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.