Subscribe RSS

Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

Republicans Out of Touch with Reality—And What We Can Do

October 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via Precinct Reporter Group

I saw this astounding figure that approximately 70 percent of Republicans believe that the poll numbers on the presidential race are biased towards President Obama.  In other words, they are asserting that because President Obama has been—at least at the time of this column—ahead in most polls, this cannot be correct and the media must be mucking around.

It is important to put this sentiment in context.  This is the same Republican Party where more than 60 percent of its members believe that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Despite the incontrovertible evidence, most Republican voters wish to believe otherwise.  I would love to think that this was a comedy routine but it is reality.

To understand how 70 percent of Republicans would believe that the polls are biased, you have to appreciate their inability to recognize the nature of the changes underway in the country.  To the extent to which they believe that this is a ‘White republic,’ where the rest of us are barely-tolerated visitors, the polls don’t make any sense.  After all, from their perspective, there is no way that the U.S.A. should have a Black president, and, more importantly, there is no way that the demographics of the U.S.A. should be changing in the manner in which they are – towards a society where there is no White majority.

There is no way of knowing how the elections will turn out. The fact that President Obama has been ahead in most polls is striking, particularly given the depth of the economic crisis.  Such ratings have to indicate that large numbers of people have little confidence in the vision articulated by Romney/Ryan, but also that there is a sense when looking at the pictures of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, that this gathering (and this Party) bore no resemblance to the reality of the nation.  It looked like something very alien and for that matter, something very scary.

While President Obama may be slightly ahead in the polls, the only poll that really matters is to be held on November 6 when we actually vote.  Despite all of the efforts by the Republicans to reduce voter turnout by the elderly, the youth, by people of color, by union members and by gays/lesbians, the bottom line will be the determination of those same constituencies that were not in evidence at the Tampa Republican Convention to mobilize in the interest of justice.  This will take us further down the road, away from the racist and archaic notion of a ‘White republic’ (for the rich), and instead in the direction of a more consistent democracy.

Forget the opinion polls and just make sure to vote on November 6.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about unions.  He can be reached at papaq54@hotmail.com. Submit to Facebook Submit to Google Bookmarks Submit to Twitter Submit to LinkedIn Written by: Precinct Reporter Group

Can We Defeat the Racist Southern Strategy in 2012?

October 11th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, pushing obama, racism, rightwing, Tea Party, Voting Rights, women, youth and students

By Bob Wing*

Progressive America Rising

*Bob Wing has been an organizer since 1968 and was the founding editor of ColorLines magazine and War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper. He lives in Durham, N.C. and can be contacted on Facebook. Thanks to Max Elbaum for his always insightful suggestions. This article was posted on Oct. 11, 2012.

The 2012 election is a pitched battle with race at the center.

It may not be “polite” to say this, but far from an era of “post racialism”, the United States is in a period of aggravated racial conflict. Though often denied and certainly more complex than the frontal racial confrontations of the past, race is the pivot of the tit-for-tat political struggle that has gripped the country for the past twelve years and, indeed, for decades prior.

The modern era of this conflict jumped off with the white conservative backlash against the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and has been deepened by their decades-long fearful reaction to the dramatic change in the color of the U.S. that resulted from the civil rights-motivated immigration reform act of 1965.

The conflict heated to a boil when white conservatives flatly rejected the legitimacy of the “premature” victory of our first Black president in 2008. Nearly 40 percent of Republicans are so enraged they cannot even admit that Obama is a U.S. citizen. Isn’t this really another way of saying they refuse to recognize a Black man as the president? Or perhaps it is the white conservatives’ modern day Dred Scott decision declaring Obama a Black man that has no rights that they are bound to respect?

The bottom line is that we have now come to a point where voters of color are so numerous and so united behind Obama that, to be victorious, Mitt Romney must carry a higher percentage of the white vote than any modern Republican candidate has ever won. If recent trends among voters of color hold, he must carry about 63 percent of white voters. Not even Reagan won more than 61 percent.

(more…)

Saving Obama, Saving Ourselves

September 5th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, Long War, pushing obama, rightwing, Tea Party, youth and students

 

By Tom Hayden

Progressive America Rising

The threat of a Romney-Ryan regime should be enough to convince a narrow American majority to vote for Barack Obama, including the disappointed rank-and-file of social movements.

A widening of economic and racial inequality. Cuts in Medicare and Medical. More global heating. Strangling of reproductive rights. Unaffordable tuition. The Neo-cons back in the saddle. Two or three more right-wing Supreme Court appointments to come. Romney as Trojan horse for Ryan the stalking horse and future presidential candidate.

The consolidation of right-wing power would put progressives on the defensive, shrinking any organizing space for pressuring for greater innovations in an Obama second term.

Where, for example, would progressives be without the Voting Rights Act programs such as Planned Parenthood, or officials like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis or EPA administrator Lisa Jackson?

But the positive case for More Obama and Better Obama should be made as well. History will show that the first term was better than most progressives now think. A second-term voter mandate against wasteful wars, Wall Street extravagance, and austerity for the many, led by elected officials including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Jim McGovern and Keith Ellison, would be a target-rich field of opportunities as they say in the Pentagon.

Why Obama’s achievements are dismissed or denied by many on the white liberal-left is a question worth serious consideration. It may only be a matter of legitimate disappointment after the utopian expectations of 2008. It could be pure antipathy to electoral politics, or a superficial assessment of how near-impossible it is to change intransigent institutions. It could be a vested organizational interest in asserting there is no difference between the two major parties, a view wildly at odds with the intense partisan conflicts on exhibit every day. Or it could even be a white blindness in perceptions of reality on the left. When African American voters favor Obama 94-0 [that's right] and the attacks are coming from the white liberal-left, something needs repair in the foundations of American radicalism.

I intend to explore these questions further during the election season. The point here is that they cumulatively contribute to the common liberal-left perception that Obama is only a man of the compromised center, a president who has delivered nothing worse celebrating. The anger with Obama on the left, combined with broad liberal disappointment with the last three years, results in a dampened enthusiasm at the margins which could cost him the election.

(more…)

Tags:

Can Romney Win With Just White Votes?

September 4th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Progressive America Rising via HuffPost

Sept 4, 2012 – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, GOP political guru Karl Rove, and the parade of Hispanic and black speakers at the Republican National Convention either said or were testament to one belief and that’s GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can’t win with just white votes.

The rationale is simple. He doesn’t have enough of them. The supposed standard break point for GOP presidential candidates to bag the White House is they must get 60 percent or more of the 104 million white voters, who make up close to 75 percent of the nation’s voters. In eleven major polls, Romney averages slightly more than 53 percent of white voters. The CNN poll is the most generous and gives him only 55 percent of the white vote.

Getting the supposed magic number of white votes in the GOP column is even more crucial given the crushing majority overall of Democrats to Republicans. There are 55 million registered Republicans and 72 million registered Democrats.

The surface bad news for Romney then is that if the percent of white votes that he now has doesn’t change drastically before Nov. 6 he will be just another GOP presidential also-ran.

There are three problems with this. It focuses solely on raw numbers and raw percentages. It’s not the number of white voters, but where they are that matter more than the overall numbers. The election will boil down to which candidate tops out in the must win swing states.

(more…)

Tags: ,

Battleground: Democracy vs. The Right

August 31st, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Environment, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party, youth and students

 

By Tom Hayden
Progressive America Rising

Only you and I can save democracy this time and for times to come. If we all play our part now, Obama and his popular majority will win. If not, we need to be clear and fortified for big confrontations ahead. Let’s look at where democracy movements must intervene to stop the hemorrhaging before a final collapse. Democracy movements must try to stop the stolen elections now, and delegitimize any mandates claimed from them in the future.

 

The theme song should be Leonard Cohen’s ‘Democracy Is Coming to the USA’

1. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE – STOP VOTER SUPPRESSION. Among "registered but unlikely" voters, Obama leads Romney 43%-20%, and in favorability by 55%-25% [New York Times, Aug. 18]. Examples: a Pennsylvania Republican leader bragged in June about a voter ID law "which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done!" The Republican governor blocks plans in that state allowing voters to apply for absentee ballots or to register online.

The naked Republican strategy is to make it as hard as possible for people of color, students and the elderly to vote. Thanks to the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act provides tools to fight to maximize voter turnout. Local activists should be attacking their Governors, legislators and registrars for erecting unconstitutional barriers to voting, and for their refusal to permit early voting or provide enough accessible ballot boxes and election observers. Civil rights lawyers should mobilize to monitor and protest wherever the machines break down and the lines become too long in freezing weather. Ballot boxes should be installed on campuses.

2. STOP SECRET CORPORATE MONEY. Buckley v. Valeo [1976] and Citizens United [2010] have opened the sewage gates to secret money’s power to pollute the democratic process. In the next two months, all people can do is make righteous noise against these pernicious threats and force their disclosure in the media on an everyday basis. Besides attacking Sheldon Adelson [war against Iran] and the Koch brothers [ big oil], the movement must make the case that this flow of private funds is creating a legitimacy crisis for democracy. This same worry apparently led Chief Justice John Roberts to narrowly approve Obamacare [but not Medicaid] while delegating its ultimate fate to the voters this November. President Obama has endorsed a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United, a good basis for a long-term organizing strategy. But what is really needed is a new generation of law students who aspire to be the Thurgood Marshalls of campaign finance reform, attacking the Buckley v. Valeo as a perverted violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments [money is not an unfettered instrumentality of speech]. Currently the weakest link in the Supreme Court’s case is the secrecy afforded big donors until after the election. A militant demand for disclosure before the election will put the Court and the Republicans on the defensive.

There are other battlefronts in the fight for democracy, from greater transparency in the derivatives market, to disclosure of thousands of unregistered corporate lobbyists, to the need for a rewrite of the War Powers Act to rein in drones and secret wars. But the sharp point of the spear in the next two months are [1] the Republican plan to keep people from voting, and [2] the Republican plan to keep millions in campaign contributions secret until after the election. These lines of attack are complements to the growing hubbub about unprecedented levels of deceit by the Romney-Ryan ticket. They and Karl Rove believe that enough secret money and voter suppression can prevail.

What to Do in November, and Beyond

August 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, pushing obama, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him

The 2012 election will be one of the most polarized and critical elections in recent history.

By Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Carl Davidson
Progressive America Rising via Alternet.org

August 9, 2012 – Let’s cut to the chase. The November 2012 elections will be unlike anything that any of us can remember.  It is not just that this will be a close election.  It is also not just that the direction of Congress hangs in the balance.  Rather, this will be one of the most polarized and critical elections in recent history.

Unfortunately what too few leftists and progressives have been prepared to accept is that the polarization is to a great extent centered on a revenge-seeking white supremacy; on race and the racial implications of the moves to the right in the US political system. It is also focused on a re-subjugation of women, harsh burdens on youth and the elderly, increased war dangers, and reaction all along the line for labor and the working class. No one on the left with any good sense should remain indifferent or stand idly by in the critical need to defeat Republicans this year.

U.S. Presidential elections are not what progressives want them to be.

A large segment of what we will call the ‘progressive forces’ in US politics approach US elections generally, and Presidential elections in particular, as if: (1) we have more power on the ground than we actually possess, and (2) the elections are about expressing our political outrage at the system. Both get us off on the wrong foot.

The US electoral system is among the most undemocratic on the planet.  Constructed in a manner so as to guarantee an ongoing dominance of a two party duopoly, the US electoral universe largely aims at reducing so-called legitimate discussion to certain restricted parameters acceptable to the ruling circles of the country. Almost all progressive measures, such as Medicare for All or Full Employment, are simply declared ‘off the table.’ In that sense there is no surprise that the Democratic and Republican parties are both parties of the ruling circles, even though they are quite distinct within that sphere.

The nature of the US electoral system–and specifically the ballot restrictions and ‘winner-take-all’ rules within it–encourages or pressures various class fractions and demographic constituency groups to establish elite-dominated electoral coalitions.  The Democratic and Republican parties are, in effect, electoral coalitions or party-blocs of this sort, unrecognizable in most of the known universe as political parties united around a program and a degree of discipline to be accountable to it. We may want and fight for another kind of system, but it would be foolish to develop strategy and tactics not based on the one we actually have.

(more…)

Tags: , ,

Eye Chart for GOP Apologists

July 23rd, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, rightwing, Tea Party

One Chart, 10,000 Words:

Challenge to the Left: Obama Sinks to Historic Lows Among Blue-Collar White Males

July 13th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, rightwing, Tea Party

 

By Ronald Brownstein
National Journal

The new Quinnipiac University and ABC/Washington Post national surveys out this week converge on one key conclusion: as the election nears, President Obama is sinking to historic lows among the group most consistently hostile to him.

Throughout his career on the national stage, Obama has struggled among white men without a college education. But in these latest surveys, he has fallen to a level of support among them lower than any Democratic nominee has attracted in any election since 1980, according to an upcoming National Journal analysis of exit polls from presidential elections.

Though pollsters at each organization caution that the margins of error are substantial when looking at subgroups such as this, each poll shows erosion within that margin of error for Obama with these working-class white men. The new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama attracting just 29 percent of non-college white men, down from 32 percent in their most recent national survey in April, according to figures provided by Douglas Schwartz, April Radocchio and Ralph Hansen of Quinnipiac. The ABC/Washington Post survey found Obama drawing just 28 percent of non-college white men, down from 34 percent in their May survey, according to figures provided by ABC Pollster Gary Langer. Romney drew 56 percent of the non-college white men in Quinnipiac and 65 percent in the ABC/Washington Post survey.

(more…)

Lesson for the Left: How the Tea Party Organized Wisconsin

June 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in elections, Organizing, rightwing, Tea Party

The Tea Party Impact in Wisconsin

Photo: The Tea Party Express Bus Visited Wisconsin Twice in the Last Year

By Devin Burghart
IREHR Issue Areas

June 13, 2012 – On Tuesday, June 5, in a hotel meeting room two thousand miles away from a recall election that was being watched coast to coast, the Washington State coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, Woody Hertzog, regaled a small group of Tea Partiers assembled in the Puget Sound town of Silverdale with tales of his recent campaigning trip in the Wisconsin trenches. Hertzog told the group that he and other Tea Party activists from across the country poured into the state, becoming a door-to-door army in support of Governor Walker. The election was still taking place half way across the country, yet it was all these Puget Sound Tea Partiers wanted to talk about. Midway through the meeting, the results from the Wisconsin special election came in. When it was announced that Governor Walker and other Tea Party supported candidates were victorious, the room erupted in cheers and applause. One older man in the back of the room commented aloud, “I guess we can put away our guns, for now.”

Indeed, final results for the June 5 Wisconsin Recall Election showed Governor Walker with a 53%-46% edge over Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.  Incumbent Republicans were also victorious in the Lieutenant Governor recall, and three of the four state senate recall elections; all by similar margins. Only in the State Senate 21st district, in southeast Wisconsin south of Racine, did challenger Democrat John Lehman defeat the incumbent Republican, Van Wanggard, 51%-49%.  Lehman’s victory means that Republicans will no longer have a majority in the state senate.

In examining what happened in Wisconsin, IREHR’s analysis points to four relevant factors: recall fatigue, procedural hurdles, money, and the Tea Party mobilization. If the Tea Party victory in the Indiana Republican Senate primary was the wakeup call reminding the country that Tea Party was still alive, the Wisconsin campaign put the Tea Party 2012 ground game on full display. The Tea Party Made A Difference (Again)

Tea Party groups have been engaged in the recall fight from the beginning last year.  Starting in April, however, all of the national Tea Party factions ratcheted up their activity in Wisconsin. They built upon their already existing membership base in the state. With 6087 enrolled members as of May 2012, Wisconsin ranks 23th amongst all states in national Tea Party membership.  When consider on a per capita base, however, the state’s national faction membership level is only 42nd overall, near the bottom.  This lack of membership density may have been one of the reasons that national factions deployed so many out-of-state volunteers.

teaparty-wii-1

Map of Wisconsin Membership in National Tea Party Factions

Their rationale was simple and explicit. “Liberals are waging a war in Wisconsin and we must stop it before they bring it to other states around the country,” according to Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin. “Wisconsin could be the key to determining how the rest of this year plays out. If the Left is successful in Wisconsin, they will no doubt use their success as a model to spread havoc in other places around the country. We must stand with Wisconsin because if we Save Wisconsin, we can Save the Country!” she added to rally the troops.

On April 29th, local Tea Party Patriots groups across the country voted 98% to 2% to throw all their energy and resources into Wisconsin for the recall elections. “We are deploying hundreds of volunteers into each of the targeted recall districts,” noted Martin. “That’s 4,000 patriots going door to door and making phone calls! Our goal is to educate the voters in those key areas that Governor Walker’s policies are working and that turning back the clock on these reforms will bankrupt Wisconsin and lead to more economic misery. This will be Tea Party Patriot’s most advanced voter education effort ever.  We want to absolutely flood these targeted areas of Wisconsin with Tea Party citizen-volunteers,” she added.

Tea Party Patriots brought activists to Wisconsin and did door-to-door canvassing, and had others make calls from their homes and spread the word on social media. Some of those activists were sponsored, with their costs covered by Tea Party Patriots. Most, however, came on their own, volunteering their time to go door-to-door canvassing voters—a sign of their ardor for their beliefs.

As others have already noted, Tea Party Patriots, Inc., which is registered with the IRS as a 501c4 non-profit organization, may have run afoul of its tax exempt status with this electoral activity.  Federally registered non-profit organizations with a 501c4 status are prohibited from devoting all of their energy and resources to support electoral campaigns. At times, Martin and other Tea Party Patriots leaders have tried to suggest that the group was just engaged in GOTV (Get Out the Vote) efforts or some form of civic engagement, other times they’ve told their supporters that “Tea Party Patriots—in conjunction with other local and national Tea Party groups—will spearhead efforts to help Walker and other candidates.”

The Tea Party Patriots were joined by other national factions.  Accroding to the website for Tea Party Express, “Wisconsin has become ground zero in the fight against labor union tyranny, and this battle is one we must win if we want to preserve our American Dream. 2012 is a decisive year for our nation’s future, and the momentum from these recalls in Wisconsin will be carried into Election Day in November. This is our chance to stand side-by-side with true conservative leaders and push back against the liberal agenda that threatens the America we know and love.”

This group brought its bus tour to Wisconsin twice in the last year, including a nine city tour in August 2011 and a six city stop in June 2012, which included their new mobile phone banking bus for a “massive GOTV push.”

The FreedomWorks Super PAC was also active on the ground. FreedomWorks for America set up eighteen distribution centers across the state to circulate materials through local Tea Party network and the WalkerforJobs.com website. The Super PAC distributed over 5,000 yard signs, 3,500 bumper magnets, and 50,000 door hangers across the state.

Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips, who last year compared Wisconsinites who protested against Walker to Hitler’s “Brown shirts,” kept the recall issue alive. He threw most of his support behind Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefish, who he called “an amazing candidate.”

The Patriot Super PAC, run by the same people as the Patriot Action Network jumped into the race during the last week of the election with a radio ad supporting Walker. Patriot Action Network also sent a campaign fundraising appeal allegedly from the Walker campaign, which claimed the governor was a “a paid sponsor of the Patriot Action Network.”

The 1776 Tea Party (aka TeaParty.org) also got into the act by distributing the same campaign fundraising email, claiming that the Walker campaign sponsored the email. The Walker campaign denied doing so, according to Stephanie Mencimer on the Mother Jones website. 

Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers supported organization that has done some training of Tea Party outfits, also worked feverishly in Wisconsin.  It deployed sixty paid organizers on the ground. It was enough for the aforementioned Woody Hertzog to tell the Tea Party meeting in Silverdale that it seemed that just about every time he turned the corner out in Wausau, Wisconsin he’d see either the green shirts worn by Americans for Prosperity activists or the blue shirts of the Tea Party Patriots. Wisconsin’s Tea Party Base

As was true in Indiana, the momentum from perpetual campaigning kept the Wisconsin Tea Party grassroots robust with only moderate attrition from previous years.  And the national groups piggybacked on the work of the many local Tea Party chapters in the state.

IREHR tracked 54 different local Tea Party chapters active in Wisconsin at the time of the election. The majority of the local chapters are aligned nationally with the Tea Party Patriots. Others maintain a connection to FreedomWorks.

teaparty-wii-2

Wisconsin Local Tea Party Chapters

Throughout this period, local Tea Party chapters in Wisconsin championed a wide range of far right issues, including a most assured universal distain of labor unions.  They also made racist birther attacks on President Obama, promoted anti-Indian bigotry, and Second Amendment and survivalist "preparedness." Christian nationalism, anti-environmental conspiracies, nativism, and Islamophobia, were also on their agenda, topped by debt, bailouts, and taxes.

Take, for instance, the Northwoods Patriots of Eagle River, Wisconsin. The group is affiliated with the Tea Party Patriots national Tea Party faction. As a member of the Wisconsin Patriot Coalition, the Northwoods Patriots work closely with other local Tea Party groups across the state. The group campaigned relentlessly for Walker. While the group spent much of the past two years attacking unions and supporting the governor’s tax cut legislation, their website engaged in racist conspiracy mongering about the president’s birth certificate and his religion. Also on the site were other conspiracy theories promoted by the group, including discussion of Agenda 21 and “the New World Order.” Leaders of the group have gone so far as to openly support the radical notion of states’ rights nullification, “States may resist federal law deemed to be uncondtitution[sic] which results in some Federal law being rendered, in practice, null and voir[sic] or unenforceable” Among the grassroots Tea Party groups in Wisconsin, the orientation of the Northwoods Patriots is more the rule than the exception. The importance of support for the Tea Parties in this partisan race

Votes fell heavily along partisan lines: 94% of Republicans backed Walker, as did 86% of conservatives. Barrett received similarly strong support from Democrats, winning 91%, and liberals (86%). Once again, independent voters gave an edge to Walker, giving him 54% compared to 45% for Barrett. That was down slightly from 2010, when Walker received the votes of 56% of independents, and Barrett 42%.

The Tea Party effort focused on strategically targeted rural and suburban parts of Wisconsin.  And it worked. Barrett convincingly won the vote in cities of more than 50,000 people, with a 62%-37% margin.  That vote only accounted for about 21% of the total, however. Walker won the suburbs, which accounted for 47% of the voters, 56%-44%.  The Governor also won small cities and rural areas, 60%-39%.  That accounted for remaining 33% of the voters.  Thus the suburban and small town vote trumped the city vote.

According to exit polls, Tea Party support was often a deciding factor.  The Tea Party got out more voters and won over more “neutral” voters than did unions and progressives.  Voters supporting the Tea Party made up 36% of total, the largest grouping according to exit polls. Those who registered support for the Tea Party voted 93%-7% for Walker. Of the 27% of voters who claimed to be neutral on the Tea Party, they also voted for Walker, though in a smaller 53%-46% margin. Those who opposed the Tea Party made up 35% of the voters, and voted for Barrett, 86-14%.

teaparty-wii-4

On the central question of the rights of public sector union, Wisconsin voters were somewhat at odds. On the one hand, exit polls showed that voters expressed a favorable view of public employee unions – 51%-45%. At the same time, voters approved both limiting collective bargaining and how Walker handled collective bargaining by a nearly inverse number of 52%-47%. Recall Fatigue

Exit polls point to a critical, but generally overlooked, reason for Walker’s victory: “recall fatigue.” Remember that this was the second round of contentious recall elections in the state in just over a year.  Opinion in the state swung decidedly against using the recall process for partisan or policy aims. To many Wisconsin voters, recalls were meant to be different.

In fact, 60% of voters told pollsters that recall elections are appropriate “only for official misconduct.” Ten per cent said they were “never” appropriate. Only 27% felt they were appropriate “for any reason.” Of those in the “only for official misconduct” category, 68% voted for Walker. Despite Walker’s general unpopularity, voters were reluctant to remove a sitting governor absent corruption or other criminal misconduct.

The timing of the recall election also hurt those arguing he had committed misconduct.  The misconduct claims centered on the way Gov. Walker rammed through anti-union legislation.  But those concerns had faded away for most Wisconsinites by the time he was eligible to be recalled.  Further, the FBI’s so-called John Doe investigation into activities during Walker’s time as a county executive had not yet resulted in any charges against the governor.

The Talking Points Memo tracker of Governor Walker’s favorability rating nicely captures the voter’s diminishing attention to Walker’s misdeeds. By Thanksgiving 2011 the favorability trend line had already turned in Walkers favor.

teaparty-wii-6

The recall effort, and Barrett’s campaign in particular, failed to conclusively make the case in the closing weeks. The refrain that Walker was running around being a “rock star of the far-right” was true, but it wasn’t enough to get people over the recall hurdle.

Moreover, the selection of Barrett as the Democratic opponent, may have added to the sentiment that the recall was political sour grapes instead of an extraordinary circumstance. Barrett was Walker’s opponent in the 2010 race for governor. In the end, the 2012 recall margin of victory for Walker was almost identical to the margin he beat Barrett by in 2010.

teaparty-wii-7

The Recall Process Problem

Recall supporters also ran into a procedural problem with the recall system, that added an additional burden on the candidate ultimately selected to run against the governor.

In January 2012, as soon as Walker was eligible, recall supporters submitted one million signatures to trigger the recall election. Walker, however, had been running against a potential recall since the protests over his anti-union legislation erupted in February 2011. Walker became a Tea Party hero, and support rushed in from across the country.  In essence, Walker had a fifteen month head start in campaigning and fundraising.

On the other side, Barrett had to go through a contentious primary battle that didn’t conclude until the May 8 election. The timing gave him less than a month to mount a general election campaign against Walker.

While Walker was a national star in conservative circles (and infamous in progressive circles), Barrett was never able to reach that level of name recognition or enthusiasm. When he wasn’t able to immediately close the gap in the polls, the Democratic National Committee and other national Democrats were reluctant to invest in the race, leaving labor and state Democrats to fight alone. The Money

As has been noted often by others, Walker had a significant financial edge in this election.  He benefited from a campaign finance loophole that allowed him to raise unlimited cash until the recall process formally started. Big money Republican donated six figures or more directly to Walker’s campaign. Barrett started way behind and couldn’t catch up. Democrats were ultimately outspent by more than 7-to-1.

Conventional wisdom in electoral politics often holds that conservatives have the money, while progressives have the ground game (thanks to progressives and labor unions).  Presumably whichever side better utilizes their resources wins. Nothing is conventional, however, since the Tea Party emerged. In Wisconsin, the Tea Party had a ground game that matched or bettered the trade union-progressive effort.

Back at the Tea Party meeting in Silverdale, Washington, when the celebration of Walker’s victory in Wisconsin died down, the local group of Tea Party Patriots got back to business. Organizers from the Private Enterprise Project, an alliance of business interests and Tea Party groups, started outlining a plan to target state congressional districts exclusively on Initiative 1185, an effort to renew the requirement that any tax increase by the state legislature must be passed by a two-thirds super-majority. The group is pushing forward despite the fact that the original measure, Initiative 1053, was ruled unconstitutional by a King County Superior Court. The group handed out initiative petitions and voter registration cards for targeted districts, in the hopes of turning Washington into Wisconsin.

All material © copyright Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, P.O. Box 411552, Kansas City, MO 64141.

Turn on a Light, and Watch the GOP Rightwing Roaches Run

April 25th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, rightwing, Tea Party

Robert Draper Book: GOP’s Anti-Obama

Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration

 

By Sam Stein
Progressive America Rising via HuffPost

WASHINGTON D.C. — As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington, D.C.

The event — which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured — serves as the prologue of Robert Draper’s much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."

According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.

"If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority," Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. "We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."

The conversation got only more specific from there, Draper reports. Kyl suggested going after incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while at the International Monetary Fund. Gingrich noted that House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) had a similar tax problem. McCarthy chimed in to declare "there’s a web" before arguing that Republicans could put pressure on any Democrat who accepted campaign money from Rangel to give it back.

    The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward:

(more…)