'We Are the 119%'

“Last night we got home from a dinner and discovered something wonderful when we switched on the television. ” James Taranto gleefully writes in his latest Best of the Web column at the Wall Street Journal. “There’s an entire cable network called MSNBC devoted to the entertainment of conservatives. Apparently all they have on this station is disconsolate lefties 24/7. We assume it’s part of the Fox empire. Roger Ailes is a genius, isn’t he?”


A guy named Lawrence O’Donnell hosts a show called “The Last Word,” a misleading name, since here we are getting in a latter word. Even so, the show is awesome. O’Donnell cracked us up when he opened yesterday’s show: “Tonight, the really big winner in Wisconsin’s recall election is–President Obama.” Later he had one of his fellow hosts, Rachel Maddow, on as a guest, and she agreed: “It’s going to be hard to see this as a bad night for Obama,” she declared, citing the president’s “11-point margin of theoretical victory . . . over Mitt Romney.” (Charlie Spiering has a video montage.)

Theoretically, Obama was on the side of the government employee unions that were behind the unsuccessful attempt to oust Gov. Scott Walker, who last year signed legislation abolishing most of their corrupt “collective bargaining” arrangements. “Understand this,” the future president declared in 2007: “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

In practice, Obama tweeted “present”: “It’s Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I’m standing by Tom Barrett. He’d make an outstanding governor.” But he was only theoretically present. Not only was he standing, not walking; he was standing someplace far from Wisconsin. In fact, for all we know he was sitting at the time. We can’t be sure he was even wearing shoes.

Even the sad clowns of MSNBC couldn’t deny the election was a big loss for the man who was standing nowhere near Obama. Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett received just 46% of the vote to Walker’s 53%, slightly widening Walker’s margin of victory over Barrett in 2010, the year that Middle America gave Republicans their biggest landslide perhaps in living memory.

This despite what the Boston Globe’s Derrick Z. Jackson calls “huge turnout in Wisconsin’s liberal strongholds,” especially Milwaukee and Dane counties. The latter includes Madison, the ultralefty capital, where turnout was as high as 119% by some accounts.

That mathematically dubious figure was possible because Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration, so a 119% turnout would mean that the number of voters countywide was 19% higher than the number who were registered at the beginning of the day. In any case, Politico reported later that the actual projected turnout in Madison was “on a pace for 96 percent, not 119 percent.”

Jackson concluded his column with a quote from a Amy Noble, who describes herself as “a social worker who works with the homeless.” She says: “What Walker did, it was as if I touched something radioactive and it turned me into the Hulk or Spider Man. That’s how strongly I feel.”


This person felt rather strongly as well. While he wasn’t on MSNBC, he did sum up the tone of its anchors last night remarkably well:


As Rand Simberg writes, “To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you’d have to have a heart of stone to watch that and not laugh out loud.”

But how did the actual on-air talent on MSNBC sound? Ed Morrissey spots this before and after video. “Do you recall…?”

If you watched the cable networks last night after the Wisconsin recall elections results made it obvious that Scott Walker won decisively over Tom Barrett, you’d have come away with the idea that no one thought this would mean anything in the national election five months from now, or in any other state.  That kind of consensus didn’t always exist.  American Future Fund produced this ad overnight after Walker’s win reminding us what was actually being said before it became plain that Barrett was not going to catch up to Walker:

Meanwhile, at Big Journalism, Ben Shapiro cuts through the spin of the MSM regarding the “Big Money” that defended Walker. “Spending Gap? Media Ignores $21 Million Unions Spent in WI:”

The spin from the left on the morning after their disastrous Wisconsin recall election failure is that Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), who walked away with the election, did so because he spent oodles of money.

Politico’s takeaway: “Money shouts.” “Walker wins one for the plutocrats,” trumpeted Joan Walsh of Salon.com. “Outspent 7-1, Democrats couldn’t beat Scott Walker with a strong ground game.” Media Matters’ favorite Washington Post columnist, Greg Sargent, cited the Citizens United decision allowing corporate political spending no less than five times in his recap of the election – despite the fact that not one dollar spent in Wisconsin would have been illegal before Citizens United. The Post’s Chris Cillizza said, “Being outspent 10-1 (or worse) is never a recipe for success in a race. Democrats cried foul over Walker’s exploitation of a loophole that allowed him to collect unlimited contributions prior to the official announcement of the recall in late March.” Daily Kos said that with Walker’s spending edge, “It shouldn’t even be close.”

This is false.

Overall, over $63.5 million was spent on the recall effort by various parties. Walker spent about $30 million; Barrett spent about $4 million. Most of the money spent by Walker came from out-of-state sources – The Republican Governors Association spent about $4 million, almost all from out-of-state; the Kochs gave $1 million; the Chamber of Commerce gave $500,000. On the surface, then, it appears that Walker had a tremendous cash advantage.

Not so fast. As it turns out, labor unions spent an additional $21 million on the recall election. When it came to state senate recall elections back in September 2011, Democrats outspent Republicans $23.4 million to $20.5 million.


More from Ed Morrissey:

Jammie Wearing Fool points out the irony of complaints on the Left about money in politics while Obama flew to California for five fundraisers in a single day:

President Obama’s campaign is increasingly focusing its fundraising efforts on California, where Obama on Wednesday will make his third trip in a month to attend five fundraisers.

Silicon Valley and Hollywood are Obama’s hottest spots to raise money, and the spigots have opened wider since Obama last month went public with his personal endorsement of gay marriage, which went over particularly well with California donors.

The president’s trip on Wednesday will be his 16th visit to California since entering office.

To be sure, the Golden State has always been a major cash machine for Democratic candidates — and even some Republicans. Sixteen of Obama’s top bundlers — including DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg  —  hail from California. But the state’s importance to the president has increased as Wall Street has cooled to Obama because of his attacks on Mitt Romney’s private-equity background at Bain Capital.

And finally, just for fun, “Scott Walker Wins Handily in Wisconsin, NYTimes Sees Loss of ‘Political Civility’ in the State,” Newsbusters notes.

Because they’re all about civility at the Times.


Update: “After Long Days of Fundraising, Obama Returns to Fundraising.”


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