On half a billion dimes: The meaning of the recall vote | WisCommunity

On half a billion dimes: The meaning of the recall vote

After digesting far too many analyses on the recall election outcome -- ranging from the sublime to the lame -- I've come away from today's scan with one analysis resonating above all the rest. It was a thoughtful and non-apocalyptic read from a progressive source: simple, straightforward, authentic and quite reinvigorating . And it came in an interview on NPR's "All Things Considered."

Correspondent [img_assist|nid=64648|title=Old Glory Inc.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=256|height=205]Robert Siegel asked Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO if Walker's victory means unions are going to have a much harder time. Lee made it clear there's hard work ahead but also much life left in the labor movement.

When Siegel paraphrased the meme of the day -- namely that the Walker win will embolden Republicans and result in Walker-style assaults on unions and other progressive causes in multiple other states, Lee was not rattled.

I don't have a transcript, the show isn't available to stream yet, and I don't take notes while driving, but, paraphrasing from memory, here was Lee's answer:

The Walker forces spent fifty million dollars and barely kept him in office while badly outspent Democrats gained control of the state Senate, enabling them to block Walker's further agenda, which is huge. That's not a sweeping outcome.

Of course, she may not be right -- corporate America and wingnut organizations seem to have unlimited cash to throw at any upstarts these days and they can do it with Citizens United alacrity -- but Lee gave a reasonable and arguably accurate answer, a signal the AFL, at least, isn't backing down. It was a great way to frame the result

Lee's calm and undaunted approach to the interview was upbeat and believable, at least to these cynical old ears. Folks, it ain't over, because in politics, nothing is ever over. It's just a matter of when, not whether. Keep that in mind and it will help sustain you in the inevitable struggles to come.

We win by being patient and persistent and by not letting the forces of darkness rattle our cages. Wisconsin's amazingly huge outburst last year was a necessary if exhausting national and even international wakeup call against the monied elites and the damage they do. Now we might be better off husbanding our resources, working consistently but a bit more quietly in the trenches, racking up little wins here and there, starting at the local level on up, building consensus and institutions that can sustain our heirs. And not always doing it the context of a political arena already rigged against us.

There's much to chew on in the days ahead, and it isn't all bad. We have time, and we have time on our side. Walker's agenda will take Wisconsin further south. He is so very Nixonian it is good to remember that Nixon went from maximum leader to road kill in only a year or so. Walker's own gate is swinging, and his butt may be in the way. But even if he survives the John Doe investigation, he may well not survive his own badly flawed policies. Let's build on that assumption.



June 6, 2012 - 5:17pm