Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Spin

Since 1908, only 13 state lawmakers have been recalled across the entire nation.

Thirteen. Out of thousands of legislators. Here in Michigan, two Democrats were recalled in 1983, an event that seems to haunt and intimidate the direction of the party to this very day, even though it took place nearly thirty years ago.

In Wisconsin yesterday, two Republican state senators were recalled. Based on the track record above, you would think this event would send a message about the overreach of the Republican agenda, with Democrats successfully venturing into red territory and claiming two seats. You would think the press would be impressed.

You would be wrong. From the AP: "Wisconsin victory gives GOP a national boost".

A stand by Wisconsin Republicans against a massive effort to oust them from power could reverberate across the country as the battle over union rights and the conservative revolution heads toward the 2012 presidential race.

Democrats succeeded in taking two Wisconsin state Senate seats away from Republican incumbents on Tuesday but fell one short of what they needed to seize majority control of the chamber.

Republicans saw it as a big win for Gov. Scott Walker and a confirmation of his conservative agenda, the hallmark of which was a polarizing proposal taking away most collective bargaining rights from public workers.

An amazing feat, to recall state lawmakers. But because the Democrats couldn't pull off a miracle, according to the AP, it's a victory for the entire GOP agenda across the nation.

Want more? The New York Times. The Washington Post (although that is Cillizza, who I find suspect at times). All with the same theme. Time was a little better, but not much, labeling movements in Wisconsin and Ohio as "isolated retaliations".

Just so you know.

Who gets the D spin right? Markos. But you also know what Democrats think of their activist supporters.

Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar "loss rate" in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013. We had a message that resonated with large numbers of working people in overwhelmingly white working-class districts that shifted hard against Democrats in 2010. GOP overreach is winning them back for us. Just think, before today, only 13 state legislators had been recalled in the entire history of this nation.

That is true. The GOP is at a 20-year high in disapproval according to a new CNN poll, with 59% of Americans upset with the recent behavior and/or agenda coming from Republicans in Congress.

There is a huge opening here. Whether Democrats take advantage of it is another story altogether. Republicans take what should be a rebuke and turn it into a victory. They swagger. They brag. And they push on with their very unpopular agenda.

Until Democrats develop their own swagger (and clear message on agenda), it's going to be very hard to defeat the spin above. And just think, only a little would go such a long way against a discredited GOP. America is ready for it. Are the Democrats?

Congrats to the fighters in Wisconsin. Taking two seats is a great victory, even if the CW doesn't recognize it right now. But just wait until the Walker recall, when you have the whole state able to weigh in on the "conservative agenda". Got a feeling this spin will turn in a heartbeat - so keep on keeping on.

And brag a little bit. Ya done good.

Update: Greg Sargent at the WaPo gets it right as well.