Democrats have forced four Senate recall elections in Wisconsin, Republicans so far have forced none. They have only one week left to file petitions before the deadline. Very impressive accomplishment for the Dems. The control of the chamber–as well as Scott Walker’s tea-flavored aspirations–really is now up for grabs.

I’m going to predict that the fight over these recall elections is going to be brutal. I’m guessing we’ll see a sea of corporate money flowing into the state, and lots of negative, slashing advertisements. Walker has been nothing less than absolutist on this topic, showing little interest in how this might affect the schools or the budget, all the while his cronies can barely suppress their glee at hitting Democratic allies. Expect that to set the tone. But I’m not sure it will work. The dynamic in Wisconsin seems to be one of an actual grassroots movement against an arrogant, top-down power structure and some astroturf accompaniment. I mean, not even Sarah Palin could draw more than a few thousand people to Madison in support of Walker, and many of those were protesting the protesters. Which isn’t to say that the usual anxieties won’t drive the faithful to the voting booths, but it won’t be out of fervent support for this particular policy. And if the Democrats retake the Senate, or even if they’re able to take two seats and leave the balance of power with the one moderate Republican who voted against Walker’s plans, it could have the effect on Walker that the failure of the 2005 special election had on Arnold Schwarzenegger here in California. Arnie was a different creature altogether after that one. Who knows?

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  1. Rupert Psmith says:

    Yes, but Arnold was never a right wing ideologue, like Walker clearly is, and I don’t see any sign that he’s interested in a more moderate/whipped persona — it seems he see himself as the next Ronald Reagan (minus all of the things right wingers always forget about Reagan like all of the tax increases and nuclear disarmament ambitions) and that precludes compromising with dirty hippies. I think he’s more than willing to drive off the political cliff if it comes to that.

    I’m curious, where are all of those Republican petitions on the Democratic senators — weren’t they telling us that they had millions of Wisconsinites on their side signing their petitions? You’d think with all of that Koch money they could have at least come up with one recall. Kind of embarrassing really.

    • Lev says:

      I suppose they might yet get one through. Then again, money is no substitute for an engaged electorate that demands change. Maybe that’s an old-fashioned view, but I generally find it to be true.

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