Tuesday, June 5, 2012


What’s New Today

Story #1 shows Intrade has Walker likely to win today’s recall.  #2 is a bit of prophesy as to what will happen if Walker does win.  #3 looks at the history of the recall and what it means to the progressive movement in Wisconsin.  #4 is a Democrat trying to put the best spin on the probably victory by Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  #5 takes a look at the ramifications of the Wisconsin recall on the Presidential race.  It could be significant.  #6 looks at a new attack on Romney.  It seems the Democrats get their best information about Romney and his actions, but it seems those actions took place before Romney was there or after he left.  #7 has a quote from Ed Rendell that Romney is certainly qualified to be President and no one is disputing that.  #8 shows the disingenuousness of David Axelrod in dismissing Marco Rubio as a possible VP candidate.  

Today’s Thoughts

Nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg is limiting soft drinks over 16 ounces because it makes people fat and limited pot smoking arrest.  Somehow those two actions seem contradictory if you want people to stop overeating.  

Factory orders declined for the third time in four months in April.  More bad news if you are a supporter of Mr. Obama.  

What would Obama do without the words “Bush, headwinds, and extremists?”  He would basically mute in his reelection campaign. 

Apparently it isn’t just the Constitutional challenges that may stop Obamacare in its tracks.  There are technical challenges as well in IT software needed for the health insurance exchanges.

1.  Intrade Has Walker’s Chances over 90%

Even The New York Times has thrown in the towel on the Wisconsin recall.

With an Intrade poll citing Walker’s chances of winning the Wisconsin recall at more than 93%, The New York Times is entering into full-blown panic mode over what this election could mean for Obama’s chances this November:

A Republican resurgence here, which has burst into full view as the party determinedly defends its sitting governor in a rare recall election, is spilling into the presidential race.  The result is poised to shape the general election fight between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney, who intends to add Wisconsin to his list of targeted states.

After valiantly trying to shield its readers from Walker’s lead, The New York Times is now doing its best to spare them the full horror of what is occurring in Wisconsin.  The progressive left pulled out all the stops: unions, rage, “community organizers,” demonstrations, and name calling were supposed to make Wisconsin the front line for the progressive “fightback.” In a state that hasn’t been carried by a Republican since Reagan in 1984, Democrats thought this strategy couldn’t fail.

At Via Meadia, we will wait for the actual votes before we call the election. Polls have been wrong and Intrade has been wrong. Surprises do happen.

But going by the polls and the odds on election eve, the Democratic strategy in Wisconsin has been one disaster and misfire after another. Special election after special election, defeat after defeat. The latest polls we’ve seen show that only 12 percent of the voters think that restoring collective bargaining rights to the public sector unions is their top priority.


There is a realization that Obama appears to be in big trouble.  It reminds me of the experts each year who predict the outcome of the NFL season.  But it is odd when you have the same champion two years in a row, yet it is frequently predicted that will happen.

2.  What happens if Walker Wins?

It looks as if Governor Scott Walker will survive Tuesday’s recall vote. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls has him leading Milwaukee’s Democratic mayor Tom Barrett by 6.6 points. As of late Sunday, the betting site Intrade was predicting that Walker has a 94.5 percent chance of becoming the victor. Even Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is now saying the recall wasn’t smart. “Don’t get an election that’s divisive, that may have an influence on the presidential election,” he told MSNBC last week. “We made a mistake doing that.”

If the recall fails, what will be the takeaways from the 17 months of pitched war that Wisconsin has endured since Governor Walker proposed his dramatic reforms of pensions and privileges in the state’s public-sector unions?

Expect the Left to Blame Obama

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times dismissed Obama on Sunday as someone who “prefers to float above, at a reserve, in grandiose mists.” When the likes of Dowd are no longer feeling the love, we shouldn’t be surprised that other Democrats are dumping on Obama for not showing up to help Barrett in Wisconsin. “Progressive Pundits Lay Groundwork to Blame Obama if Wisconsin Recall Fails” was the headline of a searing critique by Noah Rothman at Mediaite. He quoted Ed Schultz of MSNBC sarcastically noting that the president was in neighboring Iowa and Minnesota last week and that his campaign office is in nearby Chicago. “It’s all around, but is it in?” Schultz asked of the Obama campaign. “[Union members] want him on that line because he talked about being on that line with them back in 2007.” Schultz closed his plea for an Obama visit by saying it is the “job of a leader” to motivate his followers.

Liberals view Wisconsin as a state that is “leading the way in reshaping American’s view of the role of government,” Rothman emphasizes. “President Obama has abandoned that fight, noting correctly that it is not likely to be won,” he says. “But progressive pundits . . . are right — this is not just another election. . . .  It is a fight with broad implications that President Obama has abandoned. The question now becomes, can they [progressives] forgive this betrayal ahead of a tough election in the fall?”

Wisconsin Is Now in Play for November

The state hasn’t voted Republican since Ronald Reagan’s reelection effort in 1984, and Obama won it easily by 14 points in 2008. But the state can be competitive. Both Al Gore and John Kerry carried it by only a handful of votes — many of which may have been fraudulent, as a 2007 Milwaukee Police Department report showed.

By this fall, Wisconsin’s new voting law will probably be in effect. It limits same-day registration abuses and requires voters to show photo ID at the polls; this should reduce the role of last-minute fraudsters such as the infamous Park Avenue heiress who pled guilty to flying to Milwaukee in 2000 and passing out cigarettes to homeless people in exchange for their promise to vote for Al Gore.

The psychological blow of losing yet another recall campaign would surely reduce enthusiasm and turnout on the left, while leaving Romney with an extensive campaign infrastructure in the state: 22 offices set up by Governor Walker, firmly in place only five months before the presidential race.


I don’t expect Obama to be blamed, but just the opposite.  I think Obama will minimize what happened and from what I’ve heard, the Administration will blame voter fatigue with so many recalls.  But the fact will remain, Unions and the Democrats will have suffered a major blow.

3.  Progressives and Wisconsin

Like children throwing tantrums against the rules of a game going badly, in 2011 petulant Wisconsin Democratic legislators fled to Illinois to disrupt the Legislature. Walker’s reforms included restricting the issues subject to collective bargaining. This emancipated school districts from buying teachers’ health insurance from a provider entity associated with the teachers union. Barrett used Walker’s reform to save Milwaukee $19 million.

In justifying a raucous resistance to, and then this recall of, Walker, the government employees’ unions stressed his restriction of collective bargaining rights. But in the May primary, these unions backed the candidate trounced by Barrett, who is largely ignoring the collective bargaining issue, perhaps partly because most worker protections are embedded in Wisconsin’s uniquely strong civil service law. Besides, what really motivates the unions and elected Democrats is that Walker ended the automatic deduction of union dues from government employees’ pay. The experience in Colorado, Indiana, Utah and Washington state is that when dues become voluntary, they become elusive.

So, Barrett is essentially running another general-election campaign, not unlike that of 2010 — except that the $3.6 billion deficit Walker inherited has disappeared and property taxes have declined. By re-posing the 2010 choice, Wisconsin progressives’ one-word platform becomes: “Mulligan!”…


This is in reality a disaster for the unions and the democrats if they don’t win and even if they do, every member of the legislature and governor in Wisconsin in the future will go into office knowing he can be thrown out any time after a year in office.  It’s a lose-lose proposition for the Democrats. 

4.  Rationalization and the Left

Democrats and unions began urgent damage-control efforts Monday in an effort to deflate Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wis.) expected win in Tuesday’s recall election.

Despite expressions of confidence, Walker’s adversaries spent the eve of the vote trying to salvage cold comfort as polls showed their man — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) — heading for defeat.
They pointed, for example, to the fact that Democrats appear set to regain control of the state Senate, which could reduce Walker’s effectiveness as governor. But citing a probably down-ballot victory emphasized the fact that the left’s main goal seems out of reach.

Intrade, the political market service, put Walker’s chances of winning at 93 percent.

In addition to spinning the expected defeat, Democrats and labor pointed fingers of blame. Some union officials and activists partly blamed President Obama for refusing to help. Others complained that the recall was always an uphill battle.

Walker has led in all recent independent polls, including a survey from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling released Monday that had him up 50 percent to 47 over Barrett. The race has been highly emotional and hard-fought and has garnered national attention for months.

One union official involved in the race argued that even if Walker won on Tuesday, he would be so wounded from the recall that he will be rendered ineffective for the remainder of his term.
“[Walker] has two outcomes for tomorrow, which is be removed from office or survive. Neither is a great victory for him,” said the official, who predicted a Barrett victory. “He is going to come out of this thing battered even if he wins. … If it’s a Democratic state Senate, that weakens him even more.”…

This reasoning is the equivalent of a political scorched earth policy.  The Democrats may be starving, but at least Scott Walker will be too. 

5.  Obama’s Path to Reelection

President Obama holds multiple paths to re-election, with a handful of battleground states being able to slip away without leading to his defeat. But each possible outcome on his campaign map has always shared a common trait: winning Wisconsin.

A Republican resurgence here, which has burst into full view as the party determinedly defends its sitting governor in a rare recall election, is spilling into the presidential race. The result is poised to shape the general election fight between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney, who intends to add Wisconsin to his list of targeted states.

The president is bracing for a difficult set of challenges, which began last week when an uptick in the unemployment rate provided a fresh reminder of the beleaguered domestic economy and the deepening financial uncertainties abroad. A Republican victory here could set off a wave of adjustments in the lineup of swing states. Even before the outcome of Tuesday’s vote is known, Democrats are warning that Wisconsin is far from a surefire win in November….


I’ve read the stories up til now about how narrow the path to election by Romney is.  That’s because of the assumption that there are only a few swing states available.  Wisconsin has been moved from an Obama state to a swing state.  The path for Romney is getting wider.

6.  MSNBC: Romney-Backed Solar Firm Flops
Sounds bad, doesn't it? Well, it's supposed to. The headline is supposed to declare to the world that Romney is a hypocrite and that his primary line of criticism against Obama is over. The first few paragraphs even back up the headline:
A Massachusetts solar company to which Mitt Romney personally delivered a $1.5 million loan when he was governor has gone belly up, leaving him vulnerable to the same "picking winners and losers" charges that he's been lobbing at President Barack Obama over Solyndra.
The president's reelection campaign wasted no time noting Romney's support for Lowell-based Konarka Technologies, which announced Friday it had filed for bankruptcy protection with plans to lay off more than 80 workers and liquidate its assets.
The filing came on the heels of Romney's unannounced visit last week to Solyndra's Silicon Valley headquarters, where he accused the Obama administration of a conflict of interest and poor judgment in approving Solyndra's $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee.
But, deeper in the piece -- about eight freakin' paragraphs -- Politico writer Darren Sameulsohn finally gets to the heart of the issue:
[1.] The GOP campaign noted that Massachusetts officials approved Konarka's loan application for a new pilot production assembly line in December 2002, the month before Romney was sworn in. …
[2.]  And even if Romney had been in office then, the agency that greenlighted the loan wasn't under the direct control of the governor. …
[3.]  Later in his term, Romney tried to defund the underlying green energy financing program. …
[4.]  Konarka, in the meantime, went on to raise $170 million in private capital as it amassed more than 100 patents for a variety of solar products, including thin, flexible panels that its customers then build into bags and umbrellas. It also raised $5 million more in state loans under Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's administration.
So a solar company that received a loan not from Romney went out business 9 years after receiving the loan, and that's Politico's headline….

Democrats keep trying to blame Romney for actions that happened when he wasn’t with Bain or wasn’t the governor of Massachusetts.  It reeks of desperation.

7.  Ed Rendell:  “There’s nobody out there who thinks that Governor Romney is unqualified.”

Stigall pivoted to DNC chairwoman Wasserman Schultz who he said operates in a “different universe” than how Rendell operated during his chairmanship.

“I agree with that,” said Rendell. He helped praise on former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele  who he called “effective.”

“He went out of the box,” said Rendell. “He said what he believed and it gave him credibility.”
Stigall asked if Wasserman Schultz should answer questions about Romney’s credibility surrounding inconsequential issues in the same way Clinton did regarding Bush’s response to the question of Asian leaders.

“Absolutely,” answered Rendell. “You lose your credibility. I mean this is – and no offense to Herman Cain – this isn’t Herman Cain. Governor Romney has significant experience which very much qualifies him for high executive office in this country.”

“So, then I can get you on tape today saying Debbie Wasserman Schultz is an unserious, uncredible chairman of the DNC,” Stigall pushed.

“No, Debbie’s a good chairman in the sense that she works hard, she inspires the base, she gets people excited,” said Rendell. “I think in the end, you’ve got to be credible. There’s nobody out there who thinks that Governor Romney is unqualified.”

Another Democrat declaring Romney is qualified.  Obama’s talking points get narrower and narrower. 

8.  Axelrod:  Marco Rubio as VP—Insult to Hispanics

Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that handing the vice presidential nomination to Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) would be an “insult to Hispanics.” The Washington Times reports:

“I think it would be an insult to the Hispanic community to choose Senator Rubio if the thinks that that is somehow—if Governor Romney thinks that’s sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card for all of the things and the positions that he’s taken,” Mr. Axelrod said.

Mr. Rubio, considered a rising star in Republican circles, is Cuban-American and has become a major voice for the GOP’s efforts to win over Hispanic voters and to project an inclusive image to the country as a whole.

Hispanics broke for Obama 67 to 31 percent  in 2008. In 2012, Obama may be more vulnerable. His attempt to force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control could alienate the Latino population’s devout following.

The economy could open up even more doors for Romney. Unemployment among Hispanics rose from 10.3 in April to 11 percent in May, nearly three points higher than the 8.2 percent unemployment rate of the general population….

Somehow this reminds me of Baer Rabbit pleading with Baer Fox not to throw him into the briar patch.  Axelrod is afraid of Rubio.     

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