Close, But No Cigar
Unions spent north of $30 million* in a recall effort in Wisconsin in order to gain control of the state senate. Six Republican senators faced recall elections, and the Democrats needed to win three in order to win control of the upper house. They won two. What’s more, two senate Democrats face recall elections next week, and the GOP has a good chance to win at least one of those two races. So, in the end, the unions would have spent $30 million to gain a whopping one seat. Not a very good return on investment.
Evidently the “news” team at MSNBC was trying to spin this as a victory for Democrats, but that strains credulity past the breaking point. Of the two seats they won, one was in a fairly Democratic district and the other involved a scandal-plagued senator. In fact, as Ed Morrissey suggests, this should be seen as a big defeat for big labor.
Next Tuesday, two more recall elections take place for the state Senate, this time two of the fleabagger seats, thanks to the reaction from the GOP to the union’s efforts to recall Republicans. It’s possible that the unions will go 0 for 3 in 2011 and end up handing back the two pickups they got last night. The unions will have ended up spending millions to end up right where they began — locked out of Madison — while adding a powerful display of electoral impotence to their brand. They have discredited themselves with Wisconsin voters in a way that Walker and the GOP couldn’t possibly have planned, the victim of their own arrogance in attempting to overturn elections for no other reason that protecting their own featherbeds.
Markos Moulitsas is pushing the kool-aid that this is a progressive victory over at Daily Kos. It’s actually kind of cute to see a man so delusional.
Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar “loss rate” in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013.
Yes, because the rate of victory in a special election in one state featuring roughly 1/5 of one legislative chamber is clearly a sign of things to come.
It’s going to be a long year, and tens of millions of dollars of Koch money (in addition to hundreds of millions more from Rove and allies) are going to force us to fight like hell for every inch of territory. They won’t cede it willingly or fairly. They’ll do their best to cheat or buy whenever they feel they can’t win fairly.
This is going to be the rallying cry for progressives. As always, they complain when people besides themselves actually spend money and campaign against their interests. I get a particular sense of amusement from the bellyaching about the evil Koch brothers, because it’s not like the Democrats have their own deep-pocketed sugar daddy, right? And really, do guys like Kos want to talk about cheating to win elections?
But I can understand Kos’s wishful thinking. They were on the precipice of revolution. That revolution was halted in the fall of 2010. This election was to mark the turnaround that jumpstarted that revolution. The good people of Wisconsin were to throw off the shackles of their tyrannical GOP overlords and send a stinging rebuke to the heart of that evil monster Scott Walker. The people would finally join the progressives and take the necessary step to inch them closer to the utopia.
And then the people of Wisconsin sort of yawned and said they’ll keep the government that they have, thank you very much.
Dagger. So what’s left to do? Admit defeat? Acknowledge that maybe the populace isn’t as enamored with your lofty plans as you’d like? What are you crazy? No, it’s time to just double down, retrench, and like Homer Simpson cry out that “It’s still good! It’s still good!”
Whatever you say, Markos.
*: $30 million figure seems to be a combined spending figure. Union amount was in the $15 million range, give or take. Still a lot invested for little return.