After the Election, Reality Sets In
Kudos to the 70% of Wisconsinites who voted on Tuesday. Elections matter, and this one was historic.
I’m grateful that President Barack Obama earned a second term. Let the pundits and analysts pick apart his ground game and data-crunching, but as far as I’m concerned it was the triumph of reality over fantasy—of creating a realistic tax code vs. one that only works in an alternate universe; one that acknowledges that women should be in charge of their own destiny, not the state or one’s employer or the bishops; one that condemns rape, and doesn’t think it’s just another mode of conception; one that includes broad portions of our nation, not a shrinking but disciplined one.
So I’m grateful that Obama, and Obamacare, and reproductive freedom and sanity survived.
But what about Wisconsin? Despite a big win for Obama and Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (doesn’t that sound good?), Republicans advanced in the state Legislature. Chalk it up to gerrymandering and turning out voters on Republican turf.
I’ve heard that some feel the GOP will tone it down a bit. That the heat of the last legislative session will not be quite so hot. I’ve also heard that some Democrats think that they can bargain with Scott Walker, Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald (or whoever the GOP puts in leadership positions) on tough issues.
I say it’s not going to happen.
If anything, the Republican majority will be emboldened. They survived a tidal wave of their own making. Walker won the recall. The Senate was taken—temporarily, and mostly symbolically—by Democrats, but will go Republican again, either by a one- or two-vote majority. The Assembly is even more Republican than it was a week ago.
And as we saw last year, Republicans really aren’t concerned with including members of the minority party in their plans.
Even more worrying is Walker. He now has a national profile. There’s a void in the national Republican Party. The GOP needs a credible candidate in the near future. Walker is nothing but ambitious.
Do you see what I’m seeing?
So look for Walker to push through the rest of the conservative wish list, the stuff that will make Rove and the Koch brothers and ALEC get all excited. We’re talking making Wisconsin a right-to-work state. Expanding vouchers. Ramming through that mining bill. Ending the nuclear moratorium. Handing more tax breaks to corporations. And doing whatever it can to stymie “Obamacare” in Wisconsin. That’s the kind of “brass,” as Bill Clinton would put it, that the national GOP wants.
Here’s what the Club for Growth wants, according to an email sent out this morning:
That means Governor Walker and the legislature have a mandate to pass pro-growth policies, like iron mining legislation, tax cuts, regulatory relief, and education reform. Thanks to your support, once again Wisconsin Club for Growth played a pivitol [sic] role in last nights [sic] results.
And, for good measure, the Club for Growth noted that it dumped more than $1.5 million in TV ads attacking Jessica King and Dave Hansen. It’s going to want a return on its investment.
As we’ve seen Walker can wrap his extremist agenda in an Eagle-Scout-next-door persona. Now, he won’t attract African Americans, women and Latinos to his party, but you didn’t think that Republicans were serious about expanding their big tent, did you? Because they aren’t, at least not in substance.
It should be fascinating to watch how Wisconsin’s other right-wing rock-star, presidential heir apparent Paul Ryan, will handle Walker’s ambition.