With polls showing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pulling away from his challenger in the June 5 recall election, the Democratic National Committee may be waving the white flag in a race that state liberals thought they had in the bag a few months ago. Politico reports that both the DNC and President Obama’s re-election campaign have yet to kick in a dime to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s effort to knock off one of the Republicans’ chief heroes of the midterm landslide. Though Barrett faces a huge fundraising disadvantage in what turns out to be rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election, the national party seems to have decided against wasting any resources on a lost cause. By contrast, the national Republican Party is all in to help Walker turn what was once a toss-up into a GOP romp.
Though DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is supposed to host a fundraiser for Barrett, the party has yet to respond to a request from Wisconsin Democrats for a quick half million, but the check is apparently still in the mail. The Democratic Governors Association has already spent $2 million helping their union allies to push for a recall, but it’s not clear if they’re going to be throwing more good after bad.
Democratic optimists point out that with three weeks left before the recall, Walker’s lead is too small for anyone to consider the recall a lost cause. But unless the DNC and other sources of cash start ponying up to help Barrett make up his financial deficit, it’s going to be difficult for the Democrat to make up ground on the incumbent.
To be fair to the DNC, the recall wasn’t their idea. It was the brainchild of Wisconsin’s state worker unions and their liberal allies. The unions were still smarting from their defeat in the legislature after Walker fulfilled his 2010 promises to enact a fundamental reform of the state budget. After failing to physically intimidate Republican legislators who were intent on passing changes in the collective bargaining laws that would stop unions from holding the state hostage, Walker’s foes conceived of a recall effort to reverse the verdict of the voters. But now that the voters are faced with the same choice the parties offered them two years ago, it looks like they haven’t changed their minds about Walker.
Unfortunately for President Obama and the DNC, it’s too late to cancel the recall effort. If, as now seems likely, Walker survives the recall, it will do more than just strengthen the rising GOP star. It will be rightly seen as a harbinger of other, even more significant defeats for the Democrats later this year. That’s why the DNC and the president are now bailing out of a Wisconsin fight that may turn out to be a huge mistake for the left.