Where to begin, where to begin? Well, I'll start with geography. When I look at the map of Wisconsin for this election and consider the counties that went "blue" and also ones that went "red" (back when I was a young, BTW, red was used for Democrats and blue for Republicans, perhaps owing to the fact that the Cold War was still going) where the race was fairly close, I see that the central and northern sections of the state are pretty much a red state, including Green Bay, a pretty major city. The major "blue" islands in this are La Crosse, Eau Claire (Walker won in EC County, but it was very close), and my hometown of Stevens Point, which may surprise the casual observer seeing as how Stevens Point is rather smaller than those first two cities I just listed. Stevens Point probably is the Midwest's "bluest" small town. So I guess it really shouldn't come as much of a shock that Yours Truly is from there. That really makes me feel badly about all the mean things I ever said about the place just because I was picked on so much when I was a teenager there so many years ago. After all, it could have been so much worse, couldn't it?
Predictably, the only counties where Barrett "kicked ass" the way Walker did in so many northerly counties including Brown County (where Green Bay is located) were Dane County, where Madison is located, and also Milwaukee County. If one were to extract the metropolitan areas of Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, and Racine, Walker's margin of victory would have been rather greater, which essentially makes this a rebuke of blue-state, urban, southerly Wisconsin by red-state, rural, northerly Wisconsin. Walker won Racine County, but that's mostly because the county west of State Highway 36 has more in common socially and politically with neighboring Walworth County. That also brings up the fact that even "blue" southern Wisconsin has a very serious "red patch" between Madison and Milwaukee. The major city of Waukesha is the exemplar of these conservative strongholds. Waukesha County, by the way, is the third most populous county in the state after Milwaukee and Dane.
Next, the unions. They fucked up. Again. They supported a political hack named Kathleen Falk with four million dollars that Tom Barrett's seriously underfunded campaign war-chest could have used. However, I don't know how much of that extra four million Barrett actually could have used, because Wisconsin campaign law gives the incumbent in a recall election more spending-leeway than the challenger in terms of financing. There was no way Falk was going to win the primary, and even more no way she was going to win the general recall election. There was no real grassroots support for her outside of union activists either. And they did this because Falk promised to be their lapdog to the extent of refusing to sign any budget that didn't reinstate public-worker collective-bargaining rights. That would have made her the left-wing equivalent of Scott Walker, holding the state's ability to operate hostage to forcing through a partisan political agenda. Unions will only continue to lose ground if they think they can get away pissing off what few friends they have remaining. I still think what John Michael Greer said about unions being as corrupt and narcissistic as the corporations was a ridiculous hyper-generalization. But the unions' behavior here, as well as the existence of too many corrupt union organizations, shows that there are just enough grains of truth in his statement to make unions a disappointment to those who support them. Other collapse bloggers I read who are pretty reality-based are also pessimistic about the notion of unions offering any constructive solutions to the problems society will face in this new century.
Last and absolutely least is the damn pathetic-loser Democratic Party itself and why I am finally done with it, even to the point of conceding the field to the despicable Republicans. Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee were going to write off the Wisconsin recall and only kicked in a million dollars at the last minute because their Wisconsin adherents shamed them into it. Even so, Walker was still able to vastly outspend Barrett. Still, the Republican National Committee put their full might behind Walker, and the DNC gave the most tepid support it possibly could. Also, even though Barrett is a good man who would have made a fine governor, he was a less-than-ideal candidate for a crucial election such as this, and it's sad that this was the best that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin could do.
But that wasn't entirely what finalized my decision to be done with the politics industry in this country. What really did it was the codependent-doormat Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers who have made the question of whether or not supporting the Democrats is a worthwhile endeavor, into an entirely nonfalsifiable hypothesis. What is downright knee-slapping hilarious is that so many of these same people are such braying-jackass know-it-all atheist-skeptic fanatics, the very crowd who supposedly rejects the very notion of nonfalsifiable hypotheses! (See Reddit.com for an illustration of to what specifically I am referring.) The level of cognitive dissonance the Democratic Party loyalists have had to indulge in order to hold on to that loyalty as the party increasingly abandons liberal values and priorities, is truly something else. It really goes to show that human beings really do have a built-in need to believe in something, even if that something never does anything other than give its believers black eyes and broken noses in the form of sorely disappointed expectations.
In the wake of the recall debacle, I fully expect the Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers to trot out the same old tired and shopworn high-minded justifications that will only result in further frustration and fruitless expectations. When exactly did kidding yourself ad infinitum, as opposed to facing reality, become a mark of courage and intelligence? If I could send a message back in time to myself as a nineteen-year-old boy (and believe me, I was a boy, as opposed to a man, in a huge and major way), it would be this: "Don't even fucking bother. Your high-minded political endeavors and aspirations will always and without exception be frustrated and disappointed as the society in which you live terminally deteriorates. This deterioration is not only because of the dysfunctional nature of the society itself, but also because of the extraordinary pressures bearing down upon it in the form of encroaching energy-and-resource scarcity. And every time you emotionally invest in that useless politics crap, it will in one way or another drag your spirit down into the muck. And in your woefully developmentally-arrested state, your focus really needs to be becoming a spiritual adult, which will take everything you've got, considering how little help for that sort of thing there is in society."
I may not be able to send any such messages back in time, but I can heed the message now. That is why I will no longer even be paying attention to Democratic-Party-oriented blogs, podcasts, and whatever else. If other people want to continue to invest themselves in such things, that's really no skin off my nose considering that whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen regardless of any political agitation from the left. That these people so often need to excoriate those who have realized what I have realized tends to demonstrate that they know deep down inside that we are mostly right. Nonetheless, stooping to deliberately antagonize those who still favor the blue, blue Kool-Aid only makes you even more ridiculously codependent than they are. Instead, one should do what one believes one must do while just letting them do what it is they feel they must do. It's not rocket-science, folks.
The coming of the sort of plutocratic-fundamentalist dictatorship that Scott Walker's victory represents makes societal collapse-scenarios worse rather than better, but given human nature in these situations, it is certainly not entirely unexpected. Anyway, given that anyone with a real voice in the political process is thoroughly dedicated to the insane proposition of pursuing infinite growth on a finite planet, I guess there was really no way any of this was going to end well, was there? All you can do is just accept reality and strive to put your own spiritual house in order as best you can.
Anything else there is to be said about the hysteric Wisconsin recall (I done made teh funnee!) is more than adequately done by these further postmortems to which I will now link:
"How Walker Really Won Wisconsin" by Jeffrey Sommers writing at Counterpunch.org. I particularly like this one because it really echoes what I said about why the recall might fail. That really only goes to show that the more right you are, the more shit you'll get for it.
"How The Wisconsin Solidarity Movement Failed" by Matthew Rothschild writing at the online edition of Madison's free alternative weekly The Isthmus. (Anybody remember, "If it's Thursday, Isthmus be Madison"? Mildly clever, even though it didn't really make any semantic sense. I miss Madison.)
Bone-us article: Incumbent Governor Scott Walker's doctored employment numbers were a complete fabrication.
And for no other reason except to be wildly inappropriate, here's another picture of Charlie McDermott in his boxer shorts: