After a year and a half of heated debate, many brutally cold winter days and plenty of heroic, hard work, it’s judgement day in Wisconsin.
I hope for the best (a Tom Barrett win) but expect the worst (polls are tight, but favor Scott Walker), so first a little levity:
A CEO, a Tea Partier and a union organizer sit down at a table, on which there is a dish of 12 cookies.The CEO takes 11 of the cookies and says to the Tea Partier, “That union guy wants part of your cookie.”
Remember that joke, it’s going to come in hand—quite a bit, probably—in the coming years…
In the final stretch of the recall election, it cannot be denied, the Republicans did what they do best: They divided and now they look set to conquer. Who would have thought that even a $30 million dollar war chest would have been enough to turn the tide that saw well over a million signatures on Walker recall petitions?
Not me, to be honest. I should stop underestimating the GOP, I really should.
Why Scott Walker could be the new Nixon.
Walker himself said the other day that he’s meeting people all over the state who tell him how RESENTFUL they are that public sector employees have better benefits than they do.
So hey, lets cut ‘em down to size, and give some tax breaks to the Koch brothers and that billionaire plastic surgery disaster who is Walker’s single biggest donor?
Woo-hoo! Now THAT is a plan!
A plan for DUMMIES and people who’ve had 30 million dollars worth of cynical propaganda and bullshit fill their mental space for months now…
Obviously there IS a class war going on in America today, but in Wisconsin, the GOP has (brilliantly) hit upon a new recipe for (probable) electoral success: Pit working class people vs OTHER working class people.
If Walker does manage to hold onto his job today, expect much more of this exact same strategy in the future, in other states and even on a national, presidential level. Wisconsin was a laboratory of how to subvert democracy and a popular uprising with lies, cynicism and lots and lots of money.
Whether or not it’s Walker or Tom Barrett who wins when the votes are counted tonight, the GOP has learned a seriously fucked up new trick that has grave implications for American democracy.
Pit the middle class against each other! It’s a genius move. The politics of resentment are in full flower in Wisconsin today.
The GOP will hold the red states until the end of time with that strategy.
This, I think is the biggest take-away lesson of the entire process, especially for the Republicans. A certain segment of Wisconsin’s population has been successfully “moronized” (in the sense that “father of the New Left” Herbert Marcuse used the term in the 1960s). They’ve got a working blueprint for doing it. Win or lose this one, the implications are fucking enormous for well-funded, state-of-the art Republican political campaigns moving forward.
If Walker wins today, as expected, team GOP will have pulled off an election miracle (albeit a very well-funded miracle). When you consider how the palpable anti-Walker tidal-wave that saw over one million signatures gathered on the recall petitions and compare that with where we are today, when the polls are all telling us that Walker will squeak by and get to hold his job… I mean fuck it, it must be said WELL DONE REPUBLICANS.
They might be evil geniuses, but they are geniuses, nevertheless.
Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce summed up, very eloquently, the, I suppose, existential reality on the ground in Wisconsin this morning in a piece called “Beyond the Money, the Great Wisconsin Recall Election of 2012 Has Been the Fight Our Democracy Deserves.” His pre-vote observations about what has happened in the deeply divided state of Wisconsin—ironically a state known, until recently, for the geniality of its residents—were striking, indeed,:
Later, as night fell over Milwaukee, Walker rocked the Serb Hall, presenting himself as a man of courage and big ideas who is trying to move Wisconsin forward, only to be stymied by backward-thinking Democrats and out-of-state “special interests.” (We pause here for a moment to laugh loudly enough that the Koch Brothers to hear us.) The governor’s speech was just as spirited as Barrett’s was, but oddly disjointed. “Isn’t it amazing,” he asked the crowd, “that politics is the only business where you get credit for courage just for keeping your word?” He also deplored the recall for what he said was the uncertainty it had created among the “job creators” and the small-business community in the state. “Truth,” he told the crowd, “is on our side.”
Out in the parking lot, I fell into conversation with Phil Waseleski, who was wearing a T-shirt celebrating the U.S. Postal Service that was festooned with Scott Walker buttons. Phil was a letter carrier in the neighborhoods around the Serb Hall for nearly 40 years, but he retired last year when his days were cut back to three a week as part of the fiscal crisis forced upon the USPS by Republican legislators who would like to see it go away entirely.
“A friend once told me, ‘Well, we only need mail three or four days a week,’” Phil told me. “I politely told him, ‘Dave, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree.’ I could have told him, ‘Dave, you know, maybe at that engineering place where you work, they only need you three days a week, and then you could come help us.’
“The politicians, I think, it’s a tough call, because if you don’t keep the postal service in business — you and I will both agree that there’s nothing more personal than taking pen in hand to write to your mother, sister, or brother. Until June of last year, I gave my heart and soul to my job. I worked right through lunch most days.”
Eventually, I asked him why he was here, at the Serb Hall, supporting Scott Walker, whose politics were far more in tune with the people who are trying to strangle the postal service than they are with the people who still work there. Phil told me that it was about his sister-in-law. “The problem is that, when you start handing out free health care out to teachers, that annoys me to no end,” he said. “I never got free health care. My brother’s wife is a teacher and I once asked her, when I was getting my teeth worked on, what it cost her and she said, ‘Nothing.’ It should never get to that point where somebody’s getting free health care. Something’s way out of whack there.”
Something IS, of course, out of whack, but it’s not what Phil Waseleski—a man who was himself a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE—perceives it to be. Why on earth would one working person who himself saw his work days cut back support a union-busting asshole like Scott Walker in order to see that the hard fought gains of other middle-class people LIKE HIMSELF will get erased???
The answer, of course, is that Phil Waseleski and other fucking idiots like him have been cynically manipulated to essentially cast a vote AGAINST other working people so that billionaire “job creators” like the Koch brothers can move on to breaking the backs of the private sector unions, too, and rape and pillage the state of Wisconsin without much further ado.
Phil, that’s what you voted for, buddy. Do you realize how stupid you—a former GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE with a chest full of Scott Walker buttons—appear to someone who is (there is no delicate way to put this) smarter than you are? You don’t quite get it, do you, Phil?
It’s sheer idiocy for the working man to support Scott Walker and the Republicans. Nothing but sheer blinkered, uncut idiocy… and you, Phil, with a USPS tee-shirt and Walker badges could be the idiot’s poster boy…
Phil Waseleski, are you really the kind of man who wants to cast your vote in a democracy to cut other working people down to size and take what was theirs and give that to people like the Kochs and Diane Hendricks who make more in ONE HOUR than you did in your best year ever?
Charles Pierce must’ve puked in his mouth a little when he heard you speak this nonsense, you old coot!
If you find yourself reading this, Phil, can you please explain to the people who read your comments to Charles Pierce (in the comments either here or at Esquire), how you came to think this way. I cannot for the life of me understand how Walker and his billionaire reichwing patrons were able to convince one working person to resent other middle-class wage-earners, wish to see them economically punished and to reward two billionaires who inherited their money in the first place? It all makes zero sense to me. I need your help.
It’s not exactly a secret that the Republican party’s natural constituency is obscenely wealthy people and older, easily-manipulated idiots, especially Fox News watchers. Phil, as an obvious older idiot, would you mind, please, explaining to Dangerous Minds readers what happened in Wisconsin, from your perspective as an easily manipulated fool?
PS Phil, have you ever seen this clip? Which one of these guys is you? This is not a trick question, I promise: