Monologue of Despair (and Hope): Reactions to the Recall

7 June 2012
Hi all,

Well. We lost.  And that sucks.

But...we put up the fight of a lifetime and I hope the momentum does not stop here but only strengthens our resolve to get big money out of our politics and put people in charge of moving Wisconsin forward who have the best interests of all of us in mind.

The Isthmus asked me to share my thoughts on Tuesday's results for this week's cover story, "Him Again: Reactions to Scott Walker's Recall Victory."  You can click the link for the edited version of my response, and to read many more that express a range of emotions and ideas from a diverse group of people.

Here's the unedited version of my own response:
After working 16 hours at the polls, I learned Barrett had already conceded before I even got home.  I turned on the radio, and heard Walker claim victory.

I was inconsolable. I was shattered by Walker’s cruel, hypocritical victory speech, which revealed the depths of his megalomania and left me reeling: “People are sick of the attacks.”  His hollow, insulting claim that he plans restore the very dialogue he destroyed hit me like a body blow.  

Despite having put up a fight that will earn a place in history books, the citizen action and self-funded grassroots efforts that captured the world’s attention didn’t stand much of a chance against unlimited campaign contributions, full-time fundraising, and a messaging campaign so massive that the fact that it was dizzyingly full of lies and misrepresentations eventually became irrelevant.

People are sick of the attacks.  

Walker – in true “divide and conquer” form spent the majority of his speech bragging about how his divisive policies and refusal to negotiate prove he’s the kind of leader voters want, who will “stand up and make tough decisions.” Then he had the nerve to claim it’s time to work together.  

Scott “Fundraising IS Governing” Walker has zero intention of working together with anyone who is not handing him a check. We need now to strengthen our resolve to follow the money, and fight hard to keep it out of the politics that are destroying our schools, decimating our proud tradition of civility, and creating a vacuum where even the most massive, spectacular and inspiring display of citizen action is but a mosquito buzzing in ears that hear only the moneyed whispers of those who have shown us that democracy can, in fact, be purchased.  

We are sick of the attacks.  But that does not mean we’re about to stop defending ourselves against them.
Walker got one more thing right last night, and the heartless irony of it left me sobbing:  “Bringing our state together will take some time. There’s just no doubt about it.”
There's only one way to go from here.  Forward.

In solidarity,


P.S.  I want also to make clear that even though we lost the statewide battle, we definitely won the local one!  

With record voter turnout and registrations, Barrett won by 18% - 6 points more than his victory here in 2010.  And he won big is all the communities that had strong grassroots groups working to inform voters and get out the vote. So we learned one thing at the local level: 


And I'm feeling really, really good about that.  

THANK YOU, Sun Prairie voters and all who volunteered to make this happen. We win. Even if we're losers.  Our local minority might want to keep that in mind.


  1. Obama won his first term by running on a campaign of "Hope and Change". As every American views hope and change from the prism that is their own perspective, no 2 people would agree on what Obama's message was all about. Fast forward to 2010 and Tom Barrett never campaigned on actually doing anything -other than raising taxes and calling a special session that even he admitted would not be successful (to repeal Act 10). You cannot inspire someone to go out and vote for you by saying that you are not the other guy. You actually have to have a plan of your own.
    It is funny that Liberals seem to forget that while the fleabag 14 were hanging out with the FIBS, Scott Walker, and his people, were negotiating with the Democrats on tempering some of the provisions in his Budget Repair Bill. After several attempts at negotiating with Democrats, it was obvious that they were negotiating in bad faith and that their union bosses were pulling their strings (yes, Scott Walker was trying to negotiate with Democrats who weren't).

    I ask you to remember what happens when the union leadership (grass roots as you refer to them) dictate policy it is rarely for the benefit of the masses (much less for their members).

    Ya, Scott Walker could raise unlimited funds; however, what would have happened if he couldn't -the Democrats would still have spent the same amount they did and Scott wouldn't have been able to achieve parity??? You talk about the disparity in fundraising; however, the WSJ showed that both campaigns spent about the same amount of money (it is tough to say for certain because the unions are not obligated to disclose all their spending) -but you can add up the adds and get an estimate -which is what was done.

    Instead of complaining about how much funding Scott Walker was able to generate, why don't you ask why the Democrats rely so heavily on forced union dues? Maybe it is time the Democrats adjusted the message to correspond to the masses and not the likes of Segway Boy, the guy who looks like Rachel Maddow, Miles, and the rest of the hooligans who perpetually embarrass our great state.
    They said the Republican Party would be dead after McCain lost -Obama's failed policies have done more to solidify the Republican base than anyone thought -and now, only 4 years later, Obama is in the fight of his life (and one he is likely to lose).

  2. "But Walker’s critics were right about one thing: democracy was at issue in this struggle. What they got wrong is which side was actually upholding democratic values. * * * The unions and Wisconsin Democrats knew the rules. If they didn’t want Walker to bring a financial gun to their knife fight, they shouldn’t have started it in the first place."

    Don't remember the left having any problem with Obama spending $1 billion running for president in '08. "Fundraising IS Governing"... So, what does that make this guy?

    "President Obama has attended 191 fundraisers for himself and others, far exceeding the fundraising pace of presidents going back to Jimmy Carter as he drives to stockpile money for his re-election, according to new data compiled for USA TODAY."

    That's why you lose elections: because no one respects a hypocrite.

    1. "The line laid down by the Democrats weeks before the vote was that it's all about money: The Walker forces outspent the unions so they won, end of story. Money is important, as all but children know. But the line wasn't very flattering to Wisconsin's voters, implying that they were automatons drooling in front of the TV waiting to be told who to back. It was also demonstrably incorrect. Most voters, according to surveys, had made up their minds well before the heavy spending of the closing weeks."


      It wasn't the money. It was the incessant whiny, petulant, entitlement attitudes which this blogger obviously continues to exhibit. Have these people never heard the saying "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar?" That's why Obama wouldn't be seen with them; that's even why 38% of union households voted for the Governor. Yet, they stll don't get it.

  3. Regardless of who won or lost, Democracy was the winner here.

  4. It took some courage to post after the shellacking, particularly after your snarky and foolish commentary leading up to the election. But with respect... give me a break. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and grow up. YOU were the cause of this. YOU brought the recall to Walker. You brought this on the state. He did not impose this on the electorate. There was already another general election scheduled. This is not the Arab Spring or civil rights-- moral imperatives. This was a pseudo-activist, selfish, "gimmie my way" power grab that was destined to fail and preyed on the most intellectually lazy constituents. The irony is that you made Walker MUCH, MUCH stronger by all of this, which is a real shame. As a Democrat, please, get over yourself. You aren't helping.

  5. Ha ha; please everyone, go and read the Isthmus link that was posted above. Absolutely stunning. You just can't believe some of the melodrama... right off the bat, a teacher writes:

    "A year ago, when this all began, I wrote an essay explaining how Walker's actions would devastate teachers and declared, "I am not the enemy." But apparently -- according to Wisconsin voters -- I am."

    Oh come on! Seriously? Puh-leeeease!

    Nearly every subsequent author talks about the "movement." Isn't this "movement" actually just called being a Democrat?

  6. "His hollow, insulting claim that he plans restore the very dialogue he destroyed hit me like a body blow."

    ha ha ha. Hit you like a body blow, really? And when Obama said that maybe "Granny" would need to just take a pain pill instead of getting life-prolonging surgery, that didn't hit you like a body blow, did it? Foolish child dreaming of totalitarian security.