. I gotta be honest. There is only one reason we weren't victorious Tuesday...


    I think the dems could have run the perfect campaign and still lost. Even if the dems had the perfect answer to every talking point, there was more than enough money to tack to a different lie.

    That's why Russ didn't run, and won't run until the rules change.

    Money bought Prosser the bench and money kept Walker in the mansion.

  8. Thanks for your thoughts. I've been watching from the outside for a long time.

    I felt that making this a union vs Walker race towards the end was a mistake. Along with the union issues Walker has done so much more that will effect almost everyone but those issues seemed to get lost in the national coverage.

    In our current environment workers rights have been demonized nationally and it's going to take more than union are good talk to turn that around.

    Far to many folks have been brainwashed and not just by Fox but our other media also. They no longer will report facts just he said/she said memes.

    We also need to change the "frames" on many issues. Pensions are called "entitlements", we need to call them "earned benefits". Same language applies to health insurance, we earn it with our labor, it is not "given" as an "entitlement".

    Now let's get a good Congress elected to help Obama move Forward next term

  9. This wasn't an election. It was a purchase.

  10. I am honored to be included in your rising stars for the Dems with such an amazing group! It is just in my nature to fight for the rights of people.

    I've been involved in this since day 1 and I intend to see this through to the end. Strong leaders with the ability to work with all groups involved is what it will take and I've proven I can do that and will continue to bring that to the Assembly.

    Wisconsin needs to return to it's roots of a strong middle class and strong cummunities. We need to reform our system and reclaim our position in the nation as a leader and innovator.

  11. I love watching you lefties pine. Thanks for making Scott Walker a ROCK STAR. WALKER!! WALKER!! WALKER!! WALKER!! WALKER!!

    PS now that the circus in Madison is over it's time to rid Washington of the Commie Clown in the White House!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! SUCK IT!!!!

  12. "Things really started falling apart when the left broke into camps that were opposed to each other instead of working together."

    This, from the very same website that hosted that phony video with the shamefully cut-and-paste tape suggesting Barrett was in favor of Act 10? Designed to cost Barrett votes? Take a bow, Capper, you probably helped Walker win this one.

    1. No, Raven. Barrett and the Dems did that all by themselves. They started it by forcing an anti-union corporate Democrat upon us when we already knew he wasn't going to beat Walker.

      And even during the race, after the primary, Barrett continued to say he wasn't going to fully restore collective bargaining. Why wouldn't he fully restore it? Because he favored parts of it.

      Your refusal to accept these obvious facts, and so many people like you, cost us this chance to save our state.

  13. So raven maybe tom barrett should have opposed ACT 10 and given people more of a reason to vote for him. Its hardly Cappers fault that he did not.....

    1. Oh for Pete's sake, Jeff, did you miss the part about that being a phony suggestion? Don't take *my* word for it:

      "AFSCME Council 24 also has promoted a video that suggested Barrett supported Walker's repeal of collective bargaining, even though the mayor consistently said that proposal should not pass."

  14. And here's PolitiFact Wisconsin declaring that video "False".

    Notably for omitting Barrett's statement, "I would vote no on the changes in collective bargaining." -- and strongly implying the opposite.

  15. These are the things I think made the recall fail: Walker was in office and it's always hard to challenge someone in office, Most Wisconsinites don't get the news of what Walker is doing to hurt him and the protest news was very distorted, Walker had more time and money and expert operatives - Barrett only had about a month to campaign and having to run a primary before that would cause divisiveness in any party, Walker convinced non-Walker voters that the recall was unneccessary etc., all the Democrat candidates were from Madison and Milwaukee except Vinehout (I've heard many rural folks complain about this; have to get a message tailored to the rural) and MOST OF ALL - as mentioned above, the Democrats and Unions do not have a coherent message and plan. The Republicans have hired folks to make their message sound like it helps people (e,g, Lee Atwater and Frank Luntz). Meanwhile, the Democrats basically complain about what the Republicans are doing which amplifies their message time and again with the Republicans ready with distortion to make it look OK. George Lakos, a distinguished linguist, is trying to help the Democrats form a message - he just published a book on this called: The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic - short book.