I'm still digesting our results here in Wisconsin.
We celebrate the national successes we had in coming in for the President and in defeating TeaBag Tommy Thompson to send a real Progressive Democrat, Tammy Baldwin, to the US Senate. We worked our butts off and I thank Daily Kos for putting the Baldwin campaign on their list of priorities.
Other results weren't so good. Due to money money money money and more money as well as newly and secretly gerrmandered districts, we weren't able to defeat Republicans Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble who were first elected in 2010 in 2 of the closest Congressional races in the country. Add to that our atrocious state and local media that allowed them to parade themselves as moderates by not informing the public of their active participation in the Republican extremism, hostage taking and obstructionism that has been the hallmark of this Congressional session. Just like Paul Ryan, until his national outing, the media is complicit in their masquerade.
And, sadly, Paul Ryan hung onto his Congressional Seat by winning the auction yesterday with the highest bid. He's never had to campaign for his seat before and Rob Zerban gave him a run for his money. So Ryan bought ads - lots and lots of ads. About $4-6 million of them. He didn't campaign and refused to debate. Our media didn't press him about either or even report his megabucks ads only campaign.
Citing his own decisive recall victory last June, Walker said voters decided that his reforms were working "and we are providing good results.Making Walker and the state GOP even happier is that they held onto their control of the State Assembly and took control of the State Senate.
"And they want more of that," he said.
Walker said that, since the recall, "things have calmed down in state government. ...My hope is that now that the elections are done, things can calm down in the state of Wisconsin and let's get back to work."
One thing that Walker can smile about is the fact his party controls both the state Senate and Assembly. This week Walker will meet with his staff to work out the details of a new state budget. The governor said he wanted to find new ways to match the needs of manufacturers, health-care companies and information technology firms with workers.It looks like he and his GOP allies are prepared to make FitzWalkerstan even more Fitzy next year.
Walker also said he would work next year to lower taxes on small businesses and help the heads of such companies get more access to capital.
We had hoped to keep the State Senate in Democratic hands, but money, media, and gerrymanderingtook their toll.
Republicans recaptured the state Senate on Tuesday, once again giving them the complete control of state government that they used to enact sweeping changes in the last legislative session.With 100% of the vote in, the race still hasn't been called. King leads in the reported vote, but a recount is likely necessary.
But their margin and sway in the upper house remained unclear because of a tight race in east central Wisconsin. Whether Republicans have a one- or two-seat majority in the Senate is pivotal because GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center has bucked his party on some key issues. Among the issues Republicans hope to take up in the next two-year session is loosening mining regulations - a proposal Schultz has resisted.
The fight over the Senate comes down to the race between Sen. Jessica King (D-Oshkosh) and Fond du Lac Common Council President Rick Gudex.
Rick Gudex, GOP 43,039 50%One bright note, however, is that Scott Walker is now going to have to scramble to cobble together compliance with the Affordable Care Act. He arrogantly assumed that all that GOP money and attack ads would buy the Presidency for Mitt Romney and ensure the repeal of "ObamaCare", so he decided to stop any activity required for state compliance with the ACA.
Jessica King, Dem (incumbant) 42,449 50%
Now the state is scrambling to decide by a Nov. 16 federal deadline whether Wisconsin wants to take charge of a virtual marketplace, or exchange, required by the law to allow consumers and small businesses to purchase health coverage. In just over a week, the state will have to say whether it can get that exchange running by January 2014 or will leave that task to the federal government.Wishing and hoping doesn't beat deadlines and all the rhetoric in the universe won't make his excuse that the dog ate his homework more palatable to federal health officials.
In Milwaukee Wednesday at an event focused on veterans, Walker said the state still had enough time to decide among three options: accept a federal run exchange; set up a statewide exchange; or a partnership combining the two.
They (the federal government) won't review that until as late as January," Walker said of the proposal. "Even after notifying them, we have until next fall to make modifications as we see fit."
So far Republicans, who regained control of the state Legislature Tuesday, have argued that officials should hold up Obamacare, not help to make it a reality. But critics like Bobby Peterson, head of the Madison nonprofit ABC for Health, say the state is squandering an opportunity to adapt its exchange to the needs of Wisconsin residents and businesses - a task at which Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration had taken a leading national role.This is another story I'm keeping my eyes on.
"If they (have to) put something in, it'll be rushed," Peterson said of the Walker administration. "They admit it doesn't have stakeholder input and it'd be a halfhearted effort and that's too bad."
While I celebrate our victories, our mixed bag of results means that we'll need to work even harder, if that's even possible, to defeat money, media, and gerrymandering in the future to retake our state government. That said, extremist Republicans tend to be their own worst enemies and put their own rakes in front of themselves to step on.
And then there's the John Doe that's still ongoing after 2 years ....