Literally a second after Governor Scott Walker was projected to be the winner of the recall race in Wisconsin, political pundits – both professional and self-appointed – pounced on PresidentBarack Obamawith the following declarative statements: The outcome was his fault and that this state election had strong bearings on his national race to be re-elected. Maybe these statements were made for the sake of drumming up conversation and web hits or perhaps it was projection on the part of the right — whatever it is, each is empty.
One political commentator in particular who echoed these sentiments was Sarah Palin, who told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that, “I think that the Democrats there understand that the president’s no-show represents the fact that Obama’s goose is cooked.”
“More and more Americans realize that what Wisconsin has just manifested via this vote … is the complete opposite of what President Obama and the White House represents today.
Jay Carney — can’t wait to see how he spins all this and ignores it, and President Obama himself. They’re going to really try to distance themselves from this despite the fact that they, leading their lapdogs in the leftist media, made this a front page story for how many months? Months and months.”
With all due respect to the great political mind of Sarah Palin, this had to have sounded better in her head than on camera. Yes, Palin’s point-of-view (and those who share it) is a bit off. As disappointing as the results of Walker’s election were to many, the governor’s ability to withstand being ejected from office by voters is not as simple as the notion that no one likes the president anymore. If you wanted to boggle the election down to one old song, try the hook from the Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” versus this doom and gloom ditty about Obama.
Walker and his supporters outspent his Democratic challenger seven-to-one. Not to mention, many voters don’t necessarily approve of Walker’s handling of Wisconsin, though they weren’t ready to vote him out on that alone. Yes, one exit poll revealed that only 27 percent of the voters judged recall elections appropriate for any reason, another showed that 60 percent said they are appropriate only for official misconduct. Walker has been accused of many things – and may still be facing legal action – but as of now, there is no definite legal case hovering over his head.
Combine that reality with a big checkbook and it’s not that hard to see how Walker survived. Had the president interjected himself into the race, would the results have hurt him? Arguably yes, but if he didn’t, why are we bringing this up?
Make no mistake, this election does show that when it comes to money, Democrats need to finally accept the reality that money does indeed buy elections. Also, there’s something to be said about knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Yet, in the end, this Wisconsin election was more about union groups’ grip with Governor Walker.
Their resentment might ultimately force them to better strategize in terms of how to properly compete with big money groups who use their cash to sway elections in their favor, but whatever happens in the state of Wisconsin, it only applies to the state of Wisconsin.
President Obama has plenty of challenges when it comes to his hopes for re-election, but this isn’t one of them. So Governor Palin, maybe Obama’s goose is simmering a bit, but it surely isn’t cooked. Keep hope alive, though.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick