They just can’t help themselves. Despte throwing everything the had at it, the Wisconsin Democrat/Union coalition lost the Prosser/Kloppenburg statewide election, and then failed to pick up the three seats needed to take control of the state Senate. Having lost, Democrats declared victory.
Democrats have convinced themselves that almost winning is the same as winning. It’s like Little League T-ball; every time Democrats lose in Wisconsin they give themselves a loud round of applause and a pat on the back because they tried.
Yet the dream lives on, stoked in part by some wishy-washy analysis by Nate Silver, that Democrats can unseat Scott Walker in a recall election which would take place sometime early next year.
I say bring it on, for reasons which a sane commenter at DailyKos pointed out in reaction to a post by Markos Moulistas claiming victory, which invoked Silver’s analysis that a recall against Walker would be close (emphasis mine):
…but, if all we can get from tonight is that we’d have a “toss-up” in a Walker recall, we should really fold our tents on further efforts of the sort, and concentrate on the regular 2012 legislative elections in Wisconsin.
Look at it this way: so far, this year, we’ve had two tries to remake the political landscape following the union-busting law. First was the SC election…we lost (by a close margin). Then, we had tonight’s recalls…we lost (by a close margin). Do we really want to pour our resources into yet another attempt, where there’s every chance that we’d once again lose (by a close margin)? Eventually, when you keep trying and failing, the electorate starts to turn against you for a) wasting their time on endless do-overs, and b) demonstrating “disrespect” for them by trying to nullify the result of their original vote. (Witness how, when voters narrowly reject a referendum or bond issue, and the backers re-submit the proposal the next time around, it usually goes on to lose by a larger margin the second time. There will come a point where Wisconsin Democrats are going to become known as the party that demands a recall every time they get an election result they don’t like — and, at that point, people are going to start voting Republican to “send a message” that they want their votes respected in the first place.)
As far as I’m concerned, if extrapolated results from this election show that we could easily defeat Walker next time around, go for it. However, if it merely shows a “toss-up,” even after all that has happened…just remember that a definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results.”
Walker will win the recall, but more important, it will set a nice stage for the 2012 presidential election with the relative good fortune of a business friendly conservative Republican administration in Wisconsin contrasted with the dismal performance of Obama and national Democrats.
A victory by Walker after Democrats and the unions once again throw everything they have into the race will have another upside. It will set Walker up as a potential Vice Presidential nominee, someone from the heartland who has taken the necessary steps to turn his state around and who withstood the onslaught.
Update: Steve Eggleston has a good review of the voting and why Democrats are overstating their chances against Walker.