I'd be the last person to say that I didn't think last night was disappointing. I don't see any point in being angry about it since democracy is often messy, and yesterday was no exception. I'm making an attempt to get back to a normal work and family life, as I'm sure many of us are this morning. But before I start trying to earn a living again, I just have a few thoughts about last night:
Let's try to be both gracious in defeat, but still strong and united. The united part is particularly important. Even though the outcome yesterday was disappointing, that's no reason to give up or disband. A grassroots movement for fairness, balance and genuine fiscal responsibility in Wisconsin needs to continue. But in the meantime, go pet your dogs, kiss your spouse, do your laundry, and catch up with all the other stuff you've neglected for months. We need sane strong people.
The obscene amount of money poured into Wisconsin for this election on both sides only points out again how important it is to stop the madness of unlimited campaign funding. I'm going to be glad to feel I can actually watch the local news again without wanting to throw things at the incessant stream of political ads. I'm not going to blame the big Republican wins last night on advertising, but I have to ask - doesn't this unceasing flow of attack ads just make people fed up and make them not want to participate? Is that what anyone actually wants?
I'm a little disconcerted by Gov. Walker's victory speech last night. It was actually remarkably humble for Walker - but it had that odd flavor to it that he often has that he's not really speaking to the people of Wisconsin, but to the country as a whole. It sounded much more like a "I want to be Vice President" speech than a "I want to continue to be your Governor" speech. I don't think that has any chance of happening, but I think that a Scott Walker on the national stage is a frightening prospect.
Also in regard to his speech - after 18 months of doing everything possible to divide the state, I don't really think that brats, burgers, and "a little Wisconsin beer" is going to heal the huge rift in the legislature and the state. I'm not saying it shouldn't happen - but even Wisconsin beer is not good enough to fix this. And I'm pretty sure they'll be Johnsonville brats, which in itself --
At least for the time being it looks like control of the Senate has flipped. So as I see it, the glass is more or less one sixth full - but it's a really important sixth of a glass. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that all of this could change in the November election, and it may be as much a symbolic victory as a tactical one. Symbolism is important. I like the sound of Majority Leader Mark Miller. Let's work on being able to still say it in late November.
The job situation in the state continues to be sluggish if not continuing to fall into the abyss. Likewise, the environment continues to be threatened, access to health care is in danger of becoming worse, and the cuts to our educational system remain unprecedented. I'm not sure how a middle-class family in the state can be grateful for a tiny possible decrease in their property tax when it comes at the cost of $10,000 per year tuition to send your kid to Madison. This is not a way to build a competitive and well-educated state. So the struggle continues.
I have met a lot of fantastic people in the past year and a half. I met some of them in Madison milling around outside and inside the Capitol. I've "met" a lot of them on-line and look forward to getting a chance to get together with them in person some day. Stick around, I don't want to lose track of you.
Two final words - John Doe
I don't know about you, but I'm not going anywhere.