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Last night was book-club night for me, but my hosts and I watched the early results from Wisconsin's recall efforts before we got started. Very early results: huge turnout, which usually favors Democrats, and early exit poll results showing that it was a very Democratic crowd that was showing up the polls, with a 51 to 44 (I think? I may be off by one or two) presidential preference for Obama over Romney. Almost immediately thereafter by: networks call the race for Scott Walker.

About an hour in, the network I was calling said that while urban and suburban turnout were high, what drove the astronomical turnout percentage was that rural Wisconsin voters turned out to vote in all-time record numbers. And that instantly reminded me of something, so I asked, "Hey, wait, that sounds like a gun control vote. What's Tom Barrett's record on gun control?" Quick Google search on my phone confirms what few of the national media had pointed out: voted for the assault weapon ban, founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Fuck. You think maybe Wisconsin Democratic voters should have paid some attention to how that was going to poll, outstate, when they were picking their candidate? Because I sure do.

When we think about the stolen 2000 election, most of us concentrate on illegal voter caging in Florida, the Bourgeois Riot in Florida's Dade County where paid Republican congressional staffers used threats of violence to intimidate election judges, and the nakedly partisan Supreme Court decision that stopped the state-wide recount that Florida law required. Not me. When I think about the stolen 2000 election, the first thing that I think of is that none of that would have mattered, none of that would have been sufficient, the Republicans could have even more cleverly and covertly stolen Florida outright and it wouldn't have put Bush the Younger over the top ... if it weren't for Handgun Control, Incorporated. You see, scant weeks before the election, HCI made a huge outside ad buy, buying radio ads in almost every radio market in America including rural areas encouraging people to vote for Al Gore because, unlike George Bush who was pro-NRA, Al Gore would do something about guns.

One, that was BS; there was no perceptible air gap between George Bush and Al Gore on gun policy. But more importantly, number two, what in the heck were they thinking?

Did they not look at those ad markets' demographics before they bought those ads? Because even HCI wasn't so insular, so caught up in their own closed-off reality bubble, that they didn't know that gun control polls terribly in rural areas. I haven't looked at the county-by-county numbers in other states closely enough, but I know my own state well enough to know for a fact that if that lying ad from our own side hadn't played in heavy rotation on downstate Springfield, Missouri radio, Al Gore would have carried Missouri, and that right there would have been enough to put him over the top even if the Republicans stole Florida, and the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts would never have happened. Thanks, Handgun Control! No wonder you had to change your name. Idiots.

And there is no excuse, in 2012, for a Democratic politician or voter in Wisconsin not to know that the only, only, only reliable way to get about 10%, maybe 20% of rural registered voters to bother to vote is to threaten to take away their guns.

Look.

If you're that anti-gun, if you're so anti-gun (and know so little about guns, or about what the law actually said) that you think that the assault weapons ban was a smart piece of legislation, that is absolutely your right. And it is absolutely your right to vote for candidates who agree with you. But if you do, and if you win? You just plain need to accept the fact that for statewide office in almost every state, and for national office, you just handed the election to the other party.

I went into last night howling for Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter for writing off the Wisconsin recall election, for refusing to put any national Democratic money into the race. Now, I don't blame her. No amount of money could have elected an anti-gun candidate as governor of Wisconsin. And the Wisconsin Democratic Party should have known that. And because they didn't, Scott Walker is going to get away with claiming that the race was actually about his economic policies, he's going to trumpet a statewide and, dare I say it, national mandate for less pensions, lower wages, no contract negotiating rights, fewer teachers, less independence for the teachers that remain, and more, more, always more tax breaks and cash handouts for the wealthy.

So, congratulations Wisconsin Democrats. Your idiotic decision to put an anti-gun candidate at the top of your statewide ticket may well have just cost us the entire US economy. I hope you're proud of yourselves.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
dd_b
Jun. 7th, 2012 02:22 am (UTC)
Wisconsin was, I believe, the next-to-last state in the Union to finally institute some provision for civilian carry (Illinois still doesn't). California and New York allowed more civilian carry than Wisconsin did until very very recently.

So maybe they thought they knew something about Wisconsin voters that turned out to be wrong?

I have no idea, really, but Wisconsin was one of the hardest of anti-gun holdouts for a huge amount of time.

(But now they recognize my Minnesota carry permit.)
alierakieron
Jun. 7th, 2012 03:42 am (UTC)
Nah, I really don't think that was it. This is a hunting state, yes, but any and all talk about gun control from anyone has been on non-hunting weapons. THere are a lot of other local issues at play. Meanwhile, something like 60% of those voting for Walker also said they planned on voting for Obama in November. This wasn't the national bellweather people think.
drewkitty
Jun. 7th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
I am pro gun. Anyone who uses the codeword "assault weapon" or "non-hunting" firearms" immediately outs themselves to me as a gun grabber. It is like saying "non-commute car" or "assault motorcycle" - I know where they stand and where I will vote.

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/may/29/national-rifle-association/wisconsin-recall-nra-says-dem-challenger-tom-barre/

Everything in this article is true, and I don't care. Take the ARs (and just about every cop in America has one in the trunk nowadays) and AKs away, we know what comes next.

It really is a stupid wedge issue to keep an idjit like Walker over. But that's what happened.
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ff00ff
Jun. 7th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
Democrats will always find some way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
bradhicks
Jun. 9th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
"I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
thesecondcircle
Jun. 7th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
Wisconsin has an open primary. Barrett may not have been the democrats' choice.
kimchalister
Jun. 16th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
I was wondering when someone would point that out. They got the candidate they knew Walker could beat, because he already had.
kayjayuu
Jun. 7th, 2012 06:52 am (UTC)
The 2000 election was hot on the heels of the Million Mom March that May as well, which probably colored their perception of what would play in Peoria, so to speak.
alierakieron
Jun. 7th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
I'm pro second amendment too, and I just don't buy it. Not in this case. I think there are several far more important and obvious reasons for the results., and they don't require looking for issues that barely came up during the campaign. Most notably I think the rural urban divide is incredibly strong here, that we are overlooking the high rate of union members voting for Walker, and the protest fatigue factor. The left ran a crap campaign and didnt make their case.
goose_entity
Jun. 7th, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
I am a pro-2nd amendment progressive. I do not align myself with either of the political parties, but I can tell you this: any candidate who made reference to "non-hunting rifles", or otherwise made comments indicating they were anti-2a, would definitely *NOT* get my vote.

In the case of Wisconsin I would probably have defaced my ballot paper.
livejournal
Jun. 7th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
<lj user = "bradhicks"> on another factor that might have influenced the Wisconsin recall
User xiphias referenced to your post from bradhicks on another factor that might have influenced the Wisconsin recall saying: [...] t of on my own. Agree or disagree with him, he's worth reading. Anyway, in his most recent post [...]
tzaddi_93
Jun. 7th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
See, I keep going back to the stats that 1) about eight times as much money was spent on Walker as on Barrett and 2) most of the voters had made up their minds months ago.
livejournal
Jun. 11th, 2012 07:47 am (UTC)
Other strange things around and about - 3-10 June 02012
User silveradept referenced to your post from Other strange things around and about - 3-10 June 02012 saying: [...] a candidate who is pro-gun control, and that brought the rural vote out in force to oppose him [...]
koogrr
Jun. 16th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
As an anti-gun idiot
I think you're wrong.

I spent the last 5 months mostly in Wisconsin, from January to May, in a small town. I saw approximately 4 'recall Walker' to every 'I stand with Walker' sign. I hung out in Tea-shops, restaurants, and talked with the blue & white collar workers involved in what I was doing.

As a Canadian that went native with the American Gun culture, and now is forced to live under the Liberal-Democratic 'Wet Dream' of Canadian gun licensing and regulations, I admit to having a real sensitive hot-button on the issue of guns and gun regulations.

Nothing, in the newspapers I read, in the people I talked to, said anything about Barrett's gun control record. I asked people about guns, it never came up. They talked about their motorcycles, fishing, best places to go camping. Guns weren't on the table, they weren't on the radar. Aside from the 'no guns allowed' stickers on just about every business place, they were invisible.

Now, there were a lot of discussion in the paper about Walker's union busting, his economic record. There were even a few employee debates on the subject, despite a workplace ban on discussing politics. The local newspaper ran several pieces discussing the points of view, of the teachers, and others who were private sector unionized and didn't have as many rights/benefits. "You're shooting yourself in the foot/it won't cause job creation" was a frequent counterpoint.

In 2006 or 2008, I forget which, when the NRA was touting some Repbulican win as a massive pro-gun upswelling you dismissed it as a non-issue. I don't think you can switch positions here. From everything I saw, gun control was a non-issue in Wisconsin. I couldn't get it to come up, it wasn't on people's minds.

You just might have to accept that when the incumbent outspends the opposition 7 to 1, it's possible to convince 53% of the population that policies which drag a few "haves" into the "have-nots" bucket so everyone can suffer equally instead of a few "getting perks which are no longer rational in the new economic reality."

It's not my horse-race, it's not my country, I didn't vote (obviously). Pretending Anti-gun sentiment turned the tide when all the discussion, all the time, was Unions vs Employer Flexibity, is your prerogative but I think you're fooling yourself.
bradhicks
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: As an anti-gun idiot
Maybe. The exit polling showed that for a lot of the people who showed up to vote, what they said was their top issue was that they didn't think that recalls should be held for any reason other than criminal misconduct.

But the rural turnout was immense. Unprecedented. The only times you ever see rural voter turnout like that in America is if gun control or rural land management issues are on the ballot. You don't get that kind of turnout just by running TV ads; the issue has to be something that rural people care about.
kimchalister
Jun. 16th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
Are the American People just masochistic?
(Anonymous)
Aug. 18th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
Pro Vs. Anti
As long as the liberals and the antis lose, who cares how it happens.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )