The boomerang effect: How Dems' recall effort in Walker could be hurting Obama

Republicans have flooded Wisconsin with donations. State law allows unlimited donations to Walker, and outside advocacy groups responded. This recall will likely be the second-most expensive election in the country after the presidency.

Equally important, it has helped Republicans get in shape for November. From a logistical point of view, the GOP has updated its databases and tested out its party voter turnout machine right before the presidential race gears up — at no cost to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The recall could also help in two other ways. Generally, a sitting official’s argument that a recall is a waste of public funds is not a strong defense. This may be because recalls are frequently blowouts — one way or the other. Or because it seems like a desperate “change-the-subject move” by the official facing the recall. So saying a recall is a waste of money doesn’t matter when nearly 90 percent of the voters hate your guts — as happened to the Miami-Dade mayor.

When the recall is close, however, this sort of defense can be a good way to capture the attention of swing voters.