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We should have easily beaten Walker.  The guy has an inability to tell the truth, breaks the law, raised taxes on the middle class, has the worst job creation performance of any governor, failed to balance the budget, has creepy eyes, is shorter than Barrett, and is a union buster.

But we lost.  To this asshole.

Scott Walker closing statement May 31, 2012

Compared to Walker, Romney looks like a model candidate. One week after the Wisconsin loss, there are five important lessons that we should take to heart to avoid repeating the same mistakes in November.  

1. Lying has no downside.  Walker is the most dishonest governor in America according to politifact (politifact!), as just 11% of his statements are "true".  Yawn.  I know most of us lefties are shocked by how much Romney lies.  But in an age of unlimited money, lying is the new normal. Nobody cares about lying because...

2. Money is power.  Money is speech, and more money is louder speech.  When you are getting outspent 9 to 1, there's no debate, it's a monologue.  Loud lies will beat quiet truths all day long.  Everybody says that the problem was that the left couldn't sell people on the idea of the recall.  Well, somehow Walker sold everyone on the bizarre notion that county executive recalls are good (how he came to power), but governor recalls are bad.  We see this same pattern of lying and spending millions promoting the lies with Romney.  Money and lies work well together.

3. Corruption has no downside.  Every single person who worked for Walker in his county executive office was arrested or given immunity.  Yawn.  It didn't affect the election.  Walker's followers just thought the arrests were politically motivated, and nobody else heard much about it because of #2.  Most lefties/independents are cynical about politicians anyways, so if we're trying to increase turnout, a good corruption story just gives an advantage to team righty (they turn out regardless).

4. Unions are weak. Right now unions use old-school methods (e.g. going door to door with a clipboard), that don't seem to work.  In general, union members aren't the most charismatic or dynamic people out there -- even 38 percent of union members' spouses voted for Walker. Sending non-charismatic union folks door-to-door can't compete with a full-on Madison avenue marketing campaign that hits people in their living rooms.  Its like a sling shot versus a laser-guided missile.  The sling shot has some nostalgia, but I'd put my money on the Madison Avenue missile.

5. Whoever owns the word "freedom" wins.  I have no idea how the right has hijacked this word. Walker drops the word freedom all the time.  Here is a segment from Walker's 2011 inauguration speech.

Our rights as free people are given by our creator, not the government. Among these rights is the right to nurture our freedom and vitality through limited government.

These rights were articulated in our original constitution. They were never amended nor revised. And these rights are evident and expressed in our cherished freedoms. Among them... freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Article I, Section 22 of the state constitution reads so eloquently: "The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."

Today, in this inauguration, we affirm these values and fundamental principles. It is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people.

He says "free" eight times in these six consecutive sentences, and this speech is nearly identical to every speech he says.  Of course it's a lie.  The 400 billionaires who own more than half of the country and desperately want the other half sure don't seem concerned with freedom for anyone but themselves.

The only freedom the right offers is freedom from freedom -- freedom to be robots/slaves/dittoheads of those at the top who have all the money and power.  Those on the right repeat the lie that if we destroy the only thing standing between us and our would-be oppressors, freedom (not oppression) will magically appear.  

The left offers true freedom.  The freedom to spend time with your family, freedom to earn more money (via unions), freedom to grow, freedom to learn, freedom to say what you want, freedom to not be afraid of drinking dirty water, freedom to not go bankrupt when you are sick, freedom to leave your job and become an entrepreneur (because of Obamacare).

When people think of Obama, the first thing they need to think of is freedom.  When they think of Romney they need to think of oppression, because that is honestly the only thing that Republicans offer.  

That's why righty politicians have to lie so much -- they need 51% of people to sign up for greater oppression, which is a tough sell.

After witnessing Wisconsin, I'm convinced that the winning candidate will be the one who is most closely aligned with freedom.  Democrats are the only party that offers freedom, but the only problem is that we often lack the money to remind people of it.

Walker has taught me that the only thing that matters is talking about freedom.  That's it.  If we do that, we win.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Freedom! (cue Braveheart music) (6+ / 0-)

    We can do this.

    "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

    by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 08:51:19 AM PDT

  •  gads, took me three tries to tip (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quiet is the new loud

    which was ok, cause I've the freedom to tip, cause of what democrats do.

    •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      If you have the freedom to leave a tip on daily kos, thank a Democrat!  Love it.

      "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

      by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:12:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  quiet - there have been several diaries (3+ / 0-)

        some linked to press reports regarding the spending. It's clear that Walker and his affiliates did not spend 10X what Barrett and his affiliates spent. When all parties, on both sides, are counted the number is less than 5:1 and some are suggesting as low as 2:1. You might want to edit your diary. I don't think the 10:1 number can be supported.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:22:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Walker raised $30.5, and Barrett raised $3.9 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          antirove

          That's approximately 10 to 1.  

          http://www.motherjones.com/...

          "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

          by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:27:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you're missing the bigger picture (5+ / 0-)

            when you look at total expenditures on behalf of both candidates (union vs. pac money) and include the amounts raised by the candidates, the margin is closer to 2.5:1

            In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

            by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:48:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cool. (4+ / 0-)

              The problem is that it's tough to know exactly how much was spent on behalf of each candidate by outside PACs.  The Republicans invested a lot on the air.  The Dems invested a lot in the ground game (three OFA volunteers spent half a week living in my house here in WI).

              Another thing to think about is that the media outlets are corporate owned, and the editorial decisions about what went on the front page heavily favored Walker (e.g. "divide and conquer" was buried when that story came out, and instead the headlines were about the improving economy).

              But if we look at money for each candidate, it wasn't even close.  Also when I watched me TV, it wasn't even close.  

              "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

              by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:56:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Most Wisconsinites do not KNOW that Walker lies, (0+ / 0-)

                the extent of criminality he is involved in, or the extent to which Wisconsin laws were disregarded by state ReTHUGlicans and Walker.  Corporate media in the state did not and will not report it.

                "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?" Barry Goldwater

                by ranton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:13:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The Republican Billionaires (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quiet is the new loud, rcnewton

              got the results they wanted on the cheap, then.

              What would you think about instead of running against all Republicans, the way it's so often done here, we work on being sure we are more specific in our caricaturization of  Republican voters.  The Republican Billionaires bought the Walker result.  The Republican billionaire fat cats are running the Romney campaign.  Let's remind ourselves :  all Republicans aren't rich.  All southerners don't automatically vote against their own best interests. We need to stop the demeaning generalizations, the vinegar labels that are all we seem to offer to any and all Republicans in general.

                   

              Democrats - We represent America!

              by phonegery on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:39:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                phonegery

                Not sure if you are saying I am engaging in demeaning generalizations.  I certainly don't intend to.

                When I wrote "righties" I meant the ones making the decisions.  The billionaires. I guess I should clarify that in the diary.

                "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

                by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:57:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I like your diary, but you also say union people (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  quiet is the new loud, bunsk

                  aren't charismatic.  That is true in some cases, but sometimes it is nice to see real people. Also, it depends which people doesn't it? And isn't it sort of discriminatory to say that?

                  Your general point about freedom is correct, I would say.

                  •  As a union member, I meant no offense (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rosarugosa, rcnewton

                    I don't view charisma as a good or bad thing.  Just view it as a personality trait.  I meant no judgment.  I just am guessing from looking at my fellow union members that the majority of us are normal people -- we aren't professional salespeople.  Some more charming than others, but we aren't selected for our charm.

                    "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

                    by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:22:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  No, no. I meant no offense. (2+ / 0-)

                  I think as I slowly type, and quite often wander away from the original point of the topic.

                  I have the pleasure of having, and of getting to know,  two 'southern' sisters in law, as well as a niece.  These are sharp, educated, thoroughly charming women. I find these  wide  'Deliverance' (the movie) type generalizations offend me, on their behalf.  

                  We never did get around to talking politics.

                  And the vinegar mention?  You catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.

                  Maybe the better way to catch more voters would be ?

                  Democrats - We represent America!

                  by phonegery on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:14:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry phoneguy, I put that comment in the wrong (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    phonegery

                    place. I meant that for the person who wrote the diary, not you.

                    I agree with you about labeling Republicans. Some of them are jerks, but  most aren't. Nobody will vote for you if you call them stupid. You are right about sugar being better than vinegar.

          •  quiet, even using your numbers it is less than 8:1 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quiet is the new loud

            Given all the data now available, a 10:1 number is disingenuous. Even using your data the ratio is less than 8:1.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 12:14:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Words & framing matter (5+ / 0-)

    Words matter.  Framing matters.

    My state will soon have a referendum on repealing its gay marriage law.  I support marriage equality, and I want a yard sign and a bumper sticker that says, "Keep Government out of Families.  Vote NO on Ref. xxx "(or maybe vote YES depending on the wording of the ballot item).  That's the framing I want.

    •  Beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, rosarugosa

      That sounds like a good message to me.  If we win the labels, we win the war.

      Who wants to fight against freedom? You'd have to be crazy.

      And that's why the righties keep winning when they get people to focus on these deeper moral issues (e.g. freedom) instead of their financial best interest.

      "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

      by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:33:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You Can't Take a Near Copyrighted Rightwing Term (6+ / 0-)

    and drop it into the end stage of a campaign hoping to use it to win the election.

    "Freedom" to the voter after 40 years of rightwing propaganda means freedom from government, taxes and intellectuals.

    The fact is the right HAS hijacked the word. You may have an excellent idea for the longterm but it is a voter education project not something that can work for the immediate election.

    Never try to sell somebody something using something else you have to sell them first. Not when you're in a hurry, at least.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:35:54 AM PDT

    •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

      So you think we have to surrender the word freedom?  That is an awful big prize to just give away.  I mean, freedom is the heart of the country, isn't it?  

      Doing that leaves us with the scraps of the other moral virtues.

      I think if we use the word freedom, it would get the attention of the independents who lean right.  It would empower the left.

      I don't see a downside.

      "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

      by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:45:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the point is (3+ / 0-)

        the left has, recently, been associated with a larger, and more pervasive, federal government.  And a larger and more pervasive federal government, in the minds of most people, means less freedom.

        Take the ACA.  Most people see the mandate as less freedom -- taking away your right to make a decision -- whether or not to buy health insurance, and what kind of insurance to buy.  For example, it makes no sense for a young person to pay the high premiums associated with a low-deductible, more inclusive plan; it makes economic sense for a young person, who is unlikely to go to a doctor much, if at all, to save those premiums and buy, instead, a very high deductible, catastrophic plan.  But the ACA takes away the "freedom" to do that, in the name of the greater good of the people of the country as a whole.

        Or take something as silly as Bloomberg's drink limit.  Conservatives deride that as a loss of freedom to make that decision for yourself, even the freedom to make a "bad" decision for yourself.  Freedom, to much of the country, means that the government leaves you alone to make decisions that the government does not like -- more of a libertarian view, i.e., freedom means the government stays out of my life as much as possible.

        What this diary suggests is to sort of rebrand the whole notion of freedom, from "freedom means government leaves me alone and stays out of my life" to "freedom means the government needs to provide me the opportunity to do things" or "freedom means the government restricts somebody else in the name of what's good for me."  While those may well be good and proper things to do,  I just don't think that's how many people look at "freedom."  I don't think that a party that has of late been associated, in the public's mind, with more federal government control of people's lives in the name of a greater good (especially after the ACA)  can suddenly rebrand itself as a party supporting "freedom" in a libertarian sense. You'd have to rewrite the whole understanding of the word "freedom."  

        Right now, the notion of "freedom" is widely-associated with "government stays out of my life."  It would be a major, major, major thing to try to rebrand it to support more government involvement in people's lives.  

        And, frankly, I don't think the Democratic Party is focused primarily on maximizing "freedom."  I think that the Democratic Party is focused primarily on the greatest good for most people, even when that means some people have to give up some measure of "freedom."  The ACA is one example.  I can give you a number of other "losses of freedom by some in the name of the greater good" associated with the left -- from big things like regulatory limits on what you can contract for, or what you can do with your property, to higher taxes on the rich (which is a loss of "freedom" for those people to do what they want with their own money)  to little things like banning toys in Happy Meals.  

        I just don't think you can rewrite concepts like that.  I think you have to convince people that a policy that takes "freedom" from some in the name of a greater good for others is the right decision.  That's what the "tax the rich" argument is all about. I don't think you can try to delude them into thinking, for example, that a mandate, a regulatory restriction on what you can do with your business, or a ban on big drinks constitutes more "freedom."

        •  I hear you. But to me it sounds like surrender (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rosarugosa, Tonedevil, non acquiescer

          Obamacare really provides freedom to quit your job and become an entrepreneur, even if you have pre-existing conditions. Our current "free market" health care system mandates that we have to stick with a bad job if it provides benefits.  It also means that all of us with insurance pay for uninsured people who use the ER.  We have no freedom or choice in the matter.  We have to subsidize them with higher premiums.  With Obamacare, we make those free riders take personal responsibility, which frees us from that burden.

          My point is that only the independently wealthy are free. The rest of us have a boss.  The government is the only thing standing between us and our boss.  Less government means more boss control, not more independence.  

          I think this is really an important point for us on the left to make.

          Also, I think Bloomberg is currently a Republican, not a Dem.

          "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

          by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:48:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The outcry from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quiet is the new loud

            that Bloomberg drink thing has come more from the right, because it resonates with conservatives and libertarians -- the notion that the government should stay out of your life.  

            Do you really think that you can sell the ACA -- which provides not only a mandate as to buying insurance, but specifies exactly what kind of policy you have to buy, with what kind of coverage -- can be sold as "freedom"?  It may have good points overall, but it's clearly not "freedom."

            What you are saying is that  not having as much money as you want or need means you have no "freedom."  Americans have never, never, associated "freedom" with the balance in your bank account.  Instead, American notions of "freedom" are that the government DOESN'T treat you differently based on your bank account.  Differences in what you can, or cannot, buy based on the amount of money you earn have always been part of our system, and I don't think you will sell those as a lack of "freedom."  Most Americans believe that  people's decisions often play a large role in how much money they have -- that's the basis of our system.  The choices people make about education, about when they have children, about what training they get, about what kinds of work they are, or are not, willing to do -- all of these may not be totally determinative, but they affect what people can, and do, earn.  I think that most Americans equate that with freedom -- freedom to make choices, good or bad, that affect your life.  It's why most Americans are willing to see help go to people for whom such choices were impossible - like the disabled, for example, or children born into dire circumstances -- and less willing to see aid go to people whose situation in life is at least in part the result of their choices.  It's why the notion of drug-testing people for "welfare" benefits, which may make little sense economically or practically, has an emotional appeal for some people.

            I am in no way suggesting that Americans believe everyone can become a Billionaire.  But I think most Americans like the notion that their own choices contribute some to their lives -- in both a positive and negative way.  That's what they call "freedom," I think -- the ability to make good and bad decisions, and live with the consequences of those.  

            Now, it is perfectly legitimate to say that government needs to help those who have made bad choices in life -- doing poorly in school, or dropping out of school, having children as a teenager, becoming involved in illegal activities, or even choosing a profession or trade that is not marketable or pays little.  But if the government provides aid to people I don't see how you can label that "freedom."  Most people do not think of "freedom" as something that the government provides to you.   And, because most government benefits come with strings, most people view it as trading a loss of freedom in exchange for some benefit from the government.  

            If you want to rewrite freedom to mean, "the government provides a benefit to you," I just don't think that will sell.  I don't see the words "freedom" and "the government provides" as working together, given the ingrained notion that freedom generally means freedom FROM government intrusion.  

  •  The RW message was simple, clear and repeated for (3+ / 0-)

    months:
    "He did what he said he would and it worked."

    This was never answered:
    "He did what he said he wouldn't do and it doesn't work."

    And certainly wasn't answered in March and April when most people made up their minds.

  •  Why keep on avoiding the clear-cut and obvious? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quiet is the new loud, phonegery

    Walker won because his programs protected the financial wellbeing of the average Wisconsin taxpayer who is being squeezed during this Great Depression. Walker recognized and capiitalized on the gap between the income and perks of union members in the public sector and the average working stiff who is struggling to keep his/her head above water.

    All other attempts to rationailize Walker's victory are besides the point.    

    •  The problem is he didn't do this. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubyr, rosarugosa, non acquiescer, GeoffT

      But this is what he said he did.  He got rid of the earned income tax credit (raised taxes on working families).  He squeezed every school and municipality in the state financially.

      He gave over $2 billion in tax breaks to corporations and billionaires.

      But he played on the public versus private sector divide.  The private sector thought they were hurting more than the public sector, and he knew it would be fun for the private sector to see the public sector squirm.    

      "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

      by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:55:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The unions have been demonized (3+ / 0-)

      by the Republican Party forever.  The fact that many union members wages are paid with tax dollars has been the stick used to beat them.  Too bad it worked so well.  

      Rachel Maddow had a show, in 2011, which I can't find right now.  In it, she made the point that the only organizations  able to effectively stand up to the Rich Republicans, the Capitialists,  was the Unions.  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:55:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How can any message work (4+ / 0-)

    when the right wing controls the media and therefore the narrative? My suggestion would be for Democrats to stop appearing on cable news shows, especially on Fox and CNN, and avoid Morning Joe as well. If those stations or shows want them on, than it needs to be on their terms, i.e., they will not appear with Republicans, and they will not be interrupted. In other words, the Democrats must control their message, not let the right wing media control it.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 12:02:40 PM PDT

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