Six myths about the Wisconsin election

5. The vote has no implications for November. The exit polls showed Obama winning the state 51 percent to 44 percent, and Wisconsin hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984. Obama supporters have been dismissing the idea that the state might go red this fall. The exit polls had a Democratic skew, however, and Michael Barone calculates a much closer matchup once it’s corrected. The state has clearly been tilting less to the Democrats over time. In this year’s election the state senate is expected to flip back to the Republicans. In that case, Wisconsin will have a Republican governor, at least one Republican senator and two Republican legislative chambers. It would be crazy for Obama to take the state for granted, and last week’s election ought to add to his worries.

6. Other Republican governors will follow Walker’s lead. On one point, it’s conservatives who may be deluding themselves. Many of them think that Walker’s triumph will now lead other Republican governors to emulate him. They may be overestimating that breed’s tolerance for criticism and controversy. A lot of Republican governors are going to look at Walker’s experience over the last two years and be glad he survived, but not eager to get themselves compared to Hitler or go through a recall campaign.

It’s still liberals who have most misinterpreted the recall campaign. Their last-ditch defense of public-sector-union privileges — which President Franklin D. Roosevelt rejected as contrary to the public good — couldn’t win the day in a state with as progressive a history as Wisconsin.

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