Well, this is a little egg on the face of the likes of the super-liberals and Russ Feingold-types, so at least there is that going for free speech in the 21st Century.
Outside money was the dog that barked but did not bite. Obama and other Democrats had long made dire predictions about the potential impact of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited funds on elections and created an entirely new class of wealthy political groups.
The money did dramatically change the focus and character of many campaigns. Candidates up and down the ballot were forced to spend more time than ever raising donations, while political advertising funded by outsiders was even more negative than before. Wealthy donors were so central to Romney’s campaign that a swarm of private luxury jets caused a traffic jam at Boston’s airport just prior to the nominee’s Tuesday night election party.
“Its lasting impact will be that it fueled the public’s disgust about politics,” said David Donnelly of the Public Campaign Action Fund, which favors stricter campaign-finance regulations.
Yet super PACs and secretive nonprofit groups — which spent up to $10 million a day on the presidential race alone — couldn’t move the needle far enough to prevail in nearly any of the big races they targeted. Outside money allowed Romney to be competitive with Obama, but that meant the candidate had no direct control over much of the spending, while his own campaign was plagued by high personnel costs and lavish consulting fees.
In the end, the two sides reached a kind of dreary equilibrium, clogging the airwaves with so many attack ads that Republican groups began airing spots in California and other deep-blue states where they had little chance of victory. By the end of October, more than a million commercials had been broadcast in a presidential race that remained close to a dead heat for much of the year.
Liberals will still be given dog-whistle phrases like “Koch Brothers” and “Citizens United” to encourage outrage at outside spending in politics — unless it’s from unions, that’s their money, dammit! — even when all it is being proven to show at the moment is that it is just more noise to be sacrificed to the channel changer or fast forward on the DVR.
Not unsurprising news, his chief of staff bailed to work for Milwaukee Co. government months ago. The writing was on the wall for weeks that something was going to change depending on last night.
Mark Miller has decided to step down from his post as Senate Democratic leader.
Miller’s office issued a statement Wednesday saying he plans to quit his post when the current legislative session ends in December.
The Monona Democrat ran unopposed in Tuesday’s elections. The statement doesn’t say why he chose to quit his leadership position and his spokeswoman didn’t immediately return telephone messages.
Question now is who takes over. The logical guess would be elevating Dave Hansen, the Assistant Leader, to leader, but considering he didn’t want the job after the 2010 elections (He briefly was “Leader” when they broke for caucus after former Wausau state Senator Russ Decker became the deciding vote against public employee contracts in the lame duck session, removing him as leader.), you wonder if he prefers to be #2 in the caucus more for political reasons.
It is a lot easier to knock out a guy in a swing district if he’s also the face of the opposition, and no doubt Hansen knows that.
Erpenbach is another likely option, since he’s practically been the media face for the caucus since “The Fleeing.” Frankly, the options among the 14 other members of the caucus not named Mark Miller are slim pickings. They’re more bomb throwers than leaders, unless someone decides to finally get serious among the lot.
As of this morning, the tally was a 58 to 42 percent loss. Given that it was in Michigan, you have to suggest that even blue collar labor unions are starting to get wise to what white collar public employee unions are trying to force upon them.
Michigan voters rejected a constitutional amendment that supporters said would strengthen collective-bargaining rights, and opponents argued would drive business away by giving unions too much power.
The loss for Proposal 2 was projected by the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV.
The amendment would have blocked so-called right-to-work laws in which union membership cannot be a condition of employment. Opponents, led by business groups, said the measure would have increased taxpayer costs by overriding dozens of laws, such as a 2011 statute requiring public employees to pay 20 percent of health-insurance premiums.
The vote was a “staggering defeat” for union leaders, said Jared Rodriguez, a spokesman for Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, the business-led coalition opposing Proposal 2. “Voters and union members sent a crystal-clear message to the union bosses today that union business has no place in Michigan’s constitution,” Rodriguez said in an e-mailed statement.
The ballot issue was the result of a petition drive by a union-led coalition after Wisconsin in 2011 stripped some collective-bargaining rights from public employees and Indiana’s passage this year of a right-to-work law. The Wisconsin move led to an unsuccessful recall drive against Republican Governor Scott Walker.
Proposal 2 supporters said the state went too far with laws that made it easier for schools to fire teachers, ban union-dues collections by government entities and allow state-appointed emergency managers to cancel union contracts in financially distressed cities and school districts.
Yeah, firing bad teachers and asking members to cut a check instead of just stealing from their paychecks. Those bastards.
I’m much calmer than you’d think I’d be. Frankly, I have siblings who are more “What the hell?” than I am today.
It’s not that the nation or Wisconsin flipped back to “Liberal” after 2010 to give us four more years of Barack Obama or six years of Sen. Tammy Baldwin, it was a combination of things, many of which you could see light-years away if you didn’t wish to blind yourself in the partisan glow and actually give honest analysis about them.
1) I called the GOP losing and Obama re-elected in 2011, while in a job interview in Washington, DC (I got the job too. It was contract PR work I did before my current gig.).
To put it mildly, after 2010, the GOP had an entire crew of second-stringers running for President in an environment which looked horrible against an incumbent about to spend $1B, with near universal media love and where frankly most friendly pundits and activists were begging others to get in the race. That doesn’t exude confidence, it’s a recipe for pending disaster.
2) Mitt’s August and September didn’t help.
The RNC Convention was a bust, followed by a month of inaction, inactivity, and little public events. When your best moment is in October, in the debates, you have to wonder if it was too late to turn the ship right towards victory by then.
3) Tammy just ran the better campaign.
When I’m having to talk my own father against a vote for a Madison liberal, you know there’s trouble brewing. She dominated the airwaves — especially the Green Bay market (more on that later) — after the primary and never let it go. I think I still can’t tell you what the woman is going to actually do as a senator from her ad campaign. All you can tell was “Tommy did this, Tommy did that.” “Tommy served in the Bush administration, remember how much you hate him?”
A lot of folks are going to have a “What the ****?” moment in a couple of years when they realize what they just sent to Washington as their junior Senator.
4) Name is not enough anymore.
I love Tommy Thompson, I respect Tommy Thompson, but how the hell his campaign made little to no effort in outreach with young people is going to haunt me for a while. 18 year old college freshmen were 4 when he was last on the ballot. The first time I could vote in 1998, was the last time he ran statewide.
His team did little to introduce him to a demographic he practically helped educate while also hoping “I’m Tommy Thompson, remember me?” could carry the day. Clearly, it didn’t.
5) The graphic which will haunt the NRSC.
Thanks Missouri Republicans and Tea Party Pin-head purists.
The largest shock for me in apparent GOP senate losses is North Dakota, mostly because the rest of the statewide races went so heavily for the rest of the ticket there.
6) For the big races, ticket-splitting in Wisconsin is dead.
The trend started in 2010, it appears to continue in 2012.
Obama victory in Wisconsin — 201,827. Baldwin victory in Wisconsin — 164,947.
7) The state was lost for the GOP in Brown County, the Fox Valley and the Lakeshore.
How best to describe this…
Ah, let’s just go w/ the numbers…
During the Walker Recall in June, Tom Barrett got 69.1 percent of the vote. Last night, Barack Obama got around 71 percent of the vote, while Tammy Baldwin got around 69 percent of the vote.
During the Walker Recall in June, Scott Walker got 59.7 percent of the vote. Last night, Mitt Romney got around 50 percent of the vote, while Tommy Thompson got around 49 percent of the vote.
During the Walker Recall in June, Scott Walker got 61.3 percent of the vote. Last night, Mitt Romney got around 50 percent of the vote, while Tommy Thompson also received around 50 percent of the vote.
During the Walker Recall in June, Scott Walker got 56.8 percent of the vote. Last night, Barack Obama got around 53 percent of the vote, while Tammy Baldwin got around 51 percent of the vote.
During the Walker Recall in June, Scott Walker got 64.1 percent of the vote. Last night, Mitt Romney got around 51 percent of the vote, while Tommy Thompson got around 49 percent of the vote.
During the Walker Recall in June, Scott Walker got 64.3 percent of the vote. Last night, Mitt Romney got around 54 percent of the vote, while Tommy Thompson also received around 54 percent of the vote.
Yeah, I think I’ve proved my point…
8] Dale Schultz is about to find out who his real friends are.
A king at 17, a jester at 18. Oh, what a life.
Question going into 2014: Will the 17th State Senate District now be a top priority for Democrats (Both Obama and Baldwin carried it with around 55 percent by a crude look-over this morning) since most of the “usual” swing districts (5,9,21,23, 29) look to have been locked up either through strong incumbents or redistricting? The thinking being “Do they opt for a colleague who will vote with them 100 percent of the time, or one who only votes with them when he wants media attention?”
9) Expect recounts in Assembly Districts 70 (Vruwink only leads by 170 votes) and possibly in 93 (Petryk leads by 500).
10) The Mining Bill is now going to happen. Expect the environmental groups to sue while the ink dries on Walker’s signature.
11) Jess King goes back to Oshkosh, probably as the only candidate Democrats think they have for when Petri retires in the CD-06 since Gordon Hintz is damaged goods and stuck in the state Assembly, representing Oshkosh until he gets bored.
12) The biggest stat nationally appears to still be about who do voters blame for the economy. Democrats have probably just won their last election running against George W. Bush.
13) Can’t wait to see who gets blamed for “Losing the Recovery.”
14) Someone needs to get the Club for Growth and the NRSC together and get peace talks going. The crap over these past two cycles needs to stop.
15) Can you name the candidate Democrats will run against Scott Walker in two years? Yeah, didn’t think so.
16) Would Hovde have won? Maybe, he would have had the money to survive the August bombardment Tommy had to go through, but I think you would have seen Baldwin’s campaign come out with a ton of anti-Wall Street ads.
17) Would Neumann have won? Yeah…only in Erick Erickson’s dreams. They would have called him the loser of Wisconsin faster than they called Mitt last night.
18) It’s hard to call this a mandate. I’m seeing folks comment that Obama got not only less votes than in 2008, but enough votes were different, Obama lost a number of votes equal to the entire vote of California and Kansas combined.
19) Does Barack even have the ability to reach across the aisle? He hasn’t shown it in over the past two years, what makes anyone believe he will do it in the next four?
20) Time for the GOP to grow up on outreach to the Hispanic votes. We have Rubio and Cruz, time to actually use them!
Finally…I’m expecting 2014 to be big for the GOP. We’re on the verge of an economic tanking which only the blind are too ignorant to see. Not to mention, second-term mid-term elections for any incumbent President historically have been bloodbaths for his party.
I’ll be joining John Mercure for 620WTMJ’s Election Night coverage tonight. It will be the same set of panelists that were on the air in June for the recall, myself, Mikel Holt of the Milwaukee Community Journal, and Jeff Mayers of WisPolitics.com.
We go on the air at 8 PM, just as the polls close and will be there until Lord knows when. I for one am expecting a long night. Why? It’s Election Night in Wisconsin, it is always a long night.
(Note to self: Buy some 5-hour Energy, you’ve been up since 6:30 AM.)