Wisconsin Recall Vote Reinforces Party Tensions

Wisconsin state house further divided after bitter recall election.


The political knife fighting in Wisconsin isn’t going to stop after yesterday’s bitter recall election in which Republicans held their majority in the state Senate with Democrats one seat short of control. The enmity runs so deep that Democrats are calling for a recall of GOP Governor Scott Walker next year—the point when state law allows it.

  The ongoing drama in Wisconsin is a sign of how deeply polarized the major parties are in many parts of the country, not just in Washington, and how neither side is willing to back off. [Read more about the 2012 presidential election.]

This morning all sides were still battling. “Last November, Wisconsin voters elected new leaders to get their state back on track; when they did, union bosses lost their allies in the statehouse and vowed to stop at nothing to return Wisconsin to the failed politics-as-usual,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement E-mailed to reporters. “While Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in Wisconsin have put people back to work and turned deficits into surpluses, Big Labor and Democrats orchestrated a recall election for selfish political retribution. Despite spending unprecedented amounts of outside money to influence the outcome, they were soundly defeated for the second time in nine months.”
Arguing that the Wisconsin vote has national implications, Priebus added that, “Wisconsin voters rejected the reckless spending of Wisconsin Democrats and the downgrade-inducing policies of their Washington counterparts. They have given their seal of approval to Republicans’ successful efforts to balance the budget and ensure a healthy economy.” [Read why GOP 2012 candidates criticize the debt deal.]
But Democrats said the fight has only begun. In an E-mail to reporters and potential contributors this morning, the self-styled progressive group “21st Century Democrats” warned, “Governor Walker, You’re Next!” Jim Scheibel, chairman of the left-leaning organization, said, “Democrats in Wisconsin put up a good fight, but unfortunately they did not gain enough seats in the recall elections to gain control of the state Senate. But this is not a total loss. Governor Scott Walker can be recalled in January 2012....We need to recall Governor Walker next January.”
Scheibel said Walker and fellow Republicans “have pushed an anti-middle class agenda all year. They’ve slashed Wisconsin’s education budget by $800 billion. They’ve attacked worker’s rights. And they’ve done this while giving tax breaks to the wealthy!”
Clearly, both sides have only begun to fight.

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