Our Common Good

They could not resist. One by one, Republican governors of three presidential battleground states took the floor at the party’s national convention and touted recent job gains in their states – not Mitt Romney’s preferred message.

First up was Gov. John Kasich of Ohio: 122,000 jobs created since he took office last year, he boasted, and a state that has leaped from 48th to fourth in job creation.

Next came Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia: “Over the last two years, with Republicans and Democrats working together, our unemployment rate is down 20% to 5.9%,” he said. “We’ve added 151,000 net new jobs.”

Finally, there was Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. “Like many places across the country, Wisconsin lost more than 100,000 jobs from 2008 to 2010,” he said. “Unemployment during that time topped out at over 9%. But because of our reforms, Wisconsin has added thousands of new jobs, and our unemployment rate is down from when I first took office.”

Obama’s reelection team was delighted – particularly with Walker.

“Highlighting how unemployment is dropping, the economy is growing, and small businesses are adding jobs, his message tonight was vastly at odds with how Mitt Romney talks down the economy,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in an email to the media.

Her subject line: “We Couldn’t Have Said It Better Ourselves, Gov. Walker.”



The total spent by both campaigns in the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker was more than twice what the 2010 governor’s race cost, according to a new tally by the Democracy Campaign. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports

The Democracy Campaign estimated Walker and groups supporting him spent $58.7 million, compared with $22 million spent by Barrett, three Democrats whom Barrett defeated in the May primary and groups supporting Democrats. Additionally, independent candidate Hariprasad Trivedi spent about $300,000.

Now that he survived his recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is lending his support to an upcoming fundraiser for the Heartland Institute, a climate-denying think-tank.

Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin will not proceed with implementing the federal health care overhaul despite the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the central part of the federal law.

Walker said Thursday he would have preferred the court strike down the law, but he is holding out hope that a new president and Republican-controlled Congress will overturn it next year.

In the meantime, Walker says the state will not proceed with setting up a health care exchange as is required.

Wisconsin’s controversial 2011 collective bargaining law may add $87.5 million to state retirement system costs next year due to a little-noticed change that will boost employee benefits.

The unanticipated costs aren’t a back-breaking amount for the massive retirement fund, but they illustrate why laws that alter the complex retirement system should be examined carefully before enactment, said Robert Conlin, secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds.

Conlin’s predecessor, David Stella, stepped down in January saying that elected officials disregarded his plea for a thorough examination of how changes in the law would affect the $82 billion pension fund.


In case you missed: Here’s the video of the guy who said “Democracy died tonight” on CNN as Tom Barrett’s attempt to beat Scott Walker failed. We briefly mentioned it last night, but the video is worth a watch. If there’s any silver lining to this for opponents of Walker, it appears the state senate will be controlled by Democrats thanks to Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard losing his recall in Racine county. (thanks to everyone who pointed this out)

Coming soon to your state: The anti-union, education-cutting, free-market-leaning, divide-and-conquer playbook of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

According to a leading conservative activist, the Walker agenda in Wisconsin is the new conservative game plan for all states in the union. That was the key message delivered at a rally Friday evening in Madison by Tim Phillips, national president of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative nonprofit started with money from the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. “The Wisconsin approach to changing and making state government better is the new model for the country,” he said. “You are the model for the country.”

I pray Wisconsin shows the nation that this is not the direction we want our nation to go.

 A few significant facts since the recall election is tomorrow.
Just the facts: A list of what Gov. Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin (so far)

 A few significant facts since the recall election is tomorrow.

Just the facts: A list of what Gov. Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin (so far)


Sitting US governors before Scott Walker who faced a recall via ballot box. Those two governors are North Dakota’s Lynn Frazier, whom voters recalled in 1921, and California’s Gray Davis, who got the boot in 2003.

6.4 percent

Walker’s lead over Barrett in RealClearPolitics' polling average, a number that takes into account polls from as early as August 2011.

$63.5 million

Total spending on Scott Walker’s recall election by candidates and outside political groups through the final days before the election. That sum shatters the previous record of $37.4 million in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

7.5 to 1

The margin by which Walker is beating Barrett in the political money wars. Since January 2011, Walker’s campaign has raised $30.5 million; Barrett has raked in $4 million since entering the race in March.

$3 out of every $5

The proportion of Scott Walker’s recall donations that have come from donors outside of Wisconsin. Walker’s opponent Tom Barrett has highlighted this statistic to back up his attack on Walker as a right-wing “rock star.”


Volunteers signed up for the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin coalition. In the 96 hours before Election Day, that volunteer army knocked on 1.4 million doors throughout the state and made 1.5 million calls to eligible voters.

3.5 million

The number of voter contacts the Republican Party of Wisconsin made in the past year. Spokesman Benjamin Sparks describes it as “the largest grassroots campaign Republicans have ever had in the state.” (In the most recent count, there were 3,270,637 registered voters in Wisconsin.)

1 in 3

The proportion of people who say they’ve stopped discussing politics with someone because after a disagreement over Walker or the recall elections.


Current and former Walker aides, associates, and supporters granted immunity by a circuit court judge in exchange for testifying in the two-year-old “John Doe” investigation examining activities that took place in Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County executive.

60 to 65 percent

Official projected turnout among voting-age adults in Tuesday’s election. The highest recorded turnout in a Wisconsin midterm gubernatorial election was 52 percent in 1962. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel political guru Craig Gilbert writes that the 60-to-65-percent-turnout forecast is “more or less insane.” But then again, these are not normal times in Wisconsin.

See more stats on Dark Money behind the Walker recall.


MILWAUKEE — The U.S. Department of Justice plans to monitor the recall electionsin Wisconsin on Tuesday, and will dispatch a team of federal observers to the city of Milwaukee.

The observers will be ensuring that the city complies with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the electoral process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.

There are six recall elections taking place on June 5 for governor, lieutenant governor and four state senators.

Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is also sending a team of assistant attorneys general and special agents from the Division of Criminal Investigation to 12 cities in an effort to prevent voter fraud.

“The June recall election is a significant event in our state’s history,” state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) told the Appleton Post Cresent. “The people of Wisconsin need to have confidence that their rights are being protected and the laws are being followed.”


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been guarded, to say the least, about a corruption investigation going on in Wisconsin of which he may or may not be a part. He has transferred money from his campaigninto his legal defense fund, but simultaneously insists that he has no need — as of yet– for that fund.

But in court last week, one of Walker’s closest confidants contradicted the Governor’s claim that he’s been fully cooperative with the investigation, which has already claimed three of Walker’s former staffers and associates. The probe is aimed at locating government officials who engaged in a range of criminal activities while employed by Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Tim Russell, an old Walker adviser who has himself been charged with felony embezzlement, told a local reporter that Walker has not been cooperative with the corruption probe. In fact, Russell’s information shows that Walker has been ‘stonewalling’ investigators.

H/T: Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress Justice


Fox News and Mitt Romney, as representatives for the one percent, rely on the Republican base voters to be not only dumb and uninformed, but self-hating as well. How else do you explain support (by people who aren’t wealthy) for the idea that fair wages and benefits for working Americans is “greed”? This morning, Ed Gillespie, an adviser to Mitt Romney, told Fox News host Chris Wallace that Scott Walker winning in Wisconsin would mean:

“I think the statement to big labor and to big government employee unions, government worker unions is that you can’t be too greedy,” Gillespie explained. “You need to understand that times are tough and a lot of these legacy costs that you imposed are due for some reforms and some restructuring.”

It’s interesting that Romney’s adviser calls it ‘greed’ when unions and workers want to preserve their wages and benefits. Especially when you consider the tactics ofvulture capitalism, practiced by Mitt Romney during his time at Bain Capital, on long-term employees of companies acquired by Bain (fire them, hire some back at lower wages). Support for this kind of thinking will turn us into a third-world economy yet. Here’s proof: the WSJ reported this week that flat wages in the US are helping a manufacturing rebound:

The wage lag is a key factor contributing to the rebounding competitiveness of U.S. industry. A recent uptick in factory employment and the return of some production to U.S. shores from abroad both added jobs that probably otherwise wouldn’t exist. But sluggish wages also are squeezing workers’ incomes and spending. That, in turn, hurts retailers who target middle-income earners and restrains the vigor of the economic recovery. “The U.S. has held manufacturing wages in check while there has been strong wage growth in China and moderate wage growth in Mexico,” says economist Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, referring to two of the U.S.’s biggest lower-wage competitors.

China and Mexico’s wages are growing while U.S. wages are shrinking. Apparently that’s the only way corporations who got rich on American soil are willing to bring jobs back to American soil. Soon everyone will have a job, if they’re not too “greedy” and are willing to work for $1.00 a day.

Oh, and of course this is not greed.


Milwaukee’s newspaper of record astonished to learn that Gov. ‘Divide and Conquer’ is being divisive.
It’s keen political insights like this that explain why the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board makes the big bucks. They find this all so very, very disappointing.
But not disappointing enough to recind their endorsement of this tool.


Milwaukee’s newspaper of record astonished to learn that Gov. ‘Divide and Conquer’ is being divisive.

It’s keen political insights like this that explain why the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board makes the big bucks. They find this all so very, very disappointing.

But not disappointing enough to recind their endorsement of this tool.


Recalling Scott Walker should be any progressive’s top priority right now.

A decent little Q and A.