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Friday, November 09, 2012

Griper Blade: No Real Victory for Wisconsin GOP

You've probably heard that Wisconsin state Republicans managed to dodge the Democratic trend this year and retake the state Senate. There's a tight and contested election yet to be resolved, but Republicans will probably control the Senate 18-15. This gives the GOP the levers of state government -- the Assembly and the Governor's office are both in Republican hands. However, this may not be the disaster that it seems at first. Or, at least, not as bad a one. The first and most obvious point in favor of this argument is that Senate rules that 3/5 of the chamber be present before any vote can be taken on budgetary matters. If 14 or more Senators are no-shows, you don't have a quorum. You might remember that this maneuver was the prelude to the recall fight. Both parties will want to avoid this in the future. But a more important and convincing point is that Governor Scott Walker, while an ideologue, is probably the most ambitious politician in Wisconsin. He has ideological goals, but they pale in comparison to his personal career goals. He had hoped his union-busting would make him a Republican vice presidential short-lister, but things became much more contentious than he had imagined and that dream died. I think the whole thing surprised and scared him, leaving him legitimately chastened. That sort of overreach won't happen again. Because if there's one thing that's really bad for your career, it's getting fired. And despite his party's victories at the state level, things at the federal level went very, very poorly. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was also defending his House seat and, although he did win, it didn't actually go as well as he would've liked. His share of the vote that reelected him was down nearly twenty points from just two years ago. According to the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier, Ryan's win was "his narrowest ever congressional contest." Ryan's is a swing district and Walker will likely need it to survive reelection, a mere two years away...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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