Friday, June 1, 2012

Betrayed - By the Middle

One odd thing I've noticed about Scott Walker vs. Tom Barrett is the polls.  Poll numbers prior to Tom Barrett winning the Democratic Party nomination showed him leading, or nearly leading Walker.  After he won the nomination, suddenly he dropped several points, and Walker suddenly held a greater than 50% margin - something he never had. What's going on, here? Who did this bait-and-switch in the poll numbers, and why has this lead for Scott Walker apparently stayed put ever since?

The answer has to do with the people who are normally the smartest cookies in the bunch: the Wisconsin Moderates. These are the balanced people, the swing voters, the brilliant few who bother to see both sides. Their apparent take on the recall is that there shouldn't be a recall, not because they like Scott Walker, but because they are against partisan fights causing the early loss of a job. Theirs is a protest vote. They're not voting for Walker, they're voting against the recall.

I understand their thinking. Wisconsinites are supposed to be the cool people, the ones who can lay back, enjoy the good life, and not get uptight about things. (Unless it's a Packer game.) To this view, hauling off and firing a governor for being extremist is an extremism in itself, and just as bad. Walker won in 2010, and that's that. We'll sort it out in 2014 as part of the due process.

And there's Walker's margin of victory for you. 7% of people who dislike Walker, but also dislike the recall.

Well, this is proof that even the most balanced of us can fail to keep their eye on the ball occasionally. Recall elections are part of the "due process" as well.  The signatures were legit, the will of Wisconsinites was heard, and the recall is taking place.  That's just plain legit. And if you don't like Walker, and you have a second chance at voting for the right guy, why not get it right this time?

Let's remember that Walker won in 2010 because the majority stayed home. They figured it was typical laid-back Wisconsin politics-as-usual. The Obama-haters then took the day. In other words, it was EXACTLY the same recall mentality the center opposes, just directed to the right-wing. They couldn't recall Obama, so they got out the vote during a low-turnout year and elected Walker instead. The governor became someone to the right of Joe McCarthy. And now, after likely as not failing to vote at all, these stay-at-home folks are going to vote against the recall because it's - what? Not the Wisconsin way? Because it undoes this mistake? They're going to oppose the "extremism" that could erase the extremism? They're going to oppose healing the Dairy State? Oppose teaching extremists that they can't get away with it once we start paying attention?

Some of us feel that Walker hasn't done enough to warrant being fired. But if igniting a near-revolt in the very first two weeks of office and turning Wisconsin politics into a modern-day version of the Hatfields and McCoys isn't bad enough, what the FUCK does it take? Does he have to illegally use Milwaukee County staff members to wage a gubernatorial campaign? (Something which he very likely did!) Does he have to get a blow-job by an intern? Drive a girlfriend off a bridge? Does the governor have to be a convicted pedophile?

Nah, even that wouldn't work. We Wisconsinites are such a forgiving lot. Punishing a criminal is such a damned chore, such a needless hassle, we'd rather let the crook get away with it. It' s so much easier. It's the Wisconsin laid-back way.

Walker has become the Republican's Kennedy - he can get away with anything. He can do no wrong.

When Walker wins on Tuesday (and I predict that tragedy will happen), I suppose I could blame these 7% in the middle who swung in  his direction. But I can't. Not when 35% believe that right-wing extremism is actually an option. Not when these self-same will vote for any Republican, no matter how covered in shit he is. It's their fault. They swarmed the ballots during an off-year, and then convinced enough of the center that they're actually entitled to their victory, even if they trash the place.

Well played, my dear extremists. Well played.


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