After a year long backlash against Republican Governor Scott Walker the results are in. Walker and his Lt. Governor will retain their seats. Of the four other Republicans on the recall ballot, only one was ousted by Democrats. Former Senator John Lehman reclaimed his Senate seat in the 21st District from Senator Van Wanggaard by less than a mere 1,000 votes. Both parties are calling this a victory since Lehman’s win gives control of the Senate back to the Democrats which will effectively stop Walker’s legislative onslaught of measures designed to usurp unions and gain complete control of Wisconsin’s legislature for corporations.
Republicans are claiming victory by just not losing. But that pyrrhic victory came at a price. Thanks to Citizens United Republicans mostly from out of state interests outspent Democrats at a ratio of 8:1 in advertising. There are a number of final tally’s out there but the general consensus is that Walker (backed by the deep pocketed Koch Brothers and other out of state bazillionaires) spent roughly $40 million to Milwaulkie Mayor Tom Barrett’s less than $10 Million.
All just to keep their seats.
Was it worth it? Democrats seem to think so. They would have preferred to oust Walker but cutting him off at the knees seems to be acceptable. Republicans are going to make hay over this all the way to November in an attempt to influence the 2012 presidential election.
In essence, last night was a draw. Nothing much changed save for that one lone Senate seat. But in the big picture you could say that everything changed. There have only been two successful recalls in history. The last one was in 1921. Recalls are the exception, not the rule. And they are usually for illegal activities and not misconduct. Walker appears to only be guilty of misrepresentation.
Wisconsin voters probably had a case of voter fatigue as well. They’ve been asked to vote continuously (at least seven times in the past year) for new candidates. They’re probably tired of having the argument. Many of them are opposed to even having the recall. And, of course, there’s the money. You can buy a lot of perception with that kind of money. It appears to have worked.
Conservatives are calling the protestors ‘cry babies’. This doesn’t bode well for bi-partisan politics in the future.
We’ve probably seen the last of Scott Walker’s influence in politics. I doubt he’ll be re-elected. I also think the ripples in this pond of politics will reverberate in other states. Was this a draw? I’m not so sure it was. It may be that this was the canary in the coal mine.