BLAME BARRETT!!! …or, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…

In the regular election campaign for governor of Wisconsin in 2010, Scott Walker’s team ran an insidious internet ad campaign urging commuters stuck in detour traffic around a freeway interchange, requiring emergency replacement of several crumbling ramps, to “Blame Barrett” for the extra frustration. After seeing Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett lead the long effort to recall Walker to a rather predictable defeat, the slogan has an eerily appropriate ring.

The entire big-name, talking head, politically connected leadership of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin somehow convinced themselves that the way to recall a sitting governor was to run against him the same uninspiring grey eminence voters had rejected less than two years earlier. The only Democrat who ever lost a statewide race against Walker somehow was packaged as “The only candidate who can defeat Scott Walker.” The Democratic Party of Wisconsin didn’t initiate the recall effort, but once the recall built up momentum, quite handily destroyed it. In doing so, party leadership showed that it has learned nothing from its salutary defeat in 2010.

Voters had already expressed how a choice between Barrett and Walker impressed them. Given that choice, they preferred Walker. Getting the signatures of one million voters to recall the governor was not accomplished by highlighting some belated recognition of the sterling virtues of Milwaukee’s mayor. It was a rejection of the fundamental dishonesty of Scott Walker. The crisis cried out for bold new leadership, for a candidate who would talk substance, not political platitudes, offer new programs, not those already tried and found wanting.

By any objective measure, the Democratic Party lost control of the state legislature in 2010 by being more concerned about winning the next election than delivering any kind of results. Action on almost any program of any consequence was deferred on the ground that “first we have to win the elections and retain our majority.” By this approach, they lost their majority. One state senator was challenged in the Democratic primary, and lost badly, ending up taking an administrative post in the Walker administration. His challenger easily won the general election. The rest, between dating payday loan industry lobbyists and refusing to vote on a badly needed standard process for established regional transit authorities, went down to defeat.

The “let’s twist again like we did last summer” mentality is not limited to Democrats. House Republican leader John Boehner learned nothing from his party’s losses in 2006 and 2008, announcing upon regaining control in 2010 that his caucus would pick right back up with the priorities voters rejected in 2006. Voters aren’t looking for the same old, same old… from either party.

A county by county map shows the failure of Democratic leadership. It was predictable that Milwaukee and Dane counties would vote for anyone but Walker, while the tight ring of wealthy suburbs around Milwaukee would “stand with Walker.” But the voters who were seriously weighing how to cast their votes live in all the rest of the state. The western counties that send Democrats to congress and supported Barack Obama, the Fox Cities which have leaned away from their traditional Republican hue, were not inspired by Barrett. It takes more than name recognition to win an election. Walker ran with a deceptively bland campaign focusing on taking  lunch to work in a brown paper bag, and creating 250,000 new jobs (no details provided). He ran as the fresh new face. That worked. What he really meant to do in office was deferred until another day.

Walker’s results have been destructive, but he got to work on his evil agenda. Cobbling together a majority takes more than pointing out how bad the incumbent is. It takes inspiration that Tom Barrett could not summon in 2010, and could no more deliver in 2012. It is tempting to think that if Wisconsin had a recall law like California’s, a majority would have voted Walker out, while a suitable replacement would have emerged from the votes of all of the voters. But, when it came down to Walker vs. the stale candidate put on offer by the Democratic Party establishment, the pale Democrat was found wanting. It was a sad end to a great popular movement, betrayed by the inadequacies of modern party politics.

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Idol Worship and Scott Walker: Signs of the Times

Out on the Les Paul Highway in Waukesha County, there are twin signs on a hillside in front of a business, announcing “Stand With Scott Walker – For Fiscal Responsibility.” That is an odd sentiment, because there is not, and never has been, anything fiscally responsible about Scott Walker. He may feed a hunger for fiscal responsibility, but he doesn’t practice it. During his eight years as Milwaukee County Executive, he deferred essential expenditures indefinitely into the future, but he never made any really hard choices. He wrapped himself in the mantle of keeping taxes down, by the simple expedient of shoving real costs forward, so that some hapless successor would have to raise taxes sharply. He gutted the county psychiatric hospital, inducing rampant security problems, including repeated instances of female patients being raped. If Walker maintained his home like he maintained Milwaukee County, his neighbors would have been calling building inspectors and reporting him as a public nuisance. At the state level, he cut support for education while spending more money on highways, under cover of a “budget repair bill” that cut neither taxes nor spending, just moved the burden around.

On South Howell Avenue in Oak Creek, is an even stranger sign: “Scott Walker for Sportsmen: Our Outdoor Heritage Matters.” Indeed it does. But when in his entire political career has Walker ever done anything to preserve our outdoor heritage? Walker let Milwaukee County’s award winning park system deteriorate for eight years, while trying to sell them off to private developers. Fortunately the County Board of Supervisors lived up to their name, by keeping him under tight supervision. As governor, Walker has rammed through legislation destroying the nonpartisan independence of the state Department of Natural Resources – putting it under the thumb of his august self.

If Walker is re-elected, it will be due to three factors: 1) The Democratic Party leadership was clueless enough to push Tom Barrett forward for another chance to lose to Walker, 2) Walker is able to project an aura and language that have nothing to do with his performance in office, tapping into what voters want, without the necessity to even pretend to deliver it, and 3) millions of dollars to perform the semantic miracle of projecting himself as a champion of fiscal responsibility and concern for our outdoor heritage. It could be 1984 all over again.

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Democratic Party leadership has learned nothing from 2010

When a party suffers a substantial defeat at the polls, one might expect it to re-examine the candidates it offers voters, and the program it commits to. But it usually does not. Hubris runs high among both Democrats and Republicans. In 2010, Republican House leader John Boehner said his party would go right back to what it was doing before its shellacking at the polls in 2006. When spontaneous citizen action offered the unparalleled opportunity to recall and replace Governor Scott Walker, surprised Democratic Party big-wigs began touting that the strongest candidate to challenge Walker would be Tom Barrett – the Milwaukee mayor who inspired voters so well in 2010 that Walker was elected running against him.

Say what? The way to win a recall is to re-run a loser? Dave Obey said so. Obey had the good sense to know it was time to quite in 2010, but having withdrawn from politics, he suddenly appointed himself the expert on how to unseat Walker when citizens rebelled against the new governor’s utter duplicity in office. Barrett may not have really wanted to run at all. It was pathetically obvious he didn’t, in 2010. Senior party leadership poured into his ears the facile assumption that only he could lead them to victory. He had long lists of big-name endorsements. What he lacks is an inspiring new program to offer the tiny fraction of voters who decide elections: those who are genuinely uncommitted and want a good reason to vote for one candidate or the other.

At this point, Barrett is the nominee running against Walker. Those who are committed to recalling the incumbent have no choice but to vote for Barrett. Many will, even if they have to hold their noses to do so. But will enough voters do so to turn Walker’s 52 percent victory in 2010 into a 49 percent loss in 2012? Barrett is spouting little except pious platitudes. Voter turnout in 2010 was low. It may be higher in the recall. Recalling Walker may depend upon bringing voters to the polls who sat out 2010, asking “How can I choose between two people I don’t trust? Has Walker’s performance been frightening enough to answer that question? Or has Barrett’s name on the ballot reinforced that cynicism?

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Barrett has a thin skin about gaps in his record

Tom Barrett, a fairly competent mayor for Milwaukee, was on the radio news broadcasts April 24, whining that he thinks it’s inappropriate for Kathleen Falk to mention the fact that he was nowhere to be seen in the movement to gather one million signatures to recall the current governor, Scott Walker.

It’s a fact. He wasn’t there. He was sitting on the sidelines. It was a weakness of the recall process that no specific alternative to Walker was put forward. Falk, however, was among the many who put themselves on the line to make a recall possible. After all the hard work was done, Barrett wrapped up a successful race for four more years as mayor of Milwaukee… turned around and asked “Was anyone calling for meeeeee???”

Actually, no. Thousands of volunteers out collecting a million signatures had NOT been thinking about Barrett for governor AT ALL. Many people thought he was reluctant to run for governor in the first place in 2010. Few expected the loser of 2010 to offer himself as “the only one who can beat Scott Walker” now. In truth, Tom Barrett is the only Democrat who has LOST to Scott Walker in a general election for governor.

The truth is, most Democrats who lost in 2010 deserved to lose. Wisconsin didn’t deserve the Republicans who ran against them, but a lot of Democratic incumbents had distinguished themselves as standing for absolutely nothing, standing around with their wet fingers to the wind, saying “not this year, voters might not like it,” to almost any bill of substance.

Voters will be looking for something better than what the Democratic Party had to offer in 2010. Kathleen Falk isn’t the freshest, newest, face in the party, but she’s not the face the party offered last time around. She had done, in Dane County, what Walker would not do in state government: sit down with unions, present the budget figures, and bargain for ways to save taxpayers money that state employees could live with.

Now it really all depends on whether Falk can show voters, Democratic voters first, then in the general election, that she has something of substance to offer. If she can do that, then she could be a viable candidate, and a competent, inspirational, governor.

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Barrett puts his ego ahead of Walker recall

The Walker campaign has received the best news since the recall campaign began: Tom Barrett is sticking his nose into the race, offering the Democratic Party a chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Everyone in Wisconsin knows how voters responded to a choice between Barrett and Walker: they chose Walker. The majority wasn’t huge, but majorities seldom are in America, and certainly not in Wisconsin.

There could be no greater betrayal of the hard work by thousands of citizens to recall Scott Walker, than to reduce this election to a replay of the losing 2010 campaign. The recall was not even initiated by the Democratic Party — it was initiated by independent organizations like Wisconsin United and Wisconsin Jobs Now. The Democrats got on the bandwagon once they saw it was a good bet.

Turning back the recall with Barrett at the top of the ticket will be like shooting goldfish in a barrel. The Republican machine has been revved up for it, and fine tuning its attacks. Barrett is offering a classic case of the Peter Principal. He has a job, as mayor of Milwaukee, that he does with reasonable competence. He’s not outstanding, but he’s competent. Now he insists on trying once again to rise to a level of incompetence.

Unfortunately, recalling Walker is going to mean electing a Democrat. An independent of some description might better capture the popular mood, but the electoral machinery to make it happen does not exist.

Fortunately, Barrett has to win a primary before he can put himself up against Walker. Even more fortunately, in Wisconsin, we have an open primary. Core Democratic voters are not going to decide this election. They turned out in 2010 also, and that wasn’t enough to win. Swing voters are going to decide this election.

The legitimacy and success of a recall depends on people who voted for the incumbent changing their minds. Hopefully a good turnout of independents will nominate a Democrat who will offer a bold new challenge to Scott Walker, not a tired old lame patsy who has already shown he can’t lead to victory against the incumbent.

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Signs of recall sentiment in Germantown

Proudly displayed by a homeowner on a bucolic residental street in Germantown, Wisconsin.

A large banner supporting the imminent recall of Scott Walker from the post of Governor of Wisconsin deserves some mention, when it appears in Germantown, the south-east corner of Ozaukee County, north of Menominee Falls and just diagonal from the northwest corner of Milwaukee County.

The largest bloc of Republican votes in recent elections came from counties that surround Milwaukee like a siege ring. Without them, the reliable Republican vote spread thinly through the rest of the state would be a feeble challenge.

Of course this is the United States of America, so there is no constituency where any candidate or party can count on 90 percent, or 99 percent, and seldom even 70 or 80 percent. In a presidential election, 60 percent is called a “landslide,” even though it means 40 percent of the voters wanted another candidate; even 55 percent is considered a strong showing.

Scott Walker was elected governor with 52 percent of the votes in 2010, that is, 52 percent of 49 percent of eligible voters. In Ozaukee and Washington counties, 66 and 60 percent of eligible voters turned out, among the top three counties in the state, giving Walker 68.9 and 75.2 percent of the votes cast.

If Walker’s support in these bastions of loyal support drops by five percent or so, without his support drastically improving somewhere else in the state, his effort to retain office is in serious trouble. A recall election is not about the losers getting a second bite at the apple. If recall petitions were mostly or only signed by people who voted for a different candidate in the general election, a recall would simply result in roughly the same result. A recall is about people who did vote for the incumbent, expressing shock and revulsion over his (or her) performance in office. It may also, secondarily, be about people who weren’t inspired to vote for anyone. This last group, if motivated by the incumbent’s performance to get out of their comfy couches and go vote in the recall, could swing the result as well.

Democratic Party fundraising appeals are highlighting Scott Walker’s highly successful out of state fundraising. The names of Texas millionaire Bob Perry, and of course the Koch brothers, are a natural foil. Reportedly, these villains from central casting have pledged that they are “going all in to save Scott Walker.” No doubt they are, and they have the money to pour into it.

But this time around, they really don’t matter. When voters don’t know the candidates well, millions of dollars buying a non-stop stream of TV spots can swing an election. You can fool all of the people some of the time. A lie repeated often enough will be believed, at least for a while, just as Joseph Goebbels said. But the recall is not about doubt, confusion, and uncertainty. Most voters in Wisconsin made up their minds in February 2011. Everyone in Wisconsin has seen Scott Walker on display, and either approves or does not. No amount of television advertising is going to sway opinion this time around. It’s just a show, with both sides preaching to the choir.

Walker still has support – nobody should make a mistake about that. He’s not going to be turned out of office by a 90 percent majority, or even 70 percent. He is likely to win 45 percent of the votes, quite possibly even 47 or 48 percent. But that falls short of a majority. There are “I Stand With Walker” signs in various parts of Germantown, Waukesha, and along the lonely stretch of Highway 20 west of East Troy. But there are “Recall Walker” signs in Waukesha, in Germantown, in Whitewater, Watertown, and Fort Atkinson.

A governor who does a decent job usually gets an approval rating above the percentage of people who actually voted for him. Walker’s approval rating plunged sharply below his 52 percent majority in his first couple of months in office. If his support slips even five percent in the recall, he’ll be looking for a new job. This one will be decided by the well-informed citizens of Wisconsin, not by out-of-state money.

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Crimes may be added to lies as reasons for recall

The primary motivation for a campaign to recall Scott Walker from the governor’s office was that a significant portion of those who voted for him in the first place felt betrayed by his actual conduct in office. But according to information being gleefully emailed around the state from Democratic Party of Wisconsin email addresses, his administration may, in little over a year, have racked up a record of criminal corruption as well. Fifteen felony charges and three misdemeanor complaints have been filed against six of Walker’s closest associates.

One criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, according to Maggie Brickerman, the party’s state executive director, charges a secret email network set up twenty-five feet from the official governor’s office, as an end-run around open records laws, used among other things to do political campaigning and fundraising on taxpayer’s time. It wouldn’t be the first time; legislative leaders of both parties have been tried and convicted of similar misdeeds. But, for a governor subject to recall by the voters who elected him, to be doing this so flagrantly at the top of the executive branch, would take such venal corruption to a new level.

Kelly Rindfleisch, former Deputy Chief of Staff, and Darlene Wink, former Director of Constituent Services, have been charged with campaign finance violations, sending out campaign emails and organizing fundraisers while on the clock as state employees, time paid for by taxpayers to conduct public business. Tim Russell, former Deputy Chief of Staff, has been arrested on charges of stealing thousands of dollars intended for wounded veterans and families of military service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee to the Veteran Service Commission, has been charged with five felonies, all revolving around theft of funds from the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Operation Freedom.

It can hardly be said that the arrest of Brian Pierick, former operator of, for felony enticement of a child, is related to either the Walker campaign or the conduct of state business. But the other arrests — albeit each individual is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in court — outline a possibility that the Walker administration views the state as an oyster bed to be tapped, rather than regarding state business as an opportunity for public service.

When he took office, Walker began concentrating unprecedented power into his own hands as governor, eliminating the independence from day to day politics of such agencies as the Department of Natural Resources. Money and power… power and money… Walker may have ambitions to wield the power assembled by the late Huey P. Long in Louisiana, although without any pretense to Sharing the Wealth. Replacing him in the upcoming recall election might well nip a nascent bid for dictatorship in the bud.

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Believe in / Reclaim Wisconsin again and again and again

One of the slogans of the campaign to recall Scott Walker is “Reclaim Wisconsin.” This follows close on the heels of the Walker campaign’s 2010 slogan “Believe in Wisconsin Again.” It is typical of politics that each side claims to speak for “The People” and for truth and righteousness and progress. Even conservatives claim to offer more and better progress than progressives, who in turn claim to conserve the best of the past.

The truth is, between forty and forty-nine percent of the electorate generally voted for the losing candidate in any election. That is not a majority, which is why the losing candidate lost. But it is a lot of people, a very significant part of “We The People.” Seldom is any election a mandate to go whole hog on whatever the winner’s little heart desires. One reason Scott Walker is likely to face a recall election — which he may well lose — is that he forgot this simple fact.

Walker won fifty-two percent of the vote, in one of the lowest voter turnouts in many election cycles. Fifty-two percent is a majority, and it entitled him to take office. It meant that the center of gravity of “We The People” was leaning a bit his way. If he had been thinking clearly, instead of whooping for joy like a little boy in a candy store, he would have started his term differently.

He would have said “Gee, forty-eight percent of the people didn’t want what I offered, and a record number were so uninspired they didn’t vote for me any more than they voted for Tom Barrett.” He would have sat down with the leadership of the surviving Democrats in the legislature, and said, look, I won, and this is my plan, but to make this work for everyone, I’m going to need your help. Let’s talk about what the bottom line is for me, what the bottom line is for you, how we can cut each other some slack, and make the next four years work for all the people of Wisconsin.

But he didn’t. That is one reason he is facing a strong demand for recall. In addition, he has alienated a significant number of the voters who elected him. People who voted for Scott Walker are out circulating recall petitions. When you won with fifty-two percent, all it takes is three percent changing their mind about you, and your numbers are down to forty-nine percent. A shift of five percent brings you down to forty-seven percent. A new governor doing a half-way decent job generally moves things the other way, with five or ten percent of those who voted for the loser saying, Yah, well, this guy’s not doing such a bad job.”

News coverage suggests that Walker’s own polls show fifty-seven percent favoring recall. That is exactly what a recall election is for: when one year in office horrifies many of the people who voted for the incumbent. But not ALL the people who voted for Scott Walker favor a recall. There are those who like and admire him, who approve of most or all that he had accomplished.

When the dust settles, if Walker is recalled, it is a sure bet that AT LEAST forty percent of “We The People” of Wisconsin will have voted to keep Governor Walker in office. It is likely to be closer to forty-five percent, maybe even forty-nine percent. The Democratic Party will then have to face the fact that not much short of half the voters still supported Scott Walker. Voters who are NOT Democrats, but supported the recall, will also have to adjust their expectations of what happens next.

It won’t be carte blanche to do whatever the new governor wants. Even if control of one or both houses of the legislature flip, by recall elections in 2012, or in the regular November elections, the new governor must BE what Scott Walker rhetorically claimed to be: the governor of all the people of Wisconsin. No law, no program, no platform, ever gets the support of 100 percent of the people. Individuals are too individual for that. But the things worth doing, the things that need doing, should each be laws, programs, policies, budget items, that a good sixty-to eighty percent of the people can live with.

If Walker had thought about that, he wouldn’t be facing a recall right now. If the next governor thinks about it, use of the recall will remain rare, a last resort. Otherwise, we are going to have constant battles between caucuses and parties that want what they want and want it now, but are unwilling to accommodate what forty percent of the people care about. It will be non-stop battles, and no time to actually get anything done.

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Millions for television spots, but not one cent is persuasive

There are elections where money talks – whoever can blanket the airwaves with their carefully crafted propaganda can create an atmosphere, set the agenda, and turn voters, like a herd of sheep, to vote for the preferred candidate of the man with the deep pockets.

The campaign to recall Scott Walker is not one of those elections. Just about everyone made up their mind in February 2011. Those who are going to vote to keep Scott Walker genuinely appreciate what he has done in the past year. Those who are going to vote to replace him, are genuinely horrified by his performance in office. Voters are not going to be motivated by impressions, or atmosphere. Scott Walker’s tenure as governor is going to rise or fall on his record in office.

Money talks when voters are unfamiliar with the candidates. A man with little or no record can spin his own image, if he can pay to get it in front of every couch potato in the state. Scott Walker did that in 2010. Outside of Milwaukee, where he was overwhelmingly disliked, few voters knew much about him, and he didn’t tell them much. He told them what they wanted to hear, and 52 percent of the voters thought it sounded good. He was the fresh youngish face, offered in a year where everyone was feeling politically depressed. He wasn’t called upon to supply any details.

Money talks in Supreme Court elections, because most voters pay little or no attention to what judges are doing on a day to day basis. Creating a “feeling” about the judge, whether it has anything to do with their performance on the bench or not, can win or lose the battle.What Louis Butler did as a public defender had nothing to do with how he would rule as an appellate judge – but Gableman was able to create an atmosphere that “Louis Butler defends child molesters,” and slither into the Supreme Court. It didn’t take a law degree to recognize that the Gableman commercials were blatantly deceptive, but it would have taken some time to sit down and study unfamiliar facts, to see through the barrage of sound bytes. Most voters don’t take that time.

For the past year, everyone in Wisconsin who is even a possible voter has been riveted on what Walker has done, and what his opponents have done. There is no reason to be concerned about how much money the Koch brothers, or Karl Rove, or the United States Chamber of Commerce, are going to pour into the Wisconsin airwaves. Nobody is paying attention. Nobody is going to be moved. Nobody is uninformed. The drama, a real life, high stakes drama, has been playing out before our eyes for over a year now.

The money being spent by advocates of the recall is probably wasted also. Are people unaware that there is a recall campaign going on? Hardly. Are large numbers of voters genuinely conflicted about whether to recall our governor and lieutenant governor? Very few. People who have made up their mind are immune to massive television messages. Of course, if there were NO recall commercials at all, some voters might get the impression the recall campaign was over and “everyone but me seems to like Walker.” If its all over the TV, it must be true, right?

If one side does it, the other side feels they HAVE to do the same. Up to a point, that may be true. But it doesn’t matter how much money is available to either side. This one is going to be decided by the people. There are no sheep this time around. Everyone is awake, and thinking for themselves. No voters are looking for a slick campaign to issue them an opinion.

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But who will bell the cat… or run in the recall… ???

The question NOBODY is talking about may be the most critical: It seems obvious there will be enough signatures to require Scott Walker to defend his title in a recall election, but who will be running against him? If the Democratic Party offers a real dud, all the work and hopes that have been poured into collecting over 545,000 signatures could be a complete waste.

California has a better recall system: Once a recall election is scheduled, voters get two questions: (1) Should the incumbent be recalled? (2) If a majority vote to recall, who should succeed the incumbent? In 2003, a majority of voters chose to recall Gov. Gray Davis. Then everybody, both those for and against recall, got to vote on his successor — all on the same day. As we all know, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected.

Under current Wisconsin law, the only recall election will be Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefish vs. ________ and __________. Filling in the blank is a critical step. Republican Scott Brown took a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts in 2009 because Democrats picked a candidate who didn’t feel like campaigning, and didn’t think she needed to. The wrong Democrat could hand the whole deal back to Scott Walker.

Running Tom Barrett would be a real disaster. Barrett’s candidacy in 2010 was a major reason Scott Walker got into the governor’s chair in the first place. The Democratic leadership wanted someone with “name recognition.” Yes, Barrett was well known — as an old politician. Walker, although himself a ruthless politician of some years experience, was able to come on as the fresh young face. Barrett didn’t really want the job anyway, and it showed throughout the campaign. Barrett was ready to serve out another term or two as mayor of Milwaukee and then gracefully retire.

Hopefully the Democratic leadership of the 2009-2010 legislature, who all lost their seats in November 2010, are sufficiently chastened not to offer themselves. They are also a good part of the reason Republicans swept the 2010 statewide elections. Spineless cretins holding their fingers in the air to see which way the wind is blowing did not impress voters. They wouldn’t make a good contrast to all the reasons voters want Scott Walker out either.

Tom Nelson, who ran alongside Barrett for lieutenant governor, offers the youthful challenge many voters thought they were getting in Scott Walker, but he has settled into the job of Outagamie County Executive.

Kathleen Falk would offer the values and priorities that voters seem to be seeking as they sign recall petitions. She may still be wounded from the battle in 2006 for attorney general, when incumbent Gov. James Doyle distanced himself from her campaign, and she narrowly lost. Of course, being shunned by Doyle and Walker could make a candidate look really good this year. Neither is popular. She would need a better campaign staff than whoever designed her pathetically ineffective TV commercials in 2006. But she would make a really good governor, and offer recall voters a clear contrast to Scott Walker.

Maybe there will be a Democratic primary before the recall elections. In the 2011 legislative recall elections, several Republicans submitted papers for Democratic primaries just to drag out the time. But if there is no clear candidate with the confidence of most voters, ready to oppose Walker in a recall, a primary might be a good thing. At least, it would improve chances of getting a candidate on the ballot who has the confidence of voters.

That’s what primaries are for. Recalling Scott Walker is too important to leave the choice of a challenger up to a few party insiders.

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