Walker, Wisconsin Stranger


Never forget: If someone has a different opinion than you then they are “bad.” I, for one, still remember the basic lessons of kindergarten even if the rest of you have long forgotten.

This week in Wisconsin was a battle of epic distortions. No, not Scott Walker vs. Tom Barrett. That was a red herring.

Despite what Chicken Little told you about the legendary “lamestream” leftist media in this country, the truth is far simpler than that. It has a little something to do with the phrase, “If it bleeds it leads.” Corporations exist to make profits. Billionaires have lower tax rates. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. And the media, left, right or otherwise, likes to manufacture narratives to sell its product. Sensationalism is the low-hanging fruit of news. They are all about the flimflam. Metrics must be driven, like into the ground.

Thankfully I see it as my civic duty to shine the light of truth on the recent high jinks in Wisconsin.

This minor little fracas in Wisconsin was not the bellwether end-all prognostication of the 2012 presidential election. For weeks we’ve been fed the hype from talking heads and experts, which was happily passed along by our friends in the media: Scott Walker’s fate would determine the fate of the entire galaxy. If Walker lost then Romney was dog meat. If Walker won then Obama’s hope would turn into nope.

The only problem? That’s the wrong damn narrative.

In 2010 Scott Walker was elected the 45th governor of the Great State of Wisconsin. (He had tried previously in 2006 but couldn’t raise enough money and dropped out.) His campaign focused reduced taxes and reduced spending.


Wisconsin is a “blue state.” It has voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 1988. That’s six times elections in a row. Since 1972 it has voted Democratic 7 out of 10 times.

In 2012, though, it is considered a “swing state” that currently is leaning slightly in Obama’s favor. With Walker successfully fighting off a recall, the consensus seems to be that Republican’s chances to snatch Wisconsin’s electoral votes just improved.

Yep. Wrong narrative.

Here’s the narrative that I claim is more accurate. Take it for a “spin” and see what you think.

A Republican wins the Governor seat in a blue state. He then makes a highly controversial move and pisses off enough voters that a recall effort against him is initiated. The recall effort is successful at forcing a recall election.

Sure, there were enough pissed off voters to get the thing on the ballot, but the effort was a long shot from the day it was conceived. In the entire history of the United States of America only three governors have ever faced recall elections. (There was a fourth, Evan Mecham, Governor of Arizona in 1988, but the election never happened because he was impeached.)

How many governors have there been in United States history? I don’t know. A lot. And Scott Walker is one of an elite group of three to ever faced down a recall election. The other two lost and Walker clung to his seat with 54% of the vote.

Thus, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin becomes a governor “outlier.” One of the proud. One of the few.

The story here isn’t that he “won.” It’s that, pretty much, he hung on to a job that he already had by the skin of his teeth. That doesn’t sound quite as exciting, though, does it?

Now, this is the plan. Get your ass to Mars. See you at the party, Richter!

This is not the gigantor game-changer that it is being made out to be. It is the victors who traditionally rewrite history, isn’t it?

A possible alternative narrative is that Walker, win, lose or draw, is already one loser of a governor for being on the third governor in history to stare down a recall election.

It’s a great win, some say, because of the other odds that Walker faced. The “union money” and the “buses” of organized protests and such. Don’t buy it. This particular election is a fascinating study of the power of big money to influence elections. And despite the hubbub, it wasn’t “union money.”

Scott Walker outspent Tom Barrett by more than 7 to 1.

Think money doesn’t matter in elections? It was the most expensive race in Wisconsin history and the candidate with seven times more money got 54 percent of the vote. Interesting.

Where did Walker get his war chest? Two-thirds came from “out-of-state donors.” The out-of-state money came from “mostly rich guys who hate unions.” (Source: LA Times.)


As headlines go, that one needs a lot of work. For one thing it’s way too long. But that’s my proposal for the real narrative about the Scott Walker recall attempt. That some people are out celebrating this as some kind of “win” boggles my mind.

8 responses

  1. Awesome movie poster. Great post as usual Tom.


    1. I had the same idea for a “TOTAL RECALL” poster starring Scott Walker. Mine would have been funnier but laziness won out.

      I was doing random image searches when I found it:

      scott walker humor
      scott walker funny
      scott walker sucks
      scott walker evil

      Lots of fun. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment! 🙂


      1. I can not imagine the images you saw when you typed in Google for scott walker sucks.


  2. You already know my differing opinion on Scott Walker. Or as we pedants and poseurs say in Francais, “au contraire, mon cher.”

    I urge you to write about this other Walker.

    And here are some links that differ from your opinion:

    Excerpts from the first article:
    The unions and their allies put everything they had into “one of their most aggressive grass-roots campaigns ever,” as the Washington Post’s Peter Whoriskey and Dan Balz reported in a day-after piece. Fifty thousand volunteers made phone calls and knocked on 1.4 million doors to get out the vote against Gov. Scott Walker. Mr. Walker’s supporters, less deeply organized on the ground, had a considerable advantage in money…
    Money is important, as all but children know. But the line wasn’t very flattering to Wisconsin’s voters, implying that they were automatons drooling in front of the TV waiting to be told who to back. It was also demonstrably incorrect. Most voters, according to surveys, had made up their minds well before the heavy spending of the closing weeks


  3. I disagree with about everything that Walker stands for politically, but I’m glad that he won this recall — mostly because recall’s like this one are bullshit.

    Here’s a guy, fairly elected by the voters of his state, who did EXACTLY what he said he’d do during his campaign for office. No hookers, no drugs, no tweeted pics of his junk. Only what he said he’d do. That’s no reason for a recall.

    Boo hoo frickin’ hoo Wisconsin dems — maybe you should have worked harder in 2010 and gotten out the vote! You lost fair and square — suck it up until 2014.


  4. Sorry for the incorrect apostrophe use in my 1st sentence.


  5. Hahaha! I love that stevebetz apologized for his incorrect use of an apostrophe! Ha! Uhm, maybe apologizing for calling Wisconsin dems “frickin’hoo” (whatever that means) might’ve been more appropriate? But it’s all good…

    Here’s my thing: I’m scared of all the money too that’s being thrown around. Not just here but in the campaigns. We have NO money for anything at all, yet there’s about 2 billion being thrown around for the Presidential campaigns? Lord have mercy. I don’t care that it was out-of-state money that helped Walker — unfortunately, I thought this recall had problems from the start — and although I wouldn’t go as far as stevebetz, I have to sort of agree with some of his statements. But, the money…. corporations and individuals are determining our votes. I’m a little scared.

    Nice POST boo. And when I say “nice” remember I’m trying to be as negative as possible, you know, to go with your whole theme and such (ha!).


    1. He sensed the beat down that was heading his way and wisely groveled before it was too late.

      More comments on comments coming soon as time permits.

      Have a great day!


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