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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does Wisconsin 2011 = U.S.A. 2012?

Alexander Burns at Politico argues that Wisconsin in 2011 is a template for what will happen nationally in 2012, a split electorate with a narrow margin of victory:

Wisconsin’s contested Supreme Court race has set in motion a drama that’s by now almost painfully familiar. It goes something like this: A hard-fought election comes down to a few troublesome precincts. National commentators fret about ballot-box shenanigans and voter fraud. A not-ready-for-primetime local official becomes the target of withering partisan attacks. 
Then, both parties send in the lawyers.
I'm not sure I agree.

My feeling right now is that Obama either wins comfortably or loses comfortably.  He is so polarizing a figure that he manages to resurrect the lovefest and adoration, or he falls miserably on his face.

What do you think?

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  1. I never, ever thought I would think, much less write, something like, "Whoever the Republican is, I'll be voting for him (or her)." The media's adoration has not slackened markedly but I think enough is seeping through that by next year the bloom will be off the rose sufficiently that a good Republican candidate will stand a good chance of winning.

    Meanwhile, I'm willing to agree that Obama possesses a penetrating intellect and unmatched rhetorical skills, but I'm still looking for evidence. And item # 2,194 on the "if this were Bush" list--if Bush did his public speaking the way Obama does, "teleprompter" would be a national joke and a frequent late night comedian refrence.

  2. I think outcome of the 2012 elections will be academic, because the economy will have collapsed by then, and the USA subdivided into two or more countries like the old Soviet Union in 1991.

    Socialism is a nation killer.

  3. Well, I'd love to believe the "lose comfortably" hypothesis. And I think in an economic meltdown in 2012 not successfully pinned on the Republicans that could happen with the right Republican candidate. However, I really don't think with everything BO has going for him in terms of media support, grass roots organizing, campaigning skills, etc. that the disinterested middle swings so against him or the mood gets portrayed so negatively or the lefties abandon their enthusiasm so much as to make a comfortable margin likely.

    Possible, but I think a close election is still the more likely outcome. I think to underestimate the extent of grassroots effort planning that is going into states like Ohio now means it will be difficult, as much as I take heart in every victory like Prosser, my assumption is that this is tooth-and-nail to the end.

  4. I think if the Republicans put forth a candidate that is likable by Independants, Obama will lose comfortably. If they put forth a conservative candidate that is easy fodder to the liberal media, then it will be a close race like Wisconsin. Its always about swinging the people closes to center one way or the other, and right now Obama has been a polarizer. Someone center right with no baggage would attract almost all independants away from him.

  5. Florida looks bad for him and out today is a poll looking bad for him in Pennsylvania. Perhaps evil bitter Kling-ons were oversampled?

    Most underappreciated President ever?

    What has he done to deserve such a fate?

  6. If the Republicans have a good candidate and run an excellent campaign, they will probably win in this environment, but it will be close. There is too much at stake institutionally for the left. They can't afford to miss an opportunity to get a solid liberal majority on the Supreme Court or to have a stronger conservative majority established. If we get a solid replacement for Kennedy, or replace a liberal, their ability to use the court to advance their agenda is lost for a generation. They will fight tooth and nail and pull every trick. In that, WI is a good model for what to expect from them. I only hope it's a good model for what to expect from us.

  7. At the heart of the Executive branch is being the guy with a message. We're almost halfway through 2011, and so far the only person making waves is Donald Trump. Donald "I'm kinda crazy" Trump. And the Republicans once again, again, again look like chumps with the budget deal.

    If America rejects Obama, it'll be because people clearly get it outside of the media and the message machine. A serious possibility.

    If America accepts Obama, it'll be because the GOP will be too busy in-fighting, freaking out, and not being clear and "Well, at least Obama's trying. Cause, like, Washington's toxic, right?" A serious possibility.

    So yes, at this point he'll either win or lose comfortably. I'd say it all hinges on that, but honestly? I think we went off the tracks in a way that'll be hard to return from years and years ago.

  8. To respectfully disagree with VetHusbandFather, we tried a centrist in 2008 and got out clocks cleaned. This is the time we need to put some sanity back into congress with some solid conservative principles. The liberal media will trash us no matter what we do, so trying to appease them is a fool's errand. These are very serious times in our history and putting some squishy moderate in the white house would almost be as bad as returning Obama there.

    We are doing remarkably well in solid-blue Wisconsin. Sound fiscal conservatism is a winning strategy, and I wouldn't let anyone in the media try to tell us otherwise. They will try, though, have no doubt.

  9. Likeability will still matter. If the President faces one or more less likeable candidates, he'll win. If he faces a more likeable candidate, maybe not. Obviously, an incumbent always has better odds, FWIW.

  10. My message to the gentleman currently occupying the Oval Office - buh bye and don't let the door hit you in the back as you exit!

    However, this message will self-destruct should the Republican Party commit the unpardonable faux pas of nominating Mitt "Plastic Man" Romney for the Oval Office.

  11. It will be close, no way around it. At least 90% of blacks consistently vote Democrat. With Obama, it was around 97%. They make up 13% of the population. Obama will get an automatic 12%-13% of the electorate simply because he has a "D" next to his name.

    The other consistent Democrat voters are the radical extremists the Democratic Party started recruiting after the Neo-cons left the party in the 1970s: radical feminists and gay rights advocates, environmental extremists, economic neo-Marxists/progressives/socialists (all labels for the same thing - the only difference between them is to degree), and all the cultural Marxists in academia with their kooky ideas, etc. I have no hard data on what percent of the population this group makes up, but I'd guess it could be as high as 20% or more considering the influence academia has on young adults and college age voters. If true, then between the black voters and this group, Obama gets 32% of the vote without even campaigning.

    So, yes, the mushy middle will determine the outcome. I lost alot of respect for the mushy middle independents in the 2008 elections. I'm now very cynical about independents. I have no clue what, if anything, they believe in politically or what motivates them to vote. I guess they were too busy with important matters like eating McNuggets and watching American Idol to investigate Obama's background to see if his values mirrored theirs. I suppose you can make the case the mushy middle independents helped contribute to the shellacking in the 2010 mid-terms, but I am not convinced they have completely abandoned Obama. My guess is that if gas is over $5/gallon, unemployment stays over 8%, or if McNugget prices skyrocket, then the mushy middle might be distracted enough from American Idol to pay attention and vote for somebody other than Obama. But they have no idea why they voted for him in 2008, so who knows.

  12. I think the author is right- if Obama loses, then it will come down to lawyers and 'found ballots', much as it did when Gore lost, Franklin lost (originally), and this judge lost.

    If Obama wins, there will be lawyers and it won't be 'partisan' and 'an uproar', because liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex(a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity) while conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala (an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety).

  13. The GOP needs someone who can explain the attraction of "liberty" with enthusiasm, as opposed to the seductive slavery of dependence. Someone who isn't bitter or angry, but ebullient and charming. BUT. Someone who comes by that from a firm foundation in conservative principles.

  14. I think the 2012 race will be the dirtiest, most expensive and most dishonest election in our history. I believe fraud will be so much a part of the picture it will turn a huge number of honest but disillusioned voters away from future balloting, mores the shame. I think it entirely likely Teh One will get his second term. But I think he will have lost both houses of Congress and will be pretty much stymied for his second term. And in 2016 that we bring us Hillary and a Dhimocratic sweep of Congress. The end.

  15. The most cogent insight from the Politico article:

    "Chris Abele, a wealthy 44-year-old philanthropist, claimed the Milwaukee County executive’s office Scott Walker once occupied by more than 20 points, defeating a Republican opponent who cast himself as the next coming of Walker."

    Abele was a stealth candidate. He's a far-left activist in moderate clothing. His opponent was a pretend Walker. How could the voters of Milwaukee County elect both Walker AND Abele?

    How could Wisconsin voters elect both Russ Feingold (a far-left ideologue) AND Ron Johnson (a genuine conservative)?

    The short answer is that Milwaukee County and Wisconsin voters -- for all the activist rhetoric to the contrary -- are not ideologues. They are economic illiterates and gullible, political pragmatists who will vote for any new, fresh face (read "underdog") able to persuade them he's honest, sincere and has their best interests at heart.

    Russ Feingold was elected the first time because he ran hokey, funny, low budget "home movie" commercials that showed a "good guy" with his campaign promises written on his garage door.


    Scott Walker got elected Governor because of commercials that showed his campaign promises written on his brown paper lunch bag.


    Wisconsin voted Obama in 2008 because he was the latest new, fresh, underdog face. Intelligent, hardworking and successful Wisconsinites -- who, ultimately, are politically naive and ideological buffoons -- trusted Obama's soothing rhetoric and disregarded his far-left track record.

    How all this translates to 2012 I don't know. But I do know this: Presentation matters. It mattered for Russ Feingold. It mattered for Scott Walker. It mattered for Chris Abele. And it mattered for Obama.

    Leftist candidates have an advantage when it comes to presentation: they lie easily, often and well. Conservative candidates have to compensate for this by being extraordinarily sincere and passionate. This approach is what helped Ron Johnson defeat Russ Feingold...and folksy TV commercials that showed his campaign issues written on a white board.


    Reagan's brilliance was not only his conservative, anti-government message but also his ability to passionately present it.

    Right now the only Republican with passion and presentation is Trump. I could see him winning by a landslide in Wisconsin.

    Especially if Trump ran commercials showing his campaign promises etched in the stucco of one of his Atlantic City casinos.

  16. The meaning of Obama is that he represents Western self hatred. He could only be elected by a people that are self destructive. He will lead the USA down into further financial, social, and political catastrophe. I don't know if he will be re-elected, but the meaning of his re-election will be that we have much further down to go before any process of renewal is to begin.

  17. We live in interesting times. There is an acute crisis in the western ruling class as evidenced by events in Europe, the UK (including many of it's old dominions), the US and the middle east. For almost a century the progressive, social democratic model has governed by largess. The manifest failures of that government are now upon us. They are striving mightily to hide, postpone, camouflage and squirm out of a reckoning by lying first to us and then to themselves. Too late. There is very little of Other Peoples Money left to be had. The Europeans are eying German wealth but they are not going to get much more than they already have, except a nein. We are eying "the rich" but they already finance more than half our government, an amount that is only half enough anyway ($3.82 expenses less $2.17 revenue, in trillions, but IMF says current deficit is really -$2.08, more than 50% of expenses. We are borrowing about $6 billion each day). The Japanese and Chinese are probably maxed out on US debt. Right now we are selling ourselves our own bonds, how long can we keep that up? Presently our economy is a Potemkin village created by Washington.

    So can the Obama administration kick the can a little further down the road, lie through it teeth and fool enough people to get re-elected? Can the Republican Party really be an opposition party or are they just enablers for the Democrats? That last loudly reported $39 billion budget agreement is even more of a sham that it first appeared, being almost entirely constituted of leftover budget trash from the bookkeeping niches and crannies of the Washington establishment. Both parties knew that.

    The GOP establishment is Democrat Lite. Their hopes and fears are almost synonymous. Remember, during the middle of the last financial crisis both parties spoke with one voice. Can an outsider get elected via the Republican party over the adamant objections of the party establishment? Will someone like Trump run a third party campaign guaranteeing an Obama re-election?

    All Obama has to do is stumble into re-election being marginally more effective than the Republicans. People - not the readers of Legal Insurrection - but a lot of people prefer lies far more than the truth. If things are going to hell they would rather hear about it only when Charon finally shows up.

    That being said, we should fight like hell to stop the awful drift. Renaissance is possible. Our only conveyance is the unreliable, rickety Republican Party, so let's hop aboard that charabanc. Who knows who may join us, we can throw some tea overboard, stop in Iowa and New Hampshire, and maybe, just maybe elect someone with guts, brains and a servants heart.

  18. Obama will win. The advantages of incumbency, the billion dollar war chest, and the support of the MSM are too much to overcome unless he faces an exceptional candidate, and none of the GOPers are exceptional.

    If he faces one of the stolid midwesterners (Pawlenty or Daniels), then his electoral margin will be substantially smaller than last time, but if he faces one of the cranks (Huck, Palin, Trump), he will win in a landslide.

    I left Romney out because he has no chance of winning the nomination.

    FWIW, my personal fave is Jon Huntsman, who also has no chance at the nom.

  19. Praying and hoping for total defeat.

  20. It all comes down to who the Republican nominee is.

    If it's a lousy nominee, it will be a close race and Obama wins.

    If it's a good nominee - one that the base doesn't have to hold its nose, and doesn't turn off too many independents - Obama loses in a rout.

  21. Isn't it is just as reasonable to believe that the personal polarity might also result in an even split, rather than either a comfortable swing one way or the other?

    My own sense is that the key factors deciding the race will boil down to how some people see their own prospects in and around election day -- not whether they like or dislike him.

    I don't doubt that he will resurrect much of the love fest amongst his own "progral" base, regardless of any of their current concerns.

    They will really have nowhere else to go . . . well . . . perhaps with the exception of this distraught young warrior!

    Heh. If only . . . if only!!

    But seriously, I think the success of his campaign will depend on his ability to attract non-ideological voters, by convincing them a better future for them and for their families lies with supporting "the new and improved Barack Obama" rather than buying into the "uncertainty principles" associated with the other team.

    He simply cannot make voters swoon by trying to sell them a retread of the 2008 Barack Obama.

    Instead, he has to sell himself as a more reasoned, more seasoned and more experienced leader . . . a statesman with a plan. And, he certainly cannot sell "Change" because that means asking voters to reject him. Maybe he could try to sell "continued change," but it is risky.

    Two other factors will be involved. We have seen over the past few years that race has become a far less potent factor in motivating voters. The Democrats sealed their own fate in that regard by trying and miserably failing to paint Republicans, Conservatives, and Tea Partiers as a bunch of racist thugs. It has backfired on them big-time. Recall that even Obama disgustingly trotted that vile theme out once or twice during his 2008 election.

    But I'd look for him to take that arrow out of his quiver this time! He will, however, instead play class warfare by trying to link any hope of succeeding in a reasonable reduction in the deficit, to a huge tax increase on the rich.

    He'll say that those Bush tax cuts really started it, and he'll add that his own policies -- even though they increased the deficit -- were really a "necessary sacrifice" occasioned by the need to climb back out of that horrific, Bush-induced economic downturn.

    My own prediction?

    Too much 'splainin' needed to get that message across, and too many new media sources of solid information -- like this one -- are available to punch big holes in it.

    Obama would lose to Michael J. Mouse at this point, especially if Mr. Mouse keeps pointing out that Obama took a sharp left turn, and ended up driving the country on a radical, risky and bumpy detour route, one that needs to be corrected.

  22. Though as a Nicene Christian (there aren't any others), I regret his nome de plume, on this I concur with Arius. The counsel of Jeremiah applies in our circumstances: don't fight, pack your bags and head off quetly to Babylon, where you are going to stay until the Almighty, who has given you this fate you face, decides to return you home. Fighting is only against the Almighty.

    Jeremiah's point is, you don't have power to resist the invader so you have two choices, die now fighting, a true waste which the Almighty does not want, or take your chances in a foreign land on the Almighty's ticket. In other words, whom do you trust, your own piddling minds, vague impulses and unintelligent blather or the record and promise of your unseen caretaker?

    This isn't a political fight. Politico and the socialist machine to which it belongs want everyone to think it is. Burns would like everyone to think 2012 USA is prefigured by 2011 WI, just as the same machine would like everyone to think that the House Speaker "won" last week's agreement to fund the US government. The Priests and their "Prophets" at Jerusalem wanted everyone to think that the Babylonians would be thrown back by the God of Israel. The priests and "prophets" got to hang on a little longer if the nation thought and expected so. The socialist machine today gets to hang on a little longer if the nation thinks and expects the situation to be political and a cliffhanger. The machine is trying to make opponents squander energy on the forlorn hope of throwing back the machine in 2012.

    It's not about politics. The socialist machine wants everyone to think it is because that machine controls politics, period, and through both "parties." Nor is it about "rights," of which there are none for any who want there to be none. It's about liberty, which is to say nature. Today, as in Jerusalem of Jeremiah, the path of liberty is going into captivity and bondage. This nation, which BTW is not threatened in the least, is far from being serious about liberty. Therefore, let us let the socialist machine, domestic and foreign, instruct her.

  23. Here's one scenario out of many:

    Donald Trump has threatened to run as an independent if he does not get the nomination. Per Nader 2000, I can picture him siphoning enough votes from the GOP nominee to make the difference between victory and defeat. Especially if the Republican nominee is sane, qualified and competent.

  24. sorry, hit the wrong button and deleted Viator's comment as follows:

    "Uh, oh. That that GOP $39 billion budget victory is rapidly approaching $zero cuts.

    CBO: Budget deal cuts this fiscal year’s deficit by just $353 million, not $38 billion touted

    "A new budget estimate released Wednesday says that the spending bill negotiated between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner would produce less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in claimed savings by the end of this budget year."

    Washington Post


  25. Professor, I hate to disagree with you, but here are compelling arguments in favor of the close vote:

    * The are more government workers than manufacturing jobs in all but 2 states; it is in their best interest to keep government growing and not expanding.

    * Public employee unions will infuse cash into Obama's coffers any way they can -- no matter how their membership feels.

    * There will be some faction of the Conservative/GOP group that will decide to sit-out the election; the nominee will be deemed a RINO and not worthy of their vote.

  26. The Republicans will nominate a candidate that the best that can be said about him is that he is not Obama. He will be a RINO squish that is big with the country club group and barely palatable to the rank and file (bitter clingers).
    Meanwhile Donald Trump will run as a third party candidate.
    Barack Obama will cruise to an easy second term.
    Republicans, predictably, won't be able to figure out why no one will vote for them.
    Same old song, if you haven't heard it before it's because you're passed out on the bar by now.