Walker recall

Walker recall in rural Wisconsin, sent in by a reader:

Located in far northwestern Wisconsin, Washburn is a big county with a small population. The county as a whole has a projected population of only 15,911 for the 2010 census. In the 2010 gubernatorial election, Scott Walker won by 600 votes – almost ten percent of the 6,600 votes cast.
It is also a poor county, spread out and very rural. About 20 percent of its population was enrolled in BadgerCare or BadgerCare Plus as of October. The only towns of any size – Shell Lake and Spooner – are mostly stops on the way to bigger cities in other counties.
The Recall Scott Walker headquarters for the county is located in Spooner, a town of about 2,600 people, and the largest municipality in the county. It is a small, donated camper parked on a donated portion of a family’s residential lot along the main highway through town.
Volunteers staff the trailer for two two-hour shifts each weekday, and a four-hour shift on Saturdays. They wear orange vests and stand by the fence, near a donated, professionally-made “Sign here” banner. Now that it’s getting dark early, someone else donated old-fashioned floodlights to keep the station visible.
“We lay them in the snow and point them up,” says Sue Hansen, the head of the Washburn County Democrats, and coordinator of the county’s recall effort. “It works pretty well.”
Hansen, the former Washburn County postmaster retired now after 32 years in the service, isn’t taking money from the Democrats because she didn’t want the effort to be about the Democratic Party. As a result, she couldn’t rent an actual office, and the entire effort relies on volunteers and donations.
She says even their radio ad was donated by an individual volunteer, and they’ve had an offer of donated mittens from someone on Facebook.
“It’s just individuals going around and doing things,” she said. “It’s entirely grassroots.

On a good day, Hansen says, she’s “thrilled” to collect 50 signatures county-wide, and their goal for petition collection is, compared to numbers from more populous counties, modest: Hansen said she’s aiming for 3,533, the precise number of votes Walker got from Washburn County in 2010. So far, they’re about halfway. “We’ll just keep working and see if it happens,” Sue says.
Hansen says that, in the meantime, Walker’s union-busting in February energized the progressives of Washburn county. She says in an ordinary year, residents of small towns like Spooner have kept their politics more to themselves, part of the dynamics of small town life.
“People have to get along,” she says. “You’re all in the Lion’s Club together, you all have a goal, you work together toward that goal.” But now, she says, “closet liberals” upset by Walker’s policies have been coming out of the woodwork.
“It’s an interesting phenomenon,” she says. “In February, our Democratic party membership went from 60 to 80, and that’s significant here, when you’re dealing with this population.”
By now, Wiegand says she has personally collected about 50 signatures. And, she says two people who said they voted for Walker have signed her petitions, prompted by his actions to reduce the power of the DNR to protect the environment, collective bargaining changes, and tax breaks he’s given to the rich and corporations. “They said they never thought it would be like this,” Wiegand says.
Hansen says similar stories of Republicans signing petitions keep coming her way, and have made her hopeful. “Every time I see people, I hear a new story,” she says. “Just today I talked to a woman volunteer whose 93-year-old father-in-law, former military, Republican all his life, said, ‘they would never have his vote again.’”

It is also a poor county, spread out and very rural. About 20 percent of its population was enrolled in BadgerCare or BadgerCare Plus as of October

That can’t be possible. Rural counties where white people live aren’t poor and no one in those places relies on government aid. Ask Newt Gingrich.

46 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    That can’t be possible. Rural counties where white people live aren’t poor and no one in those places relies on government aid. Ask Newt Gingrich.

    To quote the “Great Communicator”, facts are stupid things.

  2. 2
    jrg says:

    This is a predictable response, and one of the reasons people continually claim that objections to “entitlements” are frequently based on racism.

    It’s not a coincidence that a lot of the wind went out of the teabagger sails right as the Ryan plan gave those WATB mooks a hint of what life would be like without Medicare or Social Security.

  3. 3
    walt says:

    In Arizona, a county that is rural, white, poor, and old is also the most right-wing (Mohave). Democrats keep these people fed and clothed but Republicans give them archetypes to get angry about. I guess they’re feeding their souls.

  4. 4
    jibeaux says:

    That can’t be possible. Rural counties where white people live aren’t poor and no one in those places relies on government aid. Ask Newt Gingrich.

    That’s easy. There’s clearly a brown lady in that picture.

  5. 5
    Paul in KY says:

    Based on the number of signatures that have to be collected statewide, and given the number of counties in Wisconsin & the number of voters in each county, how many signatures would have to be collected in Washburn County for them to have ‘done their part’?

    God bless em all for the effort they are making. I like the state of Wisconsin & feel they will get this asshat recalled.

    On Wisconsin!

  6. 6
    Jude says:

    Credit to the fabulous Christie Taylor of Dane 101 for this article.

    Yes, I’m sleeping with her. Why do you ask?

  7. 7
    feebog says:

    Paul In KY:

    Based on the number of signatures that have to be collected statewide, and given the number of counties in Wisconsin & the number of voters in each county, how many signatures would have to be collected in Washburn County for them to have ‘done their part’?

    I’m pretty sure that they are close to the doing their part level right now. It will take 25% of the total vote in signatures to trigger the special election. Walker won the county by about 10%. If they are halfway to Walkers vote total already, they have to be at 25% or so already.

    I have said already that the statewide goal of up to 700,000 signatures is too low. They should be aiming for a million. If they got a million signatures that would be something like 45 or 46 percent of the previous vote total. Of course even 700K is awesome, but a million would make the Kochheads piss themselves.

  8. 8
    gaz says:

    I can’t help but think about folks like Rick Scott, and Scott Walker, and wonder – how in the hell can you not *expect* this?

    They’ve been so blatantly dismissive of their constituencies – refusing to talk to them, insulting them, lying to them, playing nasty in their political maneuvers…etc. And that’s without even bringing up the extreme overreach.

    What is the net gain here? – for Walker, for Scott, for Kaisch? What is the net gain for their enablers, like ALEC, The Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity?

    Didn’t any of them see this coming?

    (Then again, I can’t help but remember how short sighted these same people were in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse – and the 8 years of short-sightedness under bush)..meh… still, the trend seems to be accelerating. Is there a point where we can all safely say they’ve gone over the high wall? Are we there *already*?. Particularly, the Republican Governors Association – I mean Christ on Toast – what gives? They’ve done a terrible job of moving their agenda. I just don’t see this shit lasting, Citizens United or not. People will sweep it out. And remember/resent it for years. This agenda of these weirdos just won’t hold. And people will remember. And be pissed about it for awhile – D & R both.

  9. 9
    catclub says:

    @walt: It is amazing how difficult it is to sell ‘we are all in this together’,
    or ‘we are one nation’, as a motivator for good government.

    I learned it from a priest, that there is not individual salvation, but salvation is for all.

    Of course, that line is really popular now in the megachurches, so I hear.

  10. 10
    kay says:

    @jibeaux:

    Walker’s changes to state medical assistance programs, which her clients rely on, are causing problems for her clients…. the new, private LogistiCare system

    Is any business interest in this country working on anything other than replacing public workers and public services? You really start to wonder. It’s like they ran out of ideas and are now devoted completely to replacing the public sector and turning a profit on tax dollars, rather than creating anything new.

  11. 11
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    One of the underrated things going into 2012 is the sheer number of, well, former swing voters who will never again vote Republican in any election for any reason.

  12. 12
    Xboxershorts says:

    I live very rural. Potter County, PA. Population just about 16k. And those numbers for badger care compare quite closely to the numbers for PA Access that we have here.

    Amazing phenomenon, isn’t it.

  13. 13
    amk says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: If only it happens…

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    What is the net gain here? – for Walker, for Scott, for Kaisch? What is the net gain for their enablers, like ALEC, The Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity?.

    They are arrogant, entitled pricks. They are assholes.

    That’s all you need to know about this scum.

  15. 15
    kay says:

    @amk:

    I don’t think it necessarily translates to (new) support for national Democrats.

    Where the difference might show up is what the woman talks about in the article; “closet liberals” who are energized and newly-public, where they may not have been before. That’s probably good for national Democrats.

  16. 16
    Tone In DC says:

    if they got a million signatures that would be something like 45 or 46 percent of the previous vote total. Of course even 700K is awesome, but a million would make the Kochheads piss themselves.

    Judging by the wingnut (and most of the MSM) reaction to Occupy over the last few months, I’d say the Kochheads have already pissed themselves. Hopefully, asploding heads will follow, early and often.

  17. 17
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @kay:

    Is any business interest in this country working on anything other than replacing public workers and public services? You really start to wonder. It’s like they ran out of ideas and are now devoted completely to replacing the public sector and turning a profit on tax dollars, rather than creating anything new.

    They destroyed the middle class. They don’t have any private sector customers left who have any money to spend. That means it is time to go rob banks the govt, because that’s where the money is.

  18. 18
    Paul in KY says:

    @feebog: Thank you for your answer. Makes me feel good going into the weekend!

  19. 19
    amk says:

    @kay: As long as they don’t vote for rethugs, I’m happy.

  20. 20
    dave says:

    I’m Barron county, just south of Washburn, our pop. is 45,000+/-, approximately 40% of our children are eligible for reduced/free school lunch, schools squeezed so tight it hurts, teachers lost $6000 each due to Walker’s b.s. and the region is still purple as can be. Petition signatures are adding up. Wish us luck, we’ll need it!

  21. 21
    dogwood says:

    Kay – Thanks so much for this post and others like it. You are a real treasure.

  22. 22
    kay says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    They don’t have any private sector customers left who have any money to spend.

    They can’t really call it “innovating” or “job creating” if they’re just replacing public workers and delivering routine public services, less efficiently, sure, and with poorer quality, but that’s not innovating either.

  23. 23
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @kay:

    They can’t really call it “innovating” or “job creating”

    To Movement Conservatives, definitionally govt jobs don’t count, hell they don’t even exist. Which means every govt job which is replaced by an identical private contractor job is a net gain to employment.

    Hopefully everyone else will stop listening to what Movement Conservatives have to say on the subject of, well.., pretty much anything. We aren’t there yet, but it could happen with their latest overreach, and assuming Americans suddenly develop a capacity for long memories which in my lifetime has been reserved only for the horrors of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago and pretty much nothing else. But a boy can dream.

    Keep up the good work, your posts are always good.

  24. 24
    batgirl says:

    @kay: They can’t really call it “innovating” or “job creating” if they’re just replacing public workers and delivering routine public services, less efficiently, sure, and with poorer quality, but that’s not innovating either.

    Oh, it’s “innovating.” They are replacing public workers making a decent salary with serfs making minimum wage so that they can skim off all the money for themselves at the top. Then again, there is nothing new about that.

  25. 25
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @kay

    By the way, a few days ago I saw a Recall Walker bumper sticker on a car driving around here in Albuquerque, with NM plates. I don’t know if they were recent transplants from WI who already got their tags changed over, or just locals paying attention to what is going on in WI, but I thought it was pretty cool to see regardless.

  26. 26
    Snowball says:

    @gaz:

    Are we there already?. Particularly, the Republican Governors Association – I mean Christ on Toast – what gives? They’ve done a terrible job of moving their agenda. I just don’t see this shit lasting, Citizens United or not. People will sweep it out.

    I doubt it. If they did, people wouldn’t have fired Pelosi as the speaker of the House just two years after the GOP led the collapse of our economy. If they did, people wouldn’t have fired seven Democratic senators in 2010. If they did, people at the same time wouldn’t have voted in a number of GOP governors.

    You are giving our electorate way too much credit. It seems like all it takes is tons of money for negative ads full of lies and people will vote accordingly. Just like they did in 2010…

  27. 27
    kay says:

    That Left Turn, I think you’re going to see a lot of action coming out of Indiana here shortly.
    The people who were active in SB5 here are all talking about Indiana and RTW.
    Interesting times!

  28. 28
    artem1s says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    Potter County, PA.

    is Bedford Falls there? Had to go there, sorry. ;P

  29. 29
    feebog says:

    Last March I attended a Labor Relations conference in Portland OR. In attendance was a Democratic Wisconson State Representative and a Commissioner for their PERB. They both doubted that the Senate recalls would result in flipping the Senate, but predicted one or two wins. They both also pooh-poohed the idea of ever getting enough signatures to recall Walker, much less defeat him in a recall election. Their thinking was that the momnentum would slow over the summer and things would settle down to business as usual. Although they were right about the senate seats, I don’t think they are right.

  30. 30
    Violet says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    By the way, a few days ago I saw a Recall Walker bumper sticker on a car

    Speaking of signs, I just a “Newt 2012” sign in a yard in the neighborhood when I went for a walk this morning. I think this is the same house where I saw a “Trump 2012” bumper sticker on a car in the driveway back last spring. Bunch of crazies.

  31. 31
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Snowball:

    You are giving our electorate way too much credit. It seems like all it takes is tons of money for negative ads full of lies and people will vote accordingly. Just like they did in 2010…

    For better or for worse the electorate during presidential election years is larger and different in composition from the electorate during midterm elections. The midterm electorate favors the GOP for now, at least until old people get a clue that Fox News and AM radio are not their friends that they think they are, and the money men backing the GOP want to turn them into Soylent Green crackers. That’s a nut the Dems have to figure out how to crack, how to appeal to younger low turnout voters in presidential elections in 2012 and 2016 but also find a way to get those same folks to start showing up in 2014, 2018, etc., and how to communicate the unpleasant truth about the GOP to older white people.

  32. 32
    ericblair says:

    @dave:

    I’m Barron county, just south of Washburn, our pop. is 45,000+/-, approximately 40% of our children are eligible for reduced/free school lunch, schools squeezed so tight it hurts, teachers lost $6000 each due to Walker’s b.s. and the region is still purple as can be.

    Some people, you can just explain what shit is and they’ll learn to avoid it. Some people have to step in it once and then remember to not do it again. And then there are people who need to shove their face in it and get it up in their sinuses before they’ll actually believe that shit exists and you probably shouldn’t be playing around with it so much unless you want to smell like a septic tank.

  33. 33
    gaz says:

    @Snowball: Well, while I agree that the electorate is stupid, it is also vengeful.

    Walker and Scott are sweating for a reason. And while I’m not quite ready to claim that the bell is tolling for the GOP (or is it a gong =P ) I really question the long-term efficacy of this shock doctrine blitzkrieg that these various governors have attempted.

    If they continue, they’ll completely alienate everybody outside the 27%. And no matter how much voter caging they engage in, that won’t be enough.

  34. 34
    rodeodance says:

    @feebog

    The WI Dem Party has always trailed behind the grassroots groups like United WI and WeAreWisconsin to name a few.

  35. 35
    Gus says:

    “They said they never thought it would be like this,” Wiegand says.

    Yes, who could have imagined that a Republican would do what Republicans do?

  36. 36
    Tone In DC says:

    @ericblair:

    Some people, you can just explain what shit is and they’ll learn to avoid it. Some people have to step in it once and then remember to not do it again. And then there are people who need to shove their face in it and get it all up in their sinuses before they’ll actually believe that shit exists and you probably shouldn’t be playing around with it so much unless you want to smell like a septic tank.

    Damn. Good one.

  37. 37
    gaz says:

    @feebog: They underestimated the sheer amount of effort walker would put into pissing off God and everybody.

  38. 38
    kideni says:

    @dave: Great job, dave and Barron County. It’s a lot easier down here in Madison to get out and find people to sign, and I’m so impressed with what everyone’s doing up north (and I hope the Jauch recall goes nowhere).

  39. 39
    Bruce Webb says:

    “Governor Dead Eyes”

    It is eery. You can look into the eyes of Kasich or Daniels or even Maine’s LePage and imagine that there is a dim light flickering there, even as maybe the Maine Gov couldn’t heat up a Lazy Bake Oven.

    And at least Scott of Florida could heat up long enough to lick his bald head with a lizard tongue.

    But Walker? Words fail.And I have been a Sci-Fi fan since 1964, ya think there might be some soul dead villain to compare. But no the only ones evil enough to compare actually were smart, or at least shrewd. This guy?

  40. 40
    Triassic Sands says:

    That can’t be possible. Rural counties where white people live aren’t poor and no one in those places relies on government aid.

    They’re only poor if they choose to be and only use government aid if they’re parasites. Source: Republican Bible

  41. 41
    Mike G says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    To Movement Conservatives, definitionally govt jobs don’t count, hell they don’t even exist.

    Because government jobs (except the Pentagon) are likely to mean eeeevul yuniyuns and Demoncrats, while private sector jobs mean people are toiling harder for less under a much-higher-paid profit-making boss (which is both the “natural order of FreedumbMurkanFreeEnterprise” and gives them a boner because they all imagine THEY will be the rich boss someday), who is likely to donate to Repukes.

  42. 42
    Ruckus says:

    @kay:
    It’s like they ran out of ideas and are now devoted completely to replacing the public sector and turning a profit on tax dollars, rather than creating anything new.

    This has been the conservatard ideal since day one. Nothing new, nothing better, nothing that helps others, nothing that costs money, nothing that allows someone else to get ahead or even catch up, nothing for anyone that is different than me, nothing that might change anything. Just fucking nothing. And that’s all they have. Nothing. They gussy it up a bit, they lie about it but the story is still, always nothing for anyone but me. It has always been this way with all conservatards and it always will be. It is their anthem, their grail, their entire beings.

  43. 43
    pluege says:

    the “real Americans” just buck up and eat dirt.

  44. 44
    REN says:

    I live in Bayfield County Wi. Almost the same set of facts as Washburn Co except that this extremely rural place voted 60-40 against Walker in the first place. We don’t elect Republicans in this county, to date. We haven’t had a declared Republican run for Sheriff since I can remember, they know it dooms them.

    After the 2006 mid-terms I still remember commenters on Daily Kos, including people who should have known better, crowing about the permanent Democratic majority. It just doesn’t work that way when you have to line up against the big money on the other side. Never has and never will. Politics is not a straight line, it is a pendulum.

    Even if we get the recall signatures we need we still don’t have a candidate. Many think this “strategy” keeps down Repub spending on attack ads in the meantime, I see it as a weakness and a problem. People hate Walker but even many Dems are fed up with this constant election cycle.

  45. 45
    Nancy Irving says:

    Since “Koch” rhymes with “toke” not “talk,” shouldn’t the tag be “Kochsniffers” rather than “Kochsuckers”?

  46. 46
    A.J. says:

    “Just today I talked to a woman volunteer whose 93-year-old father-in-law, former military, Republican all his life, said, ‘they would never have his vote again.’”

    He’s 93!!! He may not have another vote left in him! (Unless, of course, ACORN gets him to vote “Chicago Style”)

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