On Wisconsin

by Michael Sean Winters

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Voters in Wisconsin today are deciding whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker. I am not a fan of recall elections although they were designed precisely for this kind of situation: a candidate runs on one message, gets into office, and governs in ways that the voters clearly did not endorse. Walker did not put much if any emphasis on the need to deny the collective bargaining rights of state employees when he ran two years ago, but that was the centerpiece of his efforts to bring the state's finances under control, and effort made more difficult by Walker's insistence on cutting taxes first.

The New Republic has two items on today's vote, both of which are worth reading. Alec MacGillis thinks that a Walker win does not spell trouble for President Obama in the fall. Noam Scheiber thinks it does. I think MacGillis should have noted that in this angry age, those who lose today in Wisconsin might simply be more motivated to get to the polls in November. Still, his argument is compelling - in some Midwestern states, Wisconsin less so than Ohio, the economy is doing better than the national average, Walker's ads have been making the case that the economy is turning around so why rock the boat, and it is Romney who seems like the odd man out. He is on to something. Scheiber, though, is also right that we will see tonight whether or not all the zillions of dollars Republicans are pouring into the election can be offset by the Democrats' organizational efforts. That dynamic will be in play in November too.

If you live in Wisconsin, please be sure to vote. This is going to be a close election and Scott Walker's attacks on unions certainly merit an early retirement.

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