How much does it cost to buy a Cheesehead?

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

The residents of 49 states had no stake in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election that incumbent Scott Walker won last week. As noted everywhere, the recall came about because Walker and the state GOP in their bid to emasculate the public service unions, went out of their way to offend everyone in the state who, you know, provided a public service: cops, firefighters, teachers.

The GOP convinced people that the problem wasn’t that they were being sold out for corporate interests, but that teachers were living high on the hog. (Meanwhile the state and the country are getting dumber by the minute, but that’s a different story.)

But c’mon. There are some blatant disparities in logic that are being shoved down out throats.

For example, consider this:

With more than a year’s head start, the campaign for successful incumbent Gov. Scott Walker spent more than $47 million, according to McCabe. The losing Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, spent $19 million.

But were seeing commentary that says money isn’t the only reason Barrett lost:

The biggest challenge to the Barrett campaign may have been the nature of the recall itself. On the exit poll, just 27 percent of the voters judged recall elections appropriate for any reason, but 60 percent said they are appropriate only for official misconduct and 10 percent said recalls are never appropriate. Walker won those in the middle category by more than a two-to-one margin.

And this:

Recalling a politician who didn’t abuse his office is crazy. Every day already feels like Election Day in America; if we’re going to start calling a vote every time a politician looks vulnerable or unveils policies that offend a particular interest group, every day actually will be Election Day in America.

Really?

The last two quotes come from people who are paid to cover the political process, and they don’t point out that back in 2003 California governor Gray Davis was just as unpopular as Scott Walker, but he lost his recall election to action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why?

As it turned out, Schwarzenegger led all other candidates in the money race. He gave himself and borrowed $10 million and raised $11.9 million from outsiders. … [M]uch of Schwarzenegger’s money came from longtime Republican donors, many of whom will have interests in legislation and decisions made by the governor and his administration. He took money from farm interests, insurance companies, the financial services industry and manufacturers, all of which have lobbyists in Sacramento. Real estate and development interests, which are affected by state environmental regulations and various fees, accounted for 14 percent of the nearly 12 million he raised.

So Arnold Schwarzenneger unseats an unpopular Gray Davis, but Tom Barrett doesn’t unseat an unpopular Scott Walker. And the punditry says Barrett lost because unions were ineffective and because people don’t like recall elections.

It does not compute.

Scott Walker won because wealthy people gave him money. Arnold Schwarzenneger won because wealthy people gave him money. In both cases, the wealthy people were Republicans. Republicans put money in campaigns because it’s an investment. Their side wins and they get paid off. This is a basic tenet of politics. There’s a reason why the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling matters. Companies are allowed to make unlimited contributions to campaigns. Companies invest. They expect a payout for their investment.

It’s just business. Nothing personal.

And that’s what liberals continually fail to understand. They treat politics as “a cause.” They organize rallies and sign petitions and give concerts. We’ll all just gather around and sing a protest song and everything will be OK because our cause is a noble one. But our truly wealthy (and I mean Koch brothers wealthy, not movie star rich) liberals never sully themselves with funneling money to politics because “that’s beneath them.”

What’s the difference between wealthy and rich?

Here’s the point where someone on the right says the magic words George Soros.

OK, class. Take a piece of paper. On the left side, write a list of all the wealthy liberal political donors the media regularly tall us about. On the right side, write a list of all the wealthy conservative political donors the media regularly tell us about.

Zounds! My paper seems to have more ink on the right side!

And just throwing one more factoid out at you, since it’s an election year.

It is estimated that $2 billion is going to be spent in this year’s presidential election. Mitt Romney outpaced Barack Obama in fundraising in May. The challenger is raising more money than the incumbent.

It obvious where the money is coming from. So where will that money be going?

Not to people in need.

It goes to television and advertising. Television has a major stake in this election, not because there’s a desire to inform the public, but because candidates are putting millions of dollars into their corporate accounts. They have been bought.

But the question is, haven’t we all been bought, as well?

In this election circus, the sideshow is that the Walker win in Wisconsin is a blow unions and sign of public antipathy to recall elections.

But here’s a quick calculation: Scott Walker spent $47 million dollars and got 1,334,450 votes. Tom Barrett spent $19 million and got 1,162,785. So a vote for Walker comes to $35.22 and a vote for Barrett cost $16.34.

The conservative investment in Walker (and the Koch brothers contributed a nice chunk to Walker’s campaign) paid off. Do you think the results would have been the same if the money was equal?

A friend once said to me: “I always knew I could be bought. I didn’t realize it would be for so little.”

The Cheeseheads just named their price.

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Elections are not videogames

There have been a rash of post-election withdrawal symptoms involving recently elected GOP governors, where we’re getting a barrage of opinion polls that are telling us things like this:

Only three months removed from Governor Rick Scott‘s (R) inauguration, a majority of Florida voters now say the state is headed in the wrong direction and that, if they could do it all over again, they wouldn’t have elected Scott in the first place, according to a new Suffolk University poll.

And this:

Two months into his first term, a new poll shows Wisconsin voters are unhappy with GOP Gov. Scott Walker–and would send him packing if they were given a do-over of the 2010 election that sent him to the statehouse in Madison.

And this:

Since signing a bill earlier this year to strip public unions of most of their collective bargaining rights, Ohio Gov. John Kasich‘s (R) approval rating has plummeted, bottoming out at a new low in a PPP poll released Wednesday. As if that weren’t bad enough, the poll also found Kasich losing a theoretical do-over election — by an enormous 25-point margin.

These polls are short-term revelatory and long-term meaningless. Are people in Florida and Minnesota and Ohio are pissed off because they didn’t pay attention to the issues in those campaigns?  Were they conned by the specter of forged presidential birth certificates, a secret Muslim intrusion in the White House and death panels discreetly hidden in a universal health plan? The voters went off in a Tea Party snit and voted in conservative Republicans who — surprise, surprise — are doing what conservative Republicans would obviously do.

So why are these voters whining now? The argument, “We never expected these guys to do what they stand for” doesn’t wash.

Elections aren’t like videogames. When you screw up, you can’t just hit a reset button and start over like nothing bad happened.

In a videogame your player goes into war and steps on a land mine, or drives a car at 200 miles an hour and smashes into a wall, or goes too far in a hop and ends up falling off a cliff. Then you get another life: You resume where you got killed and keep going until you use up all of your lives.

Elections are real life. In real life, when those things happen, you die. Game Over.

So after less than six months, the citizens of these fair states decide they made a mistake and want a do-over. When you elect a governor, you’re electing someone who’s going to be in office for four years. Every politician knows that when you have that kind of time, you ram your most controversial and distasteful programs down the public’s throat immediately, because voters have short attention spans. The traumas of the first six months are often forgotten when the next election season begins three and a half years later.

If voters don’t like what’s happening in their states, maybe it’s time they think about getting an attention span. Instead of them being distracted by shiny objects (Oh, this health care debate is too complicated and … ooh! Lindsay Lohan just got arrested again!) they need to examine the issues,  figure out what’s really in their best interests, cast their votes and deal with the consequences.

Stop acting like life is a game of Super Mario, already.

Wisconsin wacko

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the battle going on in Wisconsin over the Republican governor’s efforts to destroy the state’s unionized work force, here’s the reason why the governor should be removed from office.

The Internet is burning up with the news that Governor Scott Walker may have been pranked by a caller claiming to be David Koch, and a spokesman for the Governor, Cullen Werwie, emails a statement confirming the call is legit:

… A few items of note from the call:

* Walker doesn’t bat an eye when Koch describes the opposition as “Democrat bastards.”

* Walker reveals that he and other Republicans are looking at whether they can charge an “ethics code violation if not an outright felony” if unions are paying for food or lodging for any of the Dem state senators.

* Walker says he’s sending out notices next week to some five or six thousand state workers letting them know that they are “at risk” of layoffs.

“Beautiful, beautiful,” the Koch impersonator replies. “You gotta crush that union.”

… Walker reveals that he is, in effect, laying a trap for Wisconsin Dems. He says he is mulling inviting the Senate and Assembly Dem and GOP leaders to sit down and talk, but only if all the missing Senate Dems return to work.

Then, tellingly, he reveals that the real game plan here is that if they do return, Republicans might be able to use a procedural move to move forward with their proposal.

We haven’t even gotten to the part where they discussed planting “troublemakers” in with the protesters.

Has this clown even been paying attention to what’s going on in the Mideast and North Africa, where government leaders have been trying to undermine popular protests only to have those “plants” backfire? The end result has been the tyrants get run out of the country. Unless Walker is as insane as Gadhafi in Libya and plans to have the police shoot demonstrators.