Recall Fever, I
October 20, 2011
Wisconsin Democrats are seeing their Party shanghaied by its most irrational members, bent on attempting to recall Governor Walker early next year. It’s these people we mean when we refer to individuals who define themselves by who they hate.
The good news for reformers is they’ll make their Party burn through a trainload of money that smart strategists would rather spend a few months later, in what history may record as the pivotal national election of the century. The bad news is the half-million petition signatures required to force a recall is an achievable number.
But Democrats have a candidate problem.
One major union leader, AFSCME President Mary Beil, has already deep-sixed one prospect: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Milwaukee taxpayers are saving millions because he’s applying Walker’s collective bargaining reforms by requiring city employees to pay more toward their health care. Barrett is also challenging a rule his city attorney says prevents Milwaukee from using the reforms to make employees contribute to their own pensions.
Beil says that’s no good, telling Madison radio host John “Sly” Sylvester the unions won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t throw himself on the fire for the union.
So are Democrats looking for a fresher face?
Nope.One potential candidate being bandied about is former Congressman David Obey. Obey was first elected to Congress in 1969 and got out last year saying “these bones are tired.” He’s evidently considered a serious prospect by some Democrats.
But for anyone who had the dubious privilege of watching Obey chew out visiting constituents for being insufficiently anti-Republican, this 2010 commentary just scratches the surface of Obey’s angry persona.
Any Democrat running against Governor Walker will need camouflage paint. If it’s Dave Obey, he’d better apply two coats.