Given current polling, it is not surprising that Democrats in Wisconsin are freaking out. The Wall Street Journal reports: “With little more than two weeks until Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election, some Democratic and union officials quietly are expressing fears that they have picked a fight they won’t win and that could leave lingering injuries.” No one is bothering to claim a Scott Walker victory would be insignificant:
The election has taken on significance beyond Wisconsin state politics: Organized labor sees the battle as a major stand against GOP efforts to scale back collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers, as Mr. Walker did after taking office in 2011. Some Democrats now fear mobilizing Republicans to battle the recall could carry over to help the party — and Republican Mitt Romney — in November’s presidential election. . . .
For the left-leaning groups that have spent months trying to oust Mr. Walker, a loss would be a deflating end to a process that began with unions and their allies gathering more than 900,000 signatures to force a recall.
From the start, some in the Democratic Party worried that a Wisconsin recall could drain needed resources, fire up the conservative base and ultimately make it more difficult for Mr. Obama to win the state.
As you might expect, the finger-pointing is well underway on the side that is likely to lose. (“Top Democrats now say that when labor groups first raised the specter of a recall, the party’s officials urged their allies in Wisconsin to reconsider.”)
Time magazine, under a headline “Why the Coalition Trying to Recall Scott Walker Is Splintering,” likewise reports that “the campaign to recall Walker is sputtering, and the governor has pulled ahead in the polls with a little over two weeks to go until the June 5 election.” It seems that the Republicans out-organized organized labor:
To protect their imperiled star, the GOP has assembled a solid ground-game buoyed by robust fundraising and a clear economic message. By contrast, Walker’s opponents are a fractured force: a loose constellation of Democrats, political-action committees, and labor groups with overlapping goals but spotty coordination. The Democrats have been unable to drive a consistent message, careening from collective bargaining to Walker’s purported dishonesty, the “war on women” and jobs and education.
All of this bodes well for Walker and ultimately for Republicans on the ballot in November, including Mitt Romney and the eventual U.S. Senate nominee. Really, is Obama’s message any clearer than that of the recall forces? In the meantime, Republicans are organized, energized and well aware that if they can put Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes in Romney’s column, suddenly he’ll have many more options to get to 270 electoral votes.