Michael Barone on Wisconsin: Has the tea party given up?

posted at 9:49 pm on March 29, 2011 by Allahpundit

It’s not just Wisconsin. John Kasich in Ohio and Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania have seen their ratings sour too. But with Walker’s polls now negative and the state supreme court election next week looking like a bellwether for left/right grassroots enthusiasm, he’s wondering if the moment has passed.

In addition, both parties have threatened to recall at least some of the other side’s state senators. Recall petitions are being circulated and require relatively few signatures.

The IWV poll says that voters would oppose recalling Democratic state senators by 60 to 38 percent but oppose recalling Republicans by only 52 to 43 percent.

There’s an assumption by many Republicans, seemingly shared by Walker, that voters settled these issues definitively in the November elections. But the IWV poll suggests that voters are not necessarily well-informed and have been swayed by those who frame the issue as collective bargaining “rights.”…

Given their druthers, voters oppose tax increases and spending cuts. But they’re responsive to the message that in these hard economic times it’s not possible to have all good things.

They have seen that vast spending increases haven’t generated jobs and they understand that tax increases can choke a sputtering economic recovery. Given the facts, they understand that public employee unions inflate spending, reduce accountability and operate as a mechanism for the involuntary transfer of taxpayer money to one political party.

The press won’t make that case. Republicans and Tea Partiers need to do it themselves.

Well, look. Victory in the midterms was bound to cool some people’s ardor. Conservatives were irate over unchecked Democratic governance, and now there’s a check in the form of a Republican House, so the temperature had to come down. The difficulty here isn’t convincing grassroots righties that they need to get their message out 24/7, it’s figuring out how to raise that temperature again to the point where people are out in the streets, knocking on doors, volunteering, organizing, donating, and so forth. Candidly, I don’t know how you do it; the best fuel is anger, but having just won a major legislative victory in Wisconsin — imperiled though it may be — some conservatives just may not be feeling the rage right now, no matter how vicious or intimidating the left tries to be. To see just how vicious, have a look at the sort of sleazy attack ads they’re running against Wisconsin Justice David Prosser. Not only is Politifact calling them on it, but even one of the victims in the case is so disgusted that he wants the ad pulled. Here’s Mark Levin from tonight’s show interviewing Prosser and putting the word out about how high the stakes are in this election. If you’re in Wisconsin, please start calling friends and tell them: Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. Click the image to listen.


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