Frustrated union and Democratic Party leaders from Madison, Wisconsin, to Washington, D.C., while wiping the Badger State recall election bloodbath from their shoes, are bombarding the nation with excuses, mitigating circumstances, and outright denial of their own declining reality.
A leading excuse emanating from Democrats everywhere, not least from the Wisconsin Democratic Party which is still stinging from President Barack Obama's refusal to campaign for their man, is that the campaign of the past and future governor, Scott Walker, substantially outraised and outspent his Democrat challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
It is true that Walker received more financial support, including from outside the state, than Barrett did. But the lesson to learn is not the truism that money can impact elections; it is that Republicans, conservatives, capitalists, and perhaps even a few libertarians were willing and able to match, and then outmatch the famously deep pockets of Big Labor. Republicans were every bit the equal of Democrats in grassroots organizing, in passion for their candidate, and in influencing independent voters without whom the margin of victory would not have been possible.
Beyond direct excuses, the Obama Administration -- which clearly saw this coming, resulting in Obama's full contribution to Tom Barrett's campaign consisting of a two-sentence "tweet" -- planted an excuse landmine by having the Department of Justice "monitor" the election. A DOJ press release notes that the "City of Milwaukee [is] required to provide assistance in Spanish."
It was a cynical ploy to turn out minority voters to cast ballots for the Democrat without having President Obama's fingerprints on what was likely to be a losing effort. And even though Milwaukee is run by Democrats, the DOJ's action smacks of trying to taint a Walker victory with implied racism. It is a gutter tactic that Democrats across the country routinely employ, trying to paint their GOP opponents as anti-everyone-but-straight-white-men when the facts or the Democrats' records would incline people to vote Republican.
And when excuses aren't enough to cauterize Democrats' gaping electoral wound, denial and misdirection are the name of the game.
In a headline which was reminiscent of the reporting style of Pravda (Правда), CBS News' first exit poll story (to be fair, during a time period when they embargo the results of the election at hand while the polls are still open) was headlined "Early Wisconsin recall exit polls show Obama has edge over Romney in presidential race."
Of course, the recent Wisconsin poll most trumpeted by "mainstream media," done by the Democratic-leaning polling organization PPP (having an amusing header on their web page saying "Highly Accurate Polling Across the Country"), showed Scott Walker up by only three points and "a race that's tightening."
If there's a burning question following the Wisconsin election, it might be about the relevance of polls, especially when done by automated systems and by partisan organizations.
CNN was also a gold mine of Democratic rationalizations, with Paul Begala saying that this has "no predictive capacity for November" and, like CBS's brain trust, Wolf Blitzer and John King, telling us breathlessly that exit poll data shows Wisconsin voters trusting Barack Obama on the economy. It was refreshing to hear Republican National Committee Reince Priebus predict "a circular firing squad on the Democratic side tomorrow"; after all, that particular form of suicide has been particularly characteristic of Republicans since Ronald Reagan left the White House.
The CBS diversion from the Democrat destruction they must have seen coming mirrors the continuous efforts by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to suggest that President Obama was putting little thought and less effort into trying to unseat Scott Walker, and that due to Governor Walker's spending advantage his victory "won't tell us much about a future race."
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney disagrees with Carney, responding to Walker's victory with a statement suggesting that Tuesday's results were a reflection of a larger picture: "Tonight voters said 'no' to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and 'yes' to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans."
Despite the brave words of Jay Carney and his Oompa Loompas in the low-ratings arm of the news media, this election portends grave danger for Barack Obama's reelection. Beyond prying open the wallets of pro-liberty activists, Democrats and their supporters made a historic strategic error in forcing this recall.
By doing so, they forced the Republican Party, which in 2008 nominated as their presidential candidate a man who admitted publicly that he was computer-illiterate while Obama bombarded us on Facebook and with text messages, into the 21st century. With improved organizing, data acquisition and management, and get-out-the-vote efforts, all of which were substantial tactical advantages for the Obama campaign nearly four years ago, the recall hand grenade has exploded in Democrats' hands.
A Tuesday evening memo from RNC Chairman Priebus (who was born, raised, and educated in Wisconsin) emphasizes the lessons learned by the GOP:
Working with the Wisconsin GOP, the RNC ran joint voter contact Victory operations and opened 26 statewide offices. Since January, our volunteers made over 4 million voter contacts, more than the GOP did in the entire 2008 campaign and substantially more than Democrats and their union allies in this election.
We spearheaded a joint effort with neighboring states to drive grassroots supporters to Wisconsin, and we mobilized volunteers from across the country to get involved through our innovative online Social Victory Center and phone-from-home program.
In the process, more than 3,400 Wisconsin volunteers have signed up to help the party. And the data collected by door-to-door volunteers for Governor Walker was all promptly added to the RNC's data center, thanks to the use of iPads, iPhones, and iPods.
This is no longer your father's Republican Party, and Democrats have no excuse but their own miscalculations.