The Best Of The Dish Today

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If you want evidence of the lack of enthusiasm for this week’s election or of the success of the GOP’s efforts to suppress voting among minorities and the young, it’s right there above. Click the link for state-by-state data. It’s worth remembering this very low turnout in the context of Republican triumphalism. They better not over-estimate their mandate.

Today, I took another solid whack at the emptiness of the GOP’s non-agenda, but questioned whether the president’s declared intent to go ahead with executive actions on immigration is the best opening salvo for his final two years.

I also doubted that the re-elected Scott Walker really has what it takes to be presidential material. Many readers – from Wisconsin and elsewhere – told me to look more closely:

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating Scott Walker, like Wisconsin Democrats have been doing for years. He’s canny as hell and has a gift for packaging severe conservatism inside bland affability. Walker raises money with no problem, connects with both wings of his party, and has spent the last five years winning three elections within a perpetual campaign. Nobody in the Republican field has his combination of trial and success.

Imagine it’s late February 2012, Tim Pawlenty hasn’t dropped out, and the “anybody but Mitt” crowd has a plausible alternative to the Bible-thumper and the whore. Now imagine that behind Pawlenty’s down-to-earth Midwestern exterior lies a merciless political mind and an unshakeable will. That’s Scott Walker. Would Obama have been re-elected so easily? Or at all?.


Speaking as a Wisconsinite who is no fan of Walker, I have to say it’s perilous to underestimate this guy. All he does is win. No one thought he could possibly be governor when he first ran, and he won. Apparently, there was similar sentiment in Milwaukee when he ran, and was elected for, county executive. And he’s unwavering in his commitment to his conservative positions. He’s almost disconcertingly ideologically pure.

And he’s Teflon. Nothing seems to stick to him. He promised to create 250000 jobs under his administration in 2010. By all accounts, not even half of that number have been created. Wisconsin has lagged behind most other states in our region in economic growth. He dismantled the state Dept. of Commerce and replaced it with the public/private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which has been beset with issues. Multiple members of his campaigns have been indicted. But he just keeps trucking along, seemingly unscathed. And he’s very skilled at calmly stoking the rural/suburban resentment towards perceived urban elites.

Seriously, the uncharitable side of me wants someone to check under his hair for a birthmark. But the pragmatist in me grudgingly has to give him credit for his ability to win and win and win.

Points well taken. One other post worth revisiting: why detente with Iran is easily the most significant and vital part of Obama’s agenda as he cements his legacy – and things just got a nudge forward.

The most popular post of the day was Where Did Obama Go Wrong? followed by A Victory For What?

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See you in the morning.