Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weird Wisconsin And The Political Armageddon To Come

After a brief hiatus from the blogosphere, during which the Republican Carnival came and went leaving Rick Santorum twitching in the dust and a Planned Parenthood Clinic attacked by a right wing wacko representative of the Republican base, I return to reflect on the biggest political event in a generation, the recall election. When the recall was conceived during the heady days of the Wisconsin Uprising over a year ago it was a noble dream with no details. Since then gazillions of dollars of corporate money are now faced off against a genuine grassroots effort to a large degree run by newly politicized people of all walks of life. Regardless of the outcome political life in Wisconsin will never be the same for either party.
The Democrats have come up with a slate of four candidates which in many ways mirror the strengths and weaknesses of the party in general. There are two time proven losers,Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk, who could be accurately described as centrists and close to the party centers of power. They have organization and experience in their favor and are widely seen as the most likely contenders. To the left of them would be Kathleen Vineout who lacks name recognition but has gained notice in progressive circles and has a compelling personal history. Not to be left out is Doug La Follette who has a familiar Wisconsin name and is running on civility and maturity. With all due respect he is not seen as a strong contender.
The Republicans have Scott Walker, the most polarizing figure in Wisconsin politics since Joe McCarthy and beneficiary of Citizens United's unregulated corporate largess. He taps into a base made up of social conservatives, wannabe corporate oligarchs, and the genuinely rich and powerful. Fear is a big factor in the lives of his non billionaire supporters whether its creeping Socialism, the perceived threat of unionism, or general social breakdown and uncertainty. It's not clear how committed the actual Republican voters are given that Walker's agenda was a sort of bait and switch scheme and may have alienated some of the middle class base.
The consequences of this election could see either party rendered irrelevant for years to come. For the Democrats a loss, especially if Barrett or Falk are involved, would call into question the logic of appealing to centrist values when the outcome is due to perceived lack of passion for progressive values.Negotiating with a group of take no prisoners Republicans is a no win proposition as America's national stalemate abundantly illustrates.
For the Republicans a defeat could symbolize the awakening of the majority of the populace to the fact they have no interest in the greater good and the concept of shared sacrifice. Another likely outcome may be the death of so-called bipartisanship which for anyone who has been paying attention has been DOA for years. Hold onto your hats, Armageddon in Wisconsin is coming.

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