Welcome to the second part of tonight’s Friday Nite Lite, we have come to the “cheese” portion of the evening, so pour yourself a tall glass of milk, in fact… a cup of tea would also go nicely with the cartoons I have for you tonight. These selections are self-explanatory…so enjoy!
And here is my favorite of tonight’s selections, from Ted Rall: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate – 06/08/2012
My anticipation about Tuesday’s election was high. My information about the how, why, when and what of this recall election came from the Left side of politics. I generally avoid the blogs and the radio and television shows of the Right.
I am pro-union because I am pro-worker. No business can operate without employees, no business can succeed without employees. Employees are a vital part of any business and are, all too often, dismissed or ignored when the success of owners and CEOs are applauded. And unions give employees a voice in working conditions, employee safety, wages, health care and pensions. Within large companies and/or corporations individual employees have relatively no chance to ensure their health and welfare, along with what they are paid. That isn’t saying that employee versus employer is a good guy versus bad guy situation. It is more like one person, with no weapons, facing another armed with guns, ample ammunitions, tanks, missiles and more. Or even going into a poker game where one person is dealt a single card while the other has six cards. It simply isn’t a level playing field.
Regardless of what news outlet you follow, there have been a wide variety of speculations, theories and hypotheses about why the election turned out as it did. Personally, I don’t think the outcome can be narrowed down to one single reason that Walker won the election or that Barrett lost.
Walker is only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall. The other two both lost and were recalled. Each of the political pundits is feverishly competing to come up with the definitive explanation for this outcome. Personally I think the bigger story is the solidification of the division between the opposing sides and the repercussions which will follow for, not only, the state of Wisconsin but the rest of the country as well. Families and friendships have broken apart because of this battle. For me it seems our increasingly contentious political system is becoming as toxic as the lead up to the Civil War and the animosity between those who supported slavery and the abolitionists.
Initially, I felt certain that the imbalance of money in the election would be the determining factor in the election (Walker is estimated to have outspent Barrett 7 to 1). After reading some of the post election coverage, I am not so sure that the enormous amount of money spent (estimated at $60 million) really had much impact on how people voted. In a piece at HuffPo, it was pointed out that the vote split in the recall almost matched the initial faceoff between Walker and Barrett. Basically the people of Wisconsin voted this time the way they voted in the governor’s race in 2010. The undecided voters only amounted to about 8%, with new voters accounting for around 13%. To me that means that those 8% were the only ones who might have been influenced by “the money” issue. The article goes on to say that Walker managed to turn out a higher percentage of his original supporters than did Barrett.
Joshua Holland has a similar take on Alternet called 8 Ways Right-Wingers Are Blowing Wisconsin Out of Proportion. He says the Right Wingers
claimed the outcome spelled doom for Obama this fall, marked the death of the labor movement and was a pure reflection of voters’ love for Scott Walker’s economy-crushing austerity policies.
He goes on to refute the rest of the Right Wing’s claims. Check out the post because it is worth your time.
Recall elections are few and far between in the U.S., as evidenced by my earlier point that Walker is only the third governor in our history to face a recall election. Several sources, including the one I’ve cited above, have put forth that about a third of people polled don’t support recall elections unless the politician has done something egregious, like committing a crime. Their political affiliation doesn’t matter. The seriousness of the offense is the concern of to the voting public regardless of political party. What that says to me is that most voters believe in democracy, meaning the voters have chosen and the person with the most votes, whether or not you voted for him/her, is the winner. Shut up, bite the bullet and let the winner serve out their term. (NOTE: I am not saying that I believe we actually live in a democracy, but that the general public believes in democracy and that our American system is a democracy……..because that is what they have been told. The formerly and currently disenfranchised probably have a different perspective).
Add to this that the opinion of unions, unlike in the mid 20th century, is mostly negative. After about 50 years of chipping away at the number of American workers who belong to a union or have a union member in the family, the number of union workers has declined substantially. Where once both union and non-union workers banded together in solidarity, it has become a mostly contentious relationship, where union workers are seen as greedy, lazy and recipients of unfair pay scales, benefits and pensions. Big business has succeeded in demonizing the collective power of unions who were responsible for the 5 day 40 hours work week, minimum wage, paid sick time and the formation of OSHA to protect the safety of workers on their job. For me, that is the story, not the fact that Walker successfully kept his job. It’s the workers and employees of America that are the losers in this race.
And then there is Jon Stewart’s take on the recall:
crossposted from ecocatwoman.blogspot.com
Good evening, feeling like a zombie about now, but not one that is in the mood for some KFH…Kentucky Fried Human. I have a few links for you tonight, so let’s get to them.
Walker is still being investigated…right? Talk of Higher Office Swirls Around Wisconsin’s Scott Walker
Two years ago, Gov. Scott Walker was a county executive, little known outside the Milwaukee area. By Tuesday night, after surviving a bitterly fought recall election, he was taking congratulatory calls from some of the top names in Republican politics, including Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate; Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union; and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who leads the Republican Governors Association.
Mr. Walker, who held a meeting of his cabinet on Wednesday, said he planned to focus, postelection, on Wisconsin’s problems. Elsewhere, though, some other Republicans were raising his name as a future contender for higher office. A presidential hopeful in four years? One to consider on the list of vice-presidential possibilities? Between his uncompromising stance on cutting pension benefits and collective bargaining rights for public workers and then his contentious fight to hold onto his job, Mr. Walker has catapulted into the national spotlight.
“Overnight, he is going to be the No. 1 conservative going forward if he wants to play that role,” said Richard Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail pioneer, who noted that the recall election had likely left Mr. Walker, who raised more than $30 million to keep his job, with a large, useful database of national donors. “Since the time that Ronald Reagan left the national stage, many have auditioned for the spot, but they all come up short. Scott Walker moves into that vacuum.”
Please, someone bash my brain in…and end it before the real asshole GOP Apocalypse hits.
Oh wait, what is this? Hmmmm, Florida tells Justice Department that state’s purge of noncitizen voters is legit.
A defiant Gov. Rick Scott refused to back off of a controversial effort to purge non-citizens from voter rolls and instead demanded Wednesday that the Justice Department tell his administration how to clean up the rolls to “protect the integrity of elections and ensure that eligible voters have their votes counted.”
The Justice Department had given Scott’s administration until Wednesday to respond to its request that it drop the non-citizen voter purge or face further action. Late Wednesday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner responded in a four-page letter with questions of his own, telling the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Division chief, T. Christian Herren Jr., to reply by Monday.
Detzner said the process is legal and blamed the problematic purge on the federal government, for failing to grant the state access to the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE database. That database that has more up-to-date information regarding citizenship than the driver license records the state relied upon, Detzner said.
For at least nine months, Homeland Security has ignored requests from the state to gain access to SAVE. Detzner accused the Obama Administration of stalling so that purge would violate the 90-day restriction. “This hardly seems like an approach designed to protect the integrity of elections and ensure that eligible voters have their votes counted,” Detzner wrote.
On Friday the American Civil Liberties Union and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law notified Detzner that they intended to sue unless the state drops the voter purge.
Tomorrow is Friday, if my zombie brain is working correctly. Let’s see what happens.
I also find this bit of information interesting: Jury heavy with Penn Staters picked to hear child sex abuse case against ex-assistant coach
Do you think they will remain bias to the case, or will the victims become victims again.
There is also this: Alarming Assaults On Women In Egypt’s Tahrir
Her screams were not drowned out by the clamor of the crazed mob of nearly 200 men around her. An endless number of hands reached toward the woman in the red shirt in an assault scene that lasted less than 15 minutes but felt more like an hour.
She was pushed by the sea of men for about a block into a side street from Tahrir Square. Many of the men were trying to break up the frenzy, but it was impossible to tell who was helping and who was assaulting. Pushed against the wall, the unknown woman’s head finally disappeared. Her screams grew fainter, then stopped. Her slender tall frame had clearly given way. She apparently had passed out.
The helping hands finally splashed the attackers with bottles of water to chase them away.
The assault late Tuesday was witnessed by an Associated Press reporter who was almost overwhelmed by the crowd herself and had to be pulled to safety by men who ferried her out of the melee in an open Jeep.
Reports of assaults on women in Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year, have been on the rise with a new round of mass protests to denounce a mixed verdict against the ousted leader and his sons in a trial last week.
The late Tuesday assault was the last straw for many. Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square. They recognize it is part of a bigger social problem that has largely gone unpunished in Egypt. But the phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a micro-model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak’s ouster.
Alright, that is all folks…goodnight!
The polls are still open until 8 pm in Wisconsin but exit polls and extraordinary turnout show the race is very close. We’ll be updating this thread as the evening progresses so stay tuned.
Early exit polling of voters in the Wisconsin recall election showed a close contest, with a clear majority of voters having made up their minds well before the final weeks which saw intense campaigning on both sides of the aisle. The CNN exit polls showed that nearly nine of ten voters made their decisions prior to May, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. Petitions for the recall election circulated after Walker signed a bill last spring which cut collective bargaining rights for many state employees, prompting massive protests at the state house.
Voters in line before 8 pm must be allowed to vote. This could be a late night in precincts where turn out is at historic levels.
First, exits show President Obama with a 6 point margin over Romney among this special election electorate. Big deal? Not necessarily. Most polls with showed Walker with a margin over Barrett showed Obama with an even bigger margin over Romney. Judged in partisan terms, voters were inconsistent, which they often are. No surprise there. So we shouldn’t be surprised by this finding.
Second and more significant, the percentage of union households in the electorate jumped 6 points since 2010. That’s significant and very welcome news for the Dems and for the Barrett campaign. Whether it’s enough is a whole different questions. But that’s significant.
Voters in this electorate also have a very narrowly positive take on unions. Again, encouraging for the Dems. But you need to see big numbers to think there’s a good chance of overcoming the advantage Walker had in the polls.
Next, absentee ballots. Chuck Todd says between 10% and 12% of the electorate voted absentee. What does that tell us? No idea. Only another big unpredictable and wild card.
Preliminary exit poll results indicate an uptick in turnout among voters from union households – something Democrats were hoping for in their effort to oust Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.
But whether that holds as voters continue to head to the polls, and whether it is enough to give Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee the edge, are open questions at this point.
About a third of voters in preliminary exit poll results say they or someone in their household belong to a labor union. That is an increase from 2010 and 2008, when 26 percent of voters in each of those elections were from a union household.
High union turnout is crucial for the Democrats. In 2010, 63 percent of voters in union households supported Mr. Barrett, compared with 37 percent for Mr. Walker.
Today is the day of reckoning for Wisconsin. Voters will go to the polls today to decide the fate of Governor Scott Walker and five other Wisconsin Republicans: the Lieutenant Governor and four state senators. If the Democrats can win just one of those seats, they will regain the senate majority.
I think everyone here knows the genesis of this recall battle, but here’s a quick explainer from Chris Cillizza at the WaPo. Cillizza also speculates on possible surprising outcomes from the election.
Cillizza allows that Barrett could conceivably win and the Democrats could retake the senate–the latest poll by PPP had Walker leading by only 3 points, within the margin of error. The poll also suggested that Barrett had the momentum as of yesterday. On the other hand, InTrade had Walker’s chances at more than 90% late last night. The truth is no one really knows for sure, because the turnout and enthusiasm on each side will tell the tale. Cillizza, being a Villager, still thinks Walker will win, but thinks the Senate could switch.
When they filed petitions to recall Walker himself last fall, Democrats also filed papers to recall another four state senators — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Sens. Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard, (Galloway resigned earlier this year; Republican state Rep. Jerry Petrowski is running for her seat.)
They need only win one race to take control.
Fitzgerald is likely safe given his heavily Republican district, although Lori Compas, his Democratic rival, has attracted a lot of media attention.
But Democrats are bullish on the races against Moulton and Wanggaard. Both districts went for President Obama in 2008; Wanggaard’s went narrowly for John Kerry in 2004. Whether Barrett wins or not, they expect to take back the state Senate.
Moulton faces former state Rep. Kristen Dexter; Wanggaard faces former state Sen. John Lehman (D). Outside groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on both sides. State Rep. Donna Seidel (D) also has a shot at beating Petrowski; before Galloway the seat had gone Democratic for two decades.
Cillizza points out that if Barrett wins and the Democrats take the state senate and could get some of the Walker legislation overturned before another election could give the senate back to the Republicans. The other possibility, Cillizza mentions is that Democrats could defeat Walker’s Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, but that’s pretty unlikely. She’s leading in the polls at the moment.
The Seattle Times had a good article on Sunday about the national issues that are at stake in the election today.
Under fire for cutting budgets at the expense of public employees, Walker would be the third governor in U.S. history yanked from office in a recall election. Walker has an edge, but the race is close.
The campaign will mean more than who governs Wisconsin. It’s a test case of the larger clashes in American politics that are driving elections for the presidency and control of Congress, highlighting divisions over the costs of government.
With more than $30 million raised from conservative donors, many of them from other states, and visits from a who’s who of high-profile Republican governors (New Jersey’s Chris Christie, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell), Walker’s campaign to survive the recall has the feel, the money and the stakes of a national race.
The state vote is raising questions that will echo nationwide. Can a tough-minded conservative Republican force cuts in government at the risk of angering public-employees unions and win a swing state such as Wisconsin? Will voters think he’s doing the best he can in a tough time? Or will they rise in a grass-roots backlash against the well-financed Republican effort?
Admittedly, that article has a Republican flavor, but it does do a pretty good job of spelling out the issues. For a more left-wing perspective, here’s a lengthy piece at by Sarah Jaffe of Alternet: Wisconsin’s Recall Drama Down to Nail-Biting Finish.
Wisconsin’s recall is, as reporter John Nichols put it, the kind of “renegade politics” that are disdained by the national Democratic party and even some state Democrats. It is being driven by the same activists who turned out by the thousands to occupy their capitol when Governor Scott Walker attacked workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively.
Now, a day before the biggest recall yet—of Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators—the fight will be won or lost where it began: on the ground.
There’s a lot of big outside money pouring into Wisconsin, mostly to pump up Walker’s attempt to hang on to his seat, but the one thing that money can’t buy is an excited, driven grassroots movement. If Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett beats Walker on Tuesday, it will be because of thousands of volunteers getting out the vote person by person.
“This is really a case of Walker raising $13 million against possibly the most widespread grassroots get-out-the-vote effort in the state’s history,” Matt Reiter, co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told AlterNet.
Please try to check that one out. It’s long, and very informative. John Nichols of The Nation (mentioned prominently in Jaffe’s piece) is Wisconsin native, and has written a book about the struggle in his home state. Here’s a piece Nichols wrote yesterday: How To Buy A Recall Election.
Governor Scott Walker is not trying to win the Wisconsin recall election that will be held June 5.
He is trying to buy it.
If the embattled governor does prevail, he will provide essential evidence not of his own appeal but of the power of money to define our politics.
On the other hand, if Walker is defeated, a template will have been developed for a people-power, message-power politics that might be able to challenge big money.
And there is no question that what is in play is very big money.
Read the gory details at the link.
At Salon, Josh Eidelson writes about the possible effects of some Wisconsin voters’ “resentment” of union workers on the recall outcome.
If Scott Walker survives tomorrow’s election, there will be plenty of reasons. Many people will point to his huge cash advantage, for good reason. But no factor will have been more important than the decades of decline in U.S. union membership.
“Unions had their place,” a woman named Jerri told me soon after I arrived in Wisconsin last week. “They did their part back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and then they got too big, and are abusing their power.” Jerri and her husband, Tim (both declined to give last names), were eating at a bar in Wauwatosa, the purple Milwaukee suburb that’s home to Scott Walker. They both work in sales: She’s in retail at the mall; he’s in wholesale, selling caskets. Tim said Walker’s union “reforms” were necessary because local politicians had been “looking out for the union” instead of “people like me.” He said unions are for people who don’t “feel they should have to work very hard.” Jerri complained that unions “are sucking off my teat.” Public workers’ benefits, she said, “should be the same as anybody in any kind of private job.”
That last statement is most telling. While resentment toward unions has grown since the 1950s, it’s not because they got too big. It’s because they got too small. A multi-decade drop in unionization left fewer Wisconsinites who are union members or live in union households. Meanwhile, because governments are less prone than businesses to terrorize workers or shut down facilities to avert unionization, public sector unionization has remained more stable. In 2009, for the first time, there were more total U.S. union members in government employment than in the entire private sector.
That one is pretty scary for those of us who care about quality education and public services.
The Wall Street Journal highlights the importance of turnout in the recall election.
Both sides say few voters remain undecided, after more than $63.5 million in political spending saturated the airwaves and clogged voters’ mailboxes. A weekend survey by the Democratic group Public Policy Polling found Mr. Walker holding a slight lead and only 3% of likely voters undecided. With few voters left to persuade, the main question is which side will win the turnout battle.
Labor groups and their allies knocked on more than 300,000 doors during the past few days and placed more than 400,000 phone calls, said Brian Weeks, the assistant political director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
Unions historically have had a strong ground game. But Republicans said they took a page from labor’s playbook and have developed a coordinated get-out-the-vote effort, which could also give the party a boost in the November presidential election, helping the GOP equal the Democrats’ election-day machinery.
Felicia Sonmez and Rachel Weiner of the WaPo write about the battle of “TV ad spending vs. boots on the ground.” They say that this election:
serves as a proxy for the national battle between Democrats’ much-touted ground organization and Republicans’ fundraising advantage.
With Walker ahead in the polls and leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in the money race by more than 7 to 1 – and with GOP-aligned outside groups far outspending their counterparts across the aisle — Democrats maintain that their shot at victory depends on a far superior get-out-the-vote operation buoyed in large part by organized labor.
According to Monica Davey at the NYT,
About 60 to 65 percent of Wisconsin residents of voting age are expected to go to the polls on Tuesday, the state’s Government Accountability Board said. That would be a higher turnout than two years ago, when Mr. Walker and a wave of Republicans largely swept state and federal offices here, but not as high as the more than 69 percent turnout in 2008, when Barack Obama easily won the state.
Only time will tell. We’ll have a live blog this evening so we can follow the results together. Now I need you to let me know what else is in the news. I look forward to clicking on your links.