Today on the Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan wrote an article on why the recall was a mistake. And he's hardly alone. There's others in the media, and here, who are now lecturing Wisconsin democrats and progressives as to the terrible blunder they've made. They are entitled to their opinions, but I will do my best to represent the other side of the debate.
Follow me below the fold to find out why it is gob smacking for those who believed in the recall fight to find themselves defending themselves---to other Democrats!
Monday morning quarterbacks are always irritating. That's why the cliche about them exists. The rear view mirror is something one always takes in sitting on their duff. It has its benefits, as there is rarely a bold political action taken, that should not be studied and learned from.
I wish to make it quite clear that I believe there is much to be learned yet about what went on in Wisconsin in this last year. It was huge, not just in that state, but nationally. And like all bell weather events, it takes time, perspective and context to come up with the truths. Most of all it takes time. 2 days isn't enough for anyone to get on a soap box and declare the recall a mistake, let alone Democrats.
I am struck by the fact that "the recall was a mistake" meme, seems to clash pretty noisily with the Democratic meme that Democrats don't know how to fight, don't know how to message, and back down too easily. And that meme is gigantic in this community and elsewhere.
So along comes the Wisconsin Recall, wherein democrats and progressives put the words "wishy washy" on the back burner. They don't just jump in the ring to fight, they CREATE THE RING.
Recalls may be legal in Wisconsin, but they're not easy to pull off. To give too many words to the amount of sweat it took to pull this off would be, hopefully, redundant here. Yes. Wisconsin Democrats and progressives blew the lid right off the idea that Democrats don't know how to fight.
I simply will not list the positives of the recall, again. I've done that enough, and frankly I'm damn tired of trying to justify, to other Democrats, the benefits of the fight, despite the loss.
But I will say this. If we have gotten to the point where we dare not risk the battle if we think we might lose, we're in worse shape than we ever dreamed. I find it amusing to contemplate the response to Obama here, if he'd actually taken on every fight on the personal agenda list of every Kossack, and lost. God help him.
This is an excellent example of how Democrats can't get the message straight. And I'll tell you one thing, the message that "the recall was a mistake!" because we lost, is NOT
the right message. And this kind of language is ABSOLUTELY the result of the loss, not the merits of the fight. If Wisconsin had succeeded in recalling Walker, we'd still be sweeping up the confetti here, and elsewhere.
One of the things we find in the aftermath of this election, is that 60% of Wisconsinites did not believe in a recall. This from a Washington Post poll, and exit polls, conducted on the day of the recall. Although there was anecdotal evidence of these feeling, they were NOT the meme of the day during the battle. Far from it. Again, that rear view mirror thing.
Above all, what is the proper response to governors like Walker? Some say it's to sit tight, wait for 4 years, and THEN lumber out of your recliner to vote. This view supports the idea that the only thing we citizens can do, the only way we can fight, is at the polls.
Well, considering what's happening with voter registration lately, I'd suggest we not bet on that.
Wisconsin's constitution makes it entirely LEGAL to recall. There was a reason for this, and it ain't fear of a serial murdering governor. The idea that the only reason to recall is
"misconduct" is as un-useful as it is impossible to agree on what "misconduct" means.
To those who are waiting for the revolution to save you from the incredible gallop of the oligarchy towards destroying our democracy, thank Wisconsin for teaching you a few things. If folks don't believe in legal recall, better put your dreams of larger rising ups on the back burner. If folks are willing---democratic folks---to make the problem those who got out there and took a bold swing and a miss, those who fought back beyond voting day, then we are in very deep weeds.