By Kevin Binversie
Recall supporters have turned their attention from character assassination to cannibalism.
With recent poll numbers suggesting they’ll lose their 15-month campaign to take down Gov. Scott Walker, the recallistas have begun to eat their own. When the blaming and hating is done — when the smoke clears and the sun dawns June 6 — Walker likely will be the last man standing.
In Wisconsin, the blaming began last week when liberal Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent posted what he called an exclusive on the recall race. An “unnamed top Wisconsin Democrat” was “furious” the Democratic National Committee would not pony up $500,000 to help pay for the state party’s get-out-the-vote operation, Sargent reported.
The state Democratic Party was left to put out the fire, which erupted online throughout the recall community. Party officials spent the better part of a day saying they weren’t the source of the story — and, oh, by the way, they still want the half-million dollars. When that added gasoline to the bonfire, state Dems tried to calm loyalists by pointing to a Democratic Governors Association pledge of $700,000 to the recall effort.
They neglected to tell their followers that that money was part of $2 million already pledged — pledged and most likely spent by now. The DGA has been sending the majority of its money to a front group called the Greater Wisconsin Committee. That group is behind some of the third-party, anti-Walker television ads airing for the better part of the past month.
Today, the cannibalism continued in the Wall Street Journal. There, union and Democratic officials and strategists are suddenly muttering aloud that the recall hasn’t just become a potential lost cause but could have a ripple effect on November’s presidential election.
In anecdote after anecdote, unnamed officials lamented their fundraising disadvantage vis-à-vis Walker, meanwhile DNC and Obama White House staffers say the recall was always moronic. Some brazenly said they never wanted the recall in the first place, saying the risks nationally were always far greater than the rewards the party could reap from it.
In the meantime, Madison’s liberals blame their counterparts in Washington, D.C. Washington blames Madison in some type of “circular blame squad.” In the end, Wisconsin will be millions poorer, and in all likelihood Walker will remain governor of the Badger State.
Kevin Binversie is a Wisconsin native who has been blogging on the state’s political culture for more than eight years. He has served in the George W. Bush administration from 2007-2009, worked at the Heritage Foundation and has worked on numerous Wisconsin Republican campaigns in various capacities, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.