brotherpeacemaker

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Wisconsin Has Spoken

Wisconsin Democrats took a shot at six Republican state senators hoping to unseat at least three to take back control of the Wisconsin senate and came up one seat short.  Of the six recall elections the Democrats won only two.  Considering the stakes, the result was a huge setback for Democrats and their supporters from organized labor and other progressive groups looking for a little payback against conservative Governor Scott Walker, who came into office earlier this year with a laser like focus on enacting a labor law overhaul that ended collective bargaining rights for many public sector workers.

With financial backing from both liberal and conservative affiliates across the nation, both sides spent millions of dollars to influence the voters.  The most vulnerable conservatives were state senators Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke.  All three won their political seats in close races back in 2008.  Back then, Ms. Darling had won her district by a tick over a thousand ballots out of almost a hundred thousand votes cast.  Her district went narrowly for Barack Obama in 2008.  But last night, Ms. Darling won the recall fight with fifty four percent of the votes cast in the heavily Republican Waukesha County.  Mr. Kapanke and Mr. Hopper lost their recall fight.  Nevertheless, Republicans keep their senate majority, seventeen to sixteen.  Two Democratic senators will face a recall fight next week and it’s quite possible that the Democrats would lose both seats and be right back at square one.

It’s not hard to imagine that many will see the results of this fight as vindication for Mr. Walker and confirmation of the conservative agenda.  Commenting on the poll results, Mr. Walker tried to make a more bipartisan tone to his rhetoric saying that he plans to reach out to leaders of the legislature from both political parties in order to grow jobs.

But the Democratic leadership wasn’t as conciliatory.   Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said that this political fight took place where the Republican Party had the home field advantage but the fact remains that the Democrats have begun the work of stopping Mr. Walker’s agenda.  Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt claimed that the contest was an unprecedented victory for Democrats and Wisconsin voters sent a clear message that there is a growing movement to reclaim the middle class.  Hollow political spin for sure because the simple fact remains that the result was far less than what the Democrats wanted to accomplish.  And while it might be safe to assume true that liberals plan to move ahead with an attempt to recall Mr. Walker, it should be clear this will be an uphill battle that is bound to be loose momentum.  By Wisconsin state law, the effort to recall the Governor can’t start until November and after this setback the Democrats will be doing their best to nurse a stiff upper lip all the way.

The six districts that voted on Tuesday were ground zero in a political fight between liberals and conservatives that has implications that reach a lot further than the Wisconsin state line.  No matter how you might slice things it should be apparent that despite what might appear to be some heavy handed tactics to curb the rights of labor groups, the conservatives have successfully repelled the assault on its senate majority.   True, the two
Democratic victories signaled a reproach of the conservative agenda, the political wound inflicted was only a flesh wound and was nothing fatal.  While the margin of control has been reduced from three senate seats down to one at the moment (remember that two Democrats face recall votes next week), the fact remains that the conservatives still maintain complete control.

Conservatives and liberals across the nation were focused on Wisconsin yesterday.  And while it might be true that either political side could claim some kind of victory, it’s pretty much a continuation of the status quo.  The people in Wisconsin have spoken and for all practical purposes the majority of people are willing to ride this thing out for a little while longer.  While the quick organization of all the labor protests to Mr. Walker’s conservative agenda was very impressive with its intensity and sincerity earlier this year, it really doesn’t look like it reflected the wants and desires of the Wisconsin majority.  Despite all the high profile outrage, the people have spoken and they have given the conservatives their support.  If we can extrapolate this outcome to the rest of the nation then we can expect the conservative agenda to remain in place for a while longer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts

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