That Scott Walker survived the recall in Wisconsin is a tragic setback for the stunning citizen’s movement that challenged his extremist agenda in Wisconsin. Its implications are likely to be exaggerated by the right, and underplayed by progressives. Here are some thoughts on its meaning.
1. Extremism will be challenged
Scott Walker is now a conservative hero. The right’s mighty Wurlitzer will argue that Republican Governors and legislators will be emboldened because he survived. The attack on public sector workers and basic worker rights, the sweeping cuts in education combined with top end tax cuts, the efforts to restrict voting rights, they will boast, will now spread even more rapidly across the country.
Really? Walker barely survived the backlash his policies caused. He lost effective control of the Senate even before last night’s recall returns are known. He had to go through a brutal recall, and watch his popularity plummet. I suspect that most Governors with a clue will see this as a calamity that they want to avoid. They’ll be looking to find ways to compromise, to avoid this brutal backlash. No question that the Tea Party and big money right will be lusting for more blood. But I suspect that Walker’s travails -- and those of Kasich in Ohio and Scott in Florida – will sober Republicans up a bit.
Anytime you can make the pubbies outspend you 7 to 1 to lose the senate and barely keep your governor in power, you have done well. Making your enemies waste their assets is part of good political strategy, just like what Obama has been doing to Mitt. All that money spent on keeping Walker in power will NOT be spent to defeat Democrats later. And like the OP says, this is not the end, this is just round one, politics is forever.