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Argument at Netroots 2012 over Obama abandoning Walker Recall

Argument at Netroots 2012 over Obama abandoning Walker Recall

It only took one panel discussion at Netroots to reveal just how divided the left is in its narrative over how to handle Wisconsin.

Audience member Lisa Graves from The Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch, upset with the panel’s analysis of Obama’s interaction with the Wisconsin recall, called it “astonishing Monday-morning quarterbacking.”

Prior to my attempts to speak with Elizabeth Warren this past Thursday at Netroots, I attended a panel entitled “Talk a Walk, Scott: Post-Mortem of the Wisconsin Recalls.” The (perhaps prematurely titled?) panel was led by Kaili Lambe and included panelists Emily Mills, Josh Orton, and Harry Waisbren.

During the Q&A session, I asked the panelists if they felt abandoned by Obama during the recall fight. Obama had neglected to visit Wisconsin, instead tweeting out a last-minute endorsement of Barrett –despite being just a few miles away in Chicago in the last days of the campaign.

I asked, “Why did Obama abandon you, or do you feel Obama abandoned you, by not showing up [in Wisconsin]?”

Emily Mills responded that she didn’t feel abandoned at all:

I don’t. Me personally, I don’t feel that it was an abandonment. It was a choice of a national democratic party and that campaign and I have no idea why this maybe wasn’t a priority or not. There were people in Wisconsin who expressed real frustration and being upset with that. I honestly think if he had showed up it would have played right into a certain narrative, and not necessarily have been helpful.

Kaili Lambe went even further, saying “I think some of that disappointment was manufactured as well. I didn’t talk to a single person on the ground who was actually upset about it.”

At which point, audience member Lisa Graves, standing in line behind me, abruptly cuts in:

I disagree. It wasn’t manufactured. The fact that Obama tweeted the day before the election his support of Barrett was an insult. Quite frankly took many people who were out there fighting to get the vote out. And quite frankly, we covered it through PR, we covered extensively what was happening on the ground. And the apologist sort of approach that’s being taken by some, and the blaming labor when they knocked on doors to get people out, it’s sort of astonishing Monday-morning quarterbacking quite frankly.

A better quality video of the panel is here, my question starts at 1:05:00.

Graves’s comments brought to light the fractures that are growing within the left, which Wisconsin served to make more visible to the rest of us. Politico wrote today that the Wisconsin shadow hung over the entire Netroots conference.

At one point, panelist Waisbren went so far as to state that he viewed what happened in Wisconsin as a victory: “In the end, we didn’t lose, we won….Walker can’t just do what he wants.” (Though his fellow panelists didn’t feel quite as comfortable with that rosy assessment.) The Huffington Post reported on the same panel:

Fresh off their bruising defeat in Wisconsin’s recall election on Tuesday, grassroots activists blamed the buckets of money that conservative donors spent to keep Gov. Scott Walker in office for their loss and decried the Democratic Party for turning a people-powered movement into a traditional partisan electoral coalition….

…Rifts between the grassroots organizers represented at Netroots Nation and Barrett’s Democratic backers began months before the election during the party’s nomination battle. Barrett refused to promise to veto any budget bill that didn’t restore collective bargaining rights. The friction deepened when he ran on a traditional Democratic Party platform.

So the left is having trouble deciding how to communicate some uncomfortable facts (Walker’s win) and fissures (revealed as a result).

Was Wisconsin a victory or a defeat? Did Barack Obama abandon the grassroots activists or not? And was Barrett abandoning the grassroots also, by embracing the democratic party too closely? If these rifts do all exist, as Thursday’s panel would indicate, that means the grassroots disagrees with the national Democratic party, even as the national party (as represented by Obama) doesn’t want to endorse the state-based candidates. (Remember that snafu over sending funds to Wisconsin?)

If the left’s representatives on this panel at Netroots can’t even agree about Obama’s abandonment, how can they expect to help their Netroots audience out with this “post-mortem?”


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“Talk a Walk, Scott: Post-Mortem of the Wisconsin Recalls.”

I suggest “Take a Walk, Scott…”

Walker walking the talk is what got them so mad at him, right?

I attended a panel entitled “Talk a Walk, Scott: Post-Mortem of the Wisconsin Recalls.

It’s almost as if they can’t admit Scott won.

”In the end, we didn’t lose, we won….Walker can’t just do what he wants.”

Yeah, no. Walker never could “…just do what he wants”.

And he’s sure had his ears pinned back, huh?

Heh! Any doubt…at all…that these pukes are going to come out of this smarter…???

    persecutor in reply to Ragspierre. | June 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    And with the Wisconsin senate in recess for the rest of the year, that recall that “flipped” the senate really put a crimp in Walker’s plans, doncha know!

What do you expect? These are the same people who thought a few years of “community organizing” and a couple speeches qualified someone to be president.

    Ragspierre in reply to myiq2xu. | June 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Well, that…

    and all his magical stuff. You know, light-bringing, ocean-lowering…all that…

    I mean, how could you NOT vote for that guy…???

    (do I really need a sarc tag?)

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Ragspierre. | June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      You forgot that when he “creates jobs” they’re all high-paying ones, and Republicans only create minimum-wage jobs. And if not for ATMs, the Internet and self-service kiosks, Obama would have created jobs up to full employment!

Please, allow these wonderful people all the latitude they need to do whatever they think they should be doing! Yep, allow them to learn that they will sink but perhaps that’s not really a surprise but instead, that’s their actual intent! Besides, it’s always W’s fault, truly!

[…] Legal Insurrection: Argument at Netroots 2012 over Obama abandoning Walker Recall […]

These people may not like the actions of Obama, but I guarantee they will all vote for him.

” Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan. “

Remember, Obama expanded AmeriCorps and paying the entire student loan debt for urban charter school teachers that serve two years.

The left-wing non-profit foundations who are primary financial backers and investors in charter schools, are are also major bundlers for the Obama campaign.

So Obama made a calculated decision, all his crony elitist left-wing pals make out big time and the taxpayer picks up the tab on a new huge entitlement program.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to OcTEApi. | June 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I remember Hillary’s campaign manager’s firm receiving A $4(?) million sum from Stimulus to go & educate the public on something that did not need doing. It was so basic I forget.-something to do with the need to be aware digital TV introduction ?

    The figure was very close to her campaign debt.

Wisconsin was a win/win for the GOP and a lose/lose for Obama no matter if he came or did not come. A visit to Wisconsin would not have changed the outcome and would only have showed how ineffectual he was; by not coming, he essentially admitted his support would not help. The GOP would use either scenario to their benefit.

stevewhitemd | June 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

So the panelists are defending Champ at the cost of reality, eh?

There’s a surprise.

Of COURSE they are! That’s how they got to be panelists! They agreed (explicitly or implicitly, the latter due to the knowledge of the person creating the panel) to toe the Kos party line. That’s why they are up there with their special name badges that label them as panelists. Those badges alone are enough to entice them; remember per Orwell, all of us are equal, and some of us are more equal. This is one way everyone gets to see how equal these three are. That’s oxygen to the inside believers.

As to Champ’s abandonment of Barrett and the recall, of course he did. Mr. Axelrod, Mr. Plouffe and Ms. Jarrett, like all seasoned insiders, know how to do one thing better than the activists: they know how to count. Specifically, they know how to count to 50% + 1. They saw that Barrett wasn’t going to get there and planned accordingly.

It’s called, ‘politics’, and it happens all the time. Don’t take it personal, you activists with the non-special badges who sit in the panel audience. Just do your jobs and stop complaining. It’s the Kos way.

LukeHandCool | June 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Lefties are so cute when they start turning on each other.

The big winner? President Obama. Or so would say Lawrence.

Let me rephrase this:

Sorock: Yesterday was D-Day. Why did General Eisenhower fly from Algeria to Scotland and ignore the battle?
Mills: He wouldn’t have helped.
Graves: Bullshit! My platoon was massacred on Omaha Beach and you’re blaming them.

This is fun to watch.

I can understand Ms. “Quite Frankly” Graves’ anger, if the tables were turned I would have expected a Republican president and the RNC to step up and support our candidate in what was obviously an important election, but she doesn’t seem to realize that Obama would not have helped her cause.

I could be wrong but it seems the voters of WI would have resented the President telling them what to do and he wouldn’t have turned anyone’s vote. And it doesn’t seem he would have increased voter turnout, at least not enough to win it for Barrett, because it was already the highest ever for a gubernatorial election.

TrooperJohnSmith | June 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm

You now have been renamed, “Anne U. SoRock”

You do.

And thanks….

BannedbytheGuardian | June 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Thankfully for Anne this was held in a nice place & not some hole.

If you keep thi up Anne -I could put something into a tip jar!

Good Fun.

Another typical trait of the American Left is that you can abuse them unmercifully if your politics are right. It doesn’t matter how many of them you throw under the bus, how many times you break your promises to them, if you are the left-most candidate, they will fall in line behind you (unlike conservatives) and do whatever they can to elect you, no matter how vile, immoral, or illegal.

Obama was the most liberal Senator during his tenure – in a Senate which included avowed Socialist Barry Sanders! But Obama’s voting record was MORE liberal. He’s the most liberal American President ever.

There is NO chance the left will actually take him to task. None. Kos would rape and strangle his own mother and hang her body from a bridge before he would do anything to hurt Obama’s chances of winning.