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Wisconsin Recall Elections Costly, Muddy, Troubling

August 5, 2011

We get the politics we deserve.

There is no way to watch the onslaught of commercials for the recall elections slated for Tuesday and not come away dismayed and concerned, once again, with the political process.  There is no way to have countless ads, often rather slimy and usually misleading, being the leading reason to vote for or against a candidate, and then expect the end result to be a moment of pride.

I have commented before on this blog that I am not pleased with the lack of a frank discussion about the original purpose for these recall elections.  Collective bargaining has been sidelined for a whole slew of other topics that mimic a general election campaign.  That is not how this recall process should operate.  In and of itself the recall elections are now a part of the problem with the political process.

That should concern us all, regardless of our political leanings.

It has been my contention that the lack of a real conversation about collective bargaining, a reminder about the proud history of labor law in Wisconsin, along with a healthy dose of how the political process should play out in the Capitol all should have been topics Democrats wrapped their arms around.

If we are not able to demonstrate what is at stake in campaigns with thoughtful dialogue, and smarter ads how are we to get a winner on election day who understands the role we wish them to serve at the statehouse? 

If we can not speak openly about collective bargaining now, but need to cover the airwaves with every other topic imaginable, how are voters to think that what people passionately cared about in March will ever see the light of day in the months to come?  Might collective bargaining be too hard a topic for Democrats to talk about once elected…given the hardship of mouthing the words during the campaign.

I may be wrong about the strategy that the Democrats employed for these recalls, and solid gains may be made come Tuesday.  But my gnawing gut is telling me that apart from Senator Kapanke  there is not going to be anything else to smile about for Democrats next week.

After the recalls I wonder who will hold themself responsible for the ad strategy?  Who then will think the endless amount of money that did not lift the electorate, but only muddied and confused the voters was a grand idea?

One Comment
  1. Charles Harris permalink
    August 7, 2011 8:26 PM

    Unfortunately if the Dems put up legitimate, substantive ads, they would most likely be ignored and the Republican slam ads would capture viewers attention and exact the greatest amount of influence on the outcome of the recall vote.

    With television– you need to fight propaganda with propaganda. Sad but true.

    Total Recall! Now!

    Charles Harris

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