Now that the recall election is over at a cost of some $150 million or so from taxpayers, unions, private citizens, fat cats, special interests, etc. what has been accomplished? The standard answer seems to be "Status Quo." with Governor Walker retaining his post. I beg to disagree. I’m persuaded that the character of the American voter throughout the country has changed. What started out with a roar in a fit of pique on the part of some Wisconsinites to recall the Governor because they didn’t like his policies, ended with a whimper with the realization that it was dead wrong to utilize a recall function unless malfeasance in office was the reason.
Wisconsin voters from conservative to progressive recognized the this flaw and their character came to the fore, resulting in a greater margin of victory for Governor Walker in 2012 over 2010. Now that the dust has settled, Democrat leaders such as Barney Frank and Ed Rendell have admitted that the recall process was wrong. A little late – but welcome.
A better question might be, what was Mayor Barrett’s position on the validity of the recall process. I never heard – did you? I suspect that if Mayor Barrett has been quizzed prior to 2010 regarding his position of using the recall process to recall an elected official because one disagrees with his policies, he would have vehemently opposed such action. After all, Mayor Barrett has had a distinguished political career as a US Congressman and an eight year mayor of Milwaukee. His character has never been question.
So why didn’t Mayor Barrett exclude himself as a candidate to oppose Governor Walker? It’s been reported that his wife was singularly unenthusiastic about his candidacy – and I’m sure there were others. The story is that he succumbed to the pressure from the Democrat hierarchy brought to bear by Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel , President Obama’s former Chief of Staff.
Whether that story has any credence, it’s recounting I’m sure motivated many Wisconsin voters toward the Walker camp. They were disappointed that Mayor Barrett’s character was not sufficient to reject the siren song and turn down any interest in the nomination because it violated his character. To his credit, his concession speech was humble and congratulatory – happy that the ordeal was over where his heart wasn’t in it. However, why he allowed his Lieutenant Governor running mate, Mahlon Mitchell, to take over the podium is a mystery. Mr. Mitchell. a firebrand union leader, was anything but humble. He ranted and reviled the opposition, stating the fight would continue and that it was the audience’s duty to work harder and longer to make sure that President Obama was re-elected. It was a jarring end to the Democrat celebration party, demonstrating a total lack of character by Mr. Mitchell.
Now the recriminations have started. The malcontents are not interested in collaboration and participation, but excuses and fault-finding. Big casino is now "The Money." We were outspent and that’s the reason we lost. Actually the spending differential wasn’t that large if one counts all of the monies collected and spent since the start of the recall campaign. But a better question is why didn’t the big Democrat national supporters come through? Where were the DNC, the big unions, George Soros, et al. ? My answer is simple – their hearts weren’t into the recall. I like to surmise that their character did not permit them to assist a recall campaign based on a rationale they could not support.
My conclusion is that the Wisconsin voter directly and American voters in general, recognized that politics is not about power but about character. Right and wrong made a comeback here in Wisconsin, with right making a powerful statement over wrong. Let’s all hope that it continues far into the future.