Prediction For Scott Walker Recall Election

There is no doubt that this nation needs a ‘Jimmy Stewart’ moment.  One of those old-fashioned underdog pulls an upset type experiences that makes people know at the end of the day the good guy can still win.

There is also no doubt that Wisconsin is the place that desperately needs a Frank Capra sheen to spread across the landscape which allows for healing, and the lowering of rancor that has developed due to the collective bargaining fight.

It all sounds nice but my gut tells me this will not happen on Tuesday.

Over the past months one thing is very clear.  Scott Walker has run a very competent and structured campaign. One does not have to like him to recognize his political capabilities. 

Scott Walker has stayed on message, and his strong narrative–for all the actual flaws and shortcomings with his policies–has allowed him to stay in the lead according to various polls.

Scott Walker has whored for every dollar from every conservative across the nation willing to strike a deal, and as such has had far more capability to advertise.  The unseemly side to politics is not new, to be sure, but to have witnessed it up close is a stark reminder of why real campaign finance reform is most needed.

Tom Barrett remains the nice man in the race. That is not a political statement, that is just a plain fact. 

He is intelligent and would make an excellent governor.  I recall Barrett’s days in the state legislature, and his easy comfortable nature allowed him to reach his goals and bring people together.  That would be a tremendous asset in this troubled time we now find ourselves.

The problem, however, is that Barrett is not able to excite the electorate in a way that is needed when the race is close, and every vote is needed.

I have had concerns from the start of the recall about the Democratic messaging, and the lack of focus about the reason we are at this moment in our state’s history.  And make no mistake about it, this is a historical moment we are living.

Collective bargaining and the abuse of the process of government are the reasons for the recall.  That is what brought the Democrats to the dance.  To change topics and focus on issues as if this were a general election contest undermines the gravity of the moment.  By doing so makes some think this election is nothing more than a ‘do-over’.  By allowing that thinking to occur cheapens all that we have fought for.  I find that very disheartening.

The political landscape is tough for a recall, and rightly so.  I am not convinced that Kathleen Falk would have fared any better given all the dynamics of the race, but I think there would have been more union enthusiasm for her candidacy.

There are plenty of reasons to vote, and large numbers are anticipated to head to the polls. Perhaps as high as 65% statewide turnout, according to the GAB.  I predict the statewide turnout closer to the low-end of their assumptions, at 60%.  Though in places around Dane County, and in Madison I expect to see some stunning turnouts well above 60%.

The end result of all the voting, however, will not be in the best interest of Wisconsin.

Scott Walker wins with 52% of the vote.  I am not sold on the idea this race is tightening as some have suggested. People are not being swayed, they know exactly how they plan to cast a ballot.

I think the enthusiasm gap among the parties is the telling point in this recall.  Who would have thought that would be the case seven months ago?  Republicans are fired up, conservatives are lined up, and as nice as Barrett is there remains a lackadaisical response about his candidacy from many average voters.

Rebecca Kleefisch wins, of course, though with fewer votes than Walker since many will enter the polling place and say “Rebecca who?”

The state senate will not have a Democratic majority due to the Walker recall race drawing out so many Republicans in the four districts where elections are being held.

Turnout Key To Recall Election

No rocket science here.

This is a close race, closer than it was a couple weeks ago. Scott Walker’s still the favorite but Barrett’s prospects for an upset look better than they have in a long time.

“What’s going to determine Tuesday’s outcome is pretty simple,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “If Democrats turn out in the same numbers that they did in 2008 Tom Barrett will win a surprise victory. And if they don’t Scott Walker will survive.”

Tom Barrett Wins Second Debate With Scott Walker, Mike Gousha True Professional Broadcaster

What a difference a few days can make when it comes to debating your political opponent.  While I was not impressed with the first performance from  Tom Barrett last week, I was thrilled with his demeanor and framing of the questions that were asked  Thursday night.

With conviction and well-crafted responses Tom Barrett projected strength and a no-nonsense manner that appeared to set Scott Walker back during the hour-long debate.  One of my complaints from the first debate was that Walker never appeared to be knocked from his narrative.  That was not the case Thursday.

Time after time Barrett made sharp comparisons with Walker, and used his time most effectively to underscore the reason this state is facing a recall election, and how he would work to fix the problems we face.  Walker was forced to respond to the charges that were leveled against him.

While Walker was all sunshine and able to dance around the questions in last week’s debate, he had to adjust to a much more professional moderator who peppered the candidates with questions aimed at drawing out more thoughtful and comprehensive answers.  Mike Gousha knows Wisconsin politics, and also is not one to allow for a non-answer to continue taking up valuable air time.  

It was apparent that Walker had been coached on how to try to achieve this political skill of eating up time in a debate, but Gousha has dealt with the ‘Walkers’ of politics before, and pressed forward.  It was one of the best debates I have watched in some time, in large measure due to how Gousha framed the questions, used time for the advantage of the audience, and focused on issues that mattered.

The punch line of the night concerned the John Doe probe.  With almost an actors sense of timing Barrett delivered the line that will reverberate around the lunch counters and offices Friday.  He stated ““I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.”

I also had to clap when Barrett noted he has been in public life for 28 years and no one from his staff has ever been charged with a crime, and he’s never had a criminal defense fund.  (Walker is the only sitting governor in the nation with a criminal defense fund.)

The most telling response about the intentions of Walker was when pressed to answer if he would sign or veto a bill creating a right-to-work state, the only thing the governor could offer was that the legislation “would not get” to his desk, and as such would not specifically answer the question.  Duck and run  works best when no one is watching.  In front of a live statewide audience it was a most revealing moment about Walker who has proved to be dishonest, and prone to radical lurches to the far-right.

The most emotional part of the debate concerned the attack ad from the Walker campaign showing a dead baby.  It was clear Barrett was angry, and took time to call the governor out on it.  Looking at Walker and pressing his point the mayor said “that is Willie Horton stuff,” and “you should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker.”

Will the debate move people to change their minds?  No.  At this stage no one not in a coma (as noted in a funny way in a recent edition of the Isthmus) is truly undecided.  For at least 15 months Wisconsin voters have known what they would do if a recall election took place.

What I think the debate might have achieved is building on the abundant energy to get Democrats to the polls in record numbers.  Barrett delivered a dynamic debate performance that we can be proud of as the campaign enters the final weekend with a sharp contrast with Walker, whose only objective is  “divide and conquer.”

Tom Barrett showed during the debate Wisconsin has another path it can take come Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Family Member Gives $50,000 To Scott Walker For Recall Election

This should make all those who work at Wal-Mart proud.  Do Wal-Mart employees still do that ridiculous cheer that once was shown on 60 Minutes?  If so they now have something to scream about–rather than cheer for!

Scott Walker has created, and continually pushes for public policies that undermines the very type of people who work at Wal-Mart.  Then to rub salt into the wound a rich old heiress–in most parts they are called an old crone— gives a large cash donation to the very person most responsible in Wisconsin for the hard times.

The Wal-Mart workers are supposed to smile through all this as Scott Walker swaggers as he tries to hold his head in such a way so the cameras can not glimpse the ever-growing bald spot that reminds me of a glacier melt.  Meanwhile their lives are adversely impacted from the policies of the Walker administration.

Gov. Scott Walker took in six contributions above the normal $10,000 limit during a recent four-week period, including one from the richest woman in the world, according to a newly filed report.

Christy Walton, a Walmart heiress active in the school voucher movement, gave Walker $50,000, the report shows. Forbes lists Walton as the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $25.3 billion.

The other donations above the usual limit were: $25,000 from Grant E. Nelson of Prescott, Wis., who heads a large foundation; $25,000 from Richard Uihlein, CEO of Illinois packaging company Uline; $25,000 from Fred Fehsenfeld, chairman of the executive committee for the Heritage Group in Indianapolis; $25,000 from Robert McNair, CEO of the Houston Texans football team; and $20,000 from Gary Reynolds, CEO of GMR Marketing of Delafield.

Normally, donors can give a maximum of $10,000 to a candidate for governor. But donors can give any amount to defray expenses incurred from the time recall petitions are taken out to the time a recall election is called.

Walker’s Democratic opponent in Tuesday’s recall election, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, has had to comply with the normal limits throughout the campaign.

Huge Turnout Predicted For Wisconsin Recall Election Of Scott Walker

This is going to be so exciting…maybe even historic.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is predicting that between 60 and 65 percent of the voting age population — approximately 2.6 to 2.8 million people — will cast regular and absentee ballots for the Tuesday, June 5 recall election, according to a press release by the GAB.

“Wisconsin has never had a statewide recall election, which makes predicting turnout difficult,” said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the GAB. “We typically look at history for guidance in predicting turnout. We expect turnout for this election to be much higher than the 49.7 percent turnout in the 2010 General Election for Governor, but not as high as the 69.2 percent turnout in the 2008 General Election for President of the United States.”

That prediction would shatter the previous record of voter turnout in a November gubernatorial election in the last 50 years of 52.4% in 1962.

Tom Barrett Needs To Campaign On Collective Bargaining

Milwaukee Story hits the chord CP has been making over and over.

why is it then this recall campaign…. is about anything but collective bargaining? Why has the discussion been about whose job creation numbers are more accurate or about Walker’s legal defense fund and his emails?

But I would argue that unless Barrett makes collective bargaining a focal point of his campaign in the last week before the recall election, he will not win even though he within striking distance according the the most recent polling. Despite raising and spending nearly $25 million as compared to Barrett’s paltry $1 million, and dominating the television for months where Wisconsin elections are usually won, Walker still, even in polls he’s leading in, can’t get over the 50 percent mark.

Tom Barrett Grasping For Anything While Seeking Votes In Recall Race

I think Tom Barrett would make a great top executive for the state of Wisconsin.  He has the skills and intellect to move this state forward.  But before he can tap into his background and expertise to lead this state, he must first win the recall election.

That is where Barrett is coming up short.

The problem is that Tom Barrett is just not a good campaigner.  His best abilities are in exercising power, not in tying to gain it. 

Today another example of what comes across as desperate politics, and rather freshman-like campaigning, happened in Baraboo.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stepped up his criticism of Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday by questioning whether he would pardon any of his aides charged in a John Doe investigation.

“I want to be certain that we’re not going to have this election and he’s going to turn around and pardon all these aides of his who have been charged,” he said after a campaign stop at a Baraboo coffee shop. “I just want him to say that he’s never going to pardon any of these people. These are close associates of his.”

Is this really what Tom Barrett thinks is likely to happen?  I truly do not think so.  There is nothing to suggest that Walker would pardon anyone for anything.  One can say many things about Walker, and this blog has uttered its fair share, but giving pardons to people caught up in the John Doe probe is making a leap that any serious candidate might have tried to avoid.

It is this type of campaign theatrics that, while not new, is just beneath the dignity voters deserve.  Voters, I might add, who are really looking for seriousness in this time of great division in our state.

While I understand the desire to get the Walker probe story into the headlines running up to the election, I also understand the desire of the electorate to be treated liked adults.  Adults with real angst about the way this state has been run for the past 15 months.


Scott Walker Wins First Debate Of Recall Election

In the first minute of Friday night’s Wisconsin gubernatorial recall debate I was reminded of something that happened in 1979.

Roger Mudd was seated with Senator Ted Kennedy for an interview, and asked what seemed like a most obvious question.  Senator, why do you want to be president?  Instead of a firm and convincing response Kennedy offered a weak and hollow series of sentences. 

The first question of the Wisconsin debate went to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and was one of those obvious ones that a candidate should be prepared to blast out of the ballpark.  Basically, why are Wisconsin voters here in another election less than half-way through the first term of the sitting governor?

Since this recall election is about the undermining of the process of government due to a partisan power play by conservative Scott Walker, one might assume some tough words might have been employed to make that point. 

Instead Barrett repeated his points about a divided state, and used the term ‘civil war’, but failed to connect the dots and drive home the message for the average viewer at home about the reasons a recall election is taking place.   

I do not want to hear about job creation or how neighbors do not speak to each other based on policy differences. While these matters are important the fact that we are racing towards history with this recall means higher ideals about government along with the process used in the Capitol should be front and center.

I am not sure why it is so difficult for the Democratic nominee to make the case over and over about the process being misused in the statehouse in order to pass the collective bargaining billThat is, after all, why this recall is taking place.

We are not at this state of affairs over education dollars or health care.  Those are matters that get debated every two years at election time, and will make for headlines when the next regular governor’s race gets underway. 

This recall election is unique by design, and needs to be treated as such by the candidate wishing to replace Walker. 

I never got the feeling that Barrett wished to drive the message home during the debate.  The governing process should be front and center when it comes to this recall election. Walker over-reached on a bill that he never addressed in the general election in 2010, and then used tactics that ran counter to the way the process normally operates in a bid to get it passed.   

The reason for this recall is not about John Doe probes, or education, or crime rates.  How difficult is it for this point to sink in, and how far away from victory must Democrats be before they understand this?

Since Walker was not pushed back into the fence during the debate, and was able to continue his narrative for this race, there is no other way to judge the outcome of the debate except to score it a win for Walker.

There is a need for something to shake this dismal race up, but I do not see anything happening that will alter the outcome of Walker winning.  At this time I think it very probable that Walker wins by a larger margin then he did when defeating Barrett the first time.