How Much is Enough, When is Enough Enough, or When is Enough Too Much?

Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

Related Post Roulette

116 Responses

  1. Patrick Cahalan says:

    Hard to lose when you can outspend your opponent by a nine-to-one margin and you have a PAC that makes that almost 12 to 1.

    On the other hand, it can be done… people have lost campaigns here local in CA with a bigger total cash disparity; Meg lost to Jerry spending $140 mil to $37 mil. So I’m with you on this election means everything, and it means nothing.

    I will say this for certain: if the next election cycle is dominated by R returns under a deluge of spending that tilts outrageously on that side, I think things are really going to get ugly.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      PatC, do you believe such a margin can be “bought” in Wisconsin, where it’s been THE major issue for months upon months and spurred a record or near-record turnout?

      Me, I don’t. 😉Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        No, Tom, I don’t. I think the freakout over the money spent is disproportionate; I realize my initial comment might lead one to think I go the other way. The money explains some of the difference.

        53% to 46% isn’t about ad deluge.

        I expect the average Joe voter in Wisconsin voted for Walker twice now. They’re pretty sure that he’s what they want.

        I don’t know that they’ll feel that way in 10 years, but that’s not my call one way or the other… it’s Wisconsin. What I want to know is how many of those public sector employees now vote with their feet. I’m expecting not many.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          You mean leave the state? Or what? If so, not many – they probably can’t just walk into jobs anywhere in this economy. Everyone’s going to try to get a feel for how much more he’s going to go after and then run the numbers for whether they need to get out (retire) while the getting’s… better than it will be. At which point maybe they’ll leave the state.

          What do you mean, though?Report

        • M.A. in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Walker targeted one sector of public employees that have a much harder time “voting with their feet.” Teachers have to be individually licensed in each state to teach. Getting certified for another state is a 2-year process.

          It’s a subtle fascist who goes after the vulnerable minority first while blaming them for the state’s problems.Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to M.A. says:

            Well, if Wisconsin is anything like California, a statistically enormous part of the budget goes to education.

            A statistically enormous part of any operating budget for almost anything that involves people is salary, and that’s certainly the case for the educational system in CA.

            Thus, if you’re looking to cut the budget significantly… well, “that’s where the money is”. On the Federal level: see Social Security, Medicare, and The Defense Budget.

            The fact that those employees have a particularly higher exit tax is a symptom of how the states (as federalized entities) run their educational systems.

            Tangent note: a teacher’s credential in Wisconsin is part of a reciprocity agreement. In South Carolina, for example, you can get a credential to teach if you’re a member of any of the following territories or states:

            1. Alabama
            2. Alaska
            3. Arizona
            4. Arkansas
            5. California
            6. Colorado
            7. Connecticut
            8. Delaware
            9. Florida
            10. Georgia
            11. Guam
            12. Hawaii
            13. Idaho
            14. Illinois
            15. Indiana
            16. Iowa
            17. Kansas
            18. Kentucky
            19. Louisiana
            20. Maine
            21. Maryland
            22. Massachusetts
            23. Michigan
            24. Minnesota
            25. Mississippi
            26. Missouri
            27. Montana
            28. Nebraska
            29. Nevada
            30. New Hampshire
            31. New Jersey
            32. New Mexico
            33. New York
            34. North Carolina
            35. North Dakota
            36. Ohio
            37. Oklahoma
            38. Oregon
            39. Pennsylvania
            40. Puerto Rico
            41. Rhode Island
            42. South Dakota
            43. Tennessee
            44. Texas
            45. Utah
            46. Vermont
            47. Virginia
            48. Washington
            49. West Virginia
            50. Wisconsin
            51. Wyoming

            Plus several Canadian territories. With Guam and Puerto Rico in there, they’re only missing one state. California accepts teaching credentials from:

            New Hampshire
            New Jersey
            New Mexico
            New York
            North Carolina
            North Dakota
            Rhode Island
            South Carolina
            South Dakota
            West Virginia

            So while it’s true that there are some limitations on your livelihood, it’s nothing like, say, having to pass a different state Bar exam…Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              Not all states are as accepting though. I’m not sure if New York has reciprocity with anyone. I believe they offer a Conditional Certification for two years if you are certified elsewhere, during which you need to pass their tests.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I do. The GOP spent big bucks here to keep Walker alive. The problem, as I’ve said before around here, is that Barrett was saying the exact same thing about the school unions as the Republican. I’ve heard Barrett compared to Romney on this: now that the Big National Party wants him to sing their song, he’s all-too-willing to do so, a complete about-face from his previous positions on the subject.

        See, back when the unions (A) were telling the school districts (B) to buy from their own preferred insurance company (C), the school districts got angry. The unions simply overreached. The Democrats need a new candidate. Barrett represents Milwaukee, not the whole state.

        But Walker’s not out of the woods, not yet. He’s got legal troubles. The backstory on Walker’s legal troubles, (if you ask a Republican like my girlfriend) is that Walker asked for the investigation. Problem is, he was also hitting up those crooks for campaign donations. Now I don’t know all the facts on this, but here are a few: granted, they’re not from Walker’s friends, but they do contain the timeline for anyone who’s interested.

        Wisconsin has a history of polarising governors. Tommy Thompson, Doyle and now Walker. It ain’t pretty. I haven’t got a dog in this fight. This much I do know, the GOP spent an awful lot of money here and greatly angered people in so doing.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        And there is that business about the Democrats taking back the State Senate. Anyone who would use the word “punked” in reference to Walker should know he’s now eating crow. He’s now talking about making peace with a beer and brats party. Fat chance of anyone making any peace with Walker now.

        Richard Nixon won his second election in a landslide. I don’t think any state helicopters will take Walker away from the Governor’s Mansion. He’ll turn up on the doorstep of a prison, just like Illinois’ governor.Report

        • Michelle in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I don’t think any state helicopters will take Walker away from the Governor’s Mansion. He’ll turn up on the doorstep of a prison, just like Illinois’ governor.

          A fine Illinois tradition that could easily be extended to its neighbor to the north.Report

    • I’m actually with Tom on this. You have two well-known candidates and a very high-profile race. Money is more likely to make a difference when it can be used to define unknowns and/or when people aren’t paying very close attention.Report

  2. b-psycho says:

    Picking the guy that lost the original election for a might as well be immediate in politics years do-over strikes me as capital-S Stupid.Report

  3. wardsmith says:

    By tomorrow the pundits will be saying this was a referendum on collective bargaining. Unfortunately the tax-paying class wants a seat at the table now too, given that they’re the ones on the hook for the largess doled out by the political classes. So the taxpayers are now part of the collective.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    Is it just me, or is it possible this is simply about overreach?

    I mean, I don’t live in WI, but if I did I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t vote to reelect Walker, and I still thought the recall ridiculous. I am sure no one will bother, but I’d wish someone would poll the voters to see to what degree people didn’t vote him out because they were against the recall.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      When CA recalled Davis, I thought it was a ridiculous recall. The guy did pretty much exactly what the voter should have expected him to do when they voted for him the first time.

      Walker did pretty much exactly what the voter should have expected him to do, too.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I don’t know how I (I was a voter in that election) was supposed to have divined what his plan was with respect to collective bargaining for public workers (or that any existed at all) by the time I voted that year. he didn’t tell us; no one knew to ask.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Did you expect him to govern as a centrist, a liberal, or a conservative?Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Why should I accept that that is all the resolution I need to have on his governing plans in order for you to tell me I knew in advance “pretty much exactly” what he was going to do in office?Report

        • Simon K in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Its extremely likely, given how these things work, that he didn’t know either.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Michael Drew says:

          FWIW, I just looked him up on wikipedia, and fighting for public union reform seems to have been a staple of his political career since it began in the assembly.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            BTW, there were 2 simultaneous elections; one whether to recall and the second to elect a successor if recalled. A better system, not just nullifying the first election and having a do-over because you didn’t like how the first one came out.

            I voted to recall Gray Davis; in retrospect that was unprincipled. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and a review of his record shows that he vetoed as much nonsense from the Democrat-ic legislature as the Governator did.

            I did, however, vote for the “centrist” Schwarwegfioxcxsghr rather than the well-qualified Tom McClintock, a principled fiscal hawk. It just seemed too much of an abuse of the process to totally reverse the previous election. I just wanted a centrist to shine a light on Sacramento’s dirty deeds.

            Gray Davis was ill-used by the recall process, though. Good man, governed just as he campaigned. There’s a certain opprobrium that goes with being recalled, and he did nothing to deserve it.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            And in his victory speech he admitted himself that he did something wrong in seeking to do these things without having talked about them.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            …So you’re telling me that if I had been running around in 2010 accusing Walker based on his record in Milwaukee and short career as an obscure assemblyman of having a plan to immediately upon taking office, without proper discussion, and without willingness to negotiate, to go after state-wide public union bargaining rights, that Republicans in the state wouldn’t have told me I was being paranoid and hysterical and wrongly accusing him of planning to do things he hadn’t proposed, and of which I had no other basis on which to accuse him?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      According to exit polls, 18% of Walker voters intend to vote for Obama. Also, 6% of Walker voters went for Barrett last time around. It’s likely that some of those voters were of the fed up variety. Also, 70% believe the recalls should only occur when there is official misconduct involved (60%) or that they should not exist at all (10%).

      So it seems likely that there is some irritation at the process itself. Maybe in 2014 the Democrats will nominate Barrett again and we’ll see how it would come out in a non-recall election again.

      An interesting note: 5% of voters who don’t think we should have recalls nonetheless voted for Barrett. There’s nothing inconsistent about that, but it’s still interesting to see that people did that.

      I don’t know what I would do if I had a governor I didn’t like undergoing a recall process I don’t like. Maybe vote with the 5%, figuring that since the process is there we might as well take advantage of it. As rational and ideologically coherent as I would like to think I’d be on the matter, there is a good chance it would depend on how much I disliked the governor.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      This. I haven’t seen polling on the question, but it’s at least plausible to think that voters believe a recall should be reserved for very serious breaches of trust or other misconduct. Walker seems to have delivered just what he promised. Conceivably, voters may be unhappy about it, but they might also not relish the prospect of continuous recall elections whenever something mildly controversial occurs.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        So you’re saying you think there are voters who were unhappy about what Walker has done and would like someone else to be governor but who went out and voted for him because they didn’t like the fact that there was a recall?Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Michael Drew says:

          I think a lot of people who mildly dislike him probably stayed home. These same people would have voted against him in an ordinary election.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Ah, okay. As I’ve written, I can at least imagine that. Will’s pointed out that the numbers don;t quite bear it out with the turnout & all, but there is enough about what might be considered a quasi-“maximum” possible turnout in this election, happening at a completely abnormal time of year without any national tie-in etc., that the numbers really aren’t clear, and there could certainly be enough slack in the potential Dem voters for this election that such people might have played played a significant role. But my subjective experience there this past year was that just about anyone who might be considered a marginally Dem voter was mobilized for this race. I’m not sure what went into anyone’s decision who did mildly dislike him and, had they been at the polls, would have voted against him to stay home. It’s certainly, I’d say even obviously, plausible that desire to discourage recalls on principle contributed to somewhat to some of those decisions. But that’s barely saying anything at all.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

          …And he delivered a number of things he didn’t promise… or mention.Report

  5. Michael Drew says:

    – It’s not 10 points, it’s 7.

    – Why would we measure the size of margins in Wisconsin by reference to national results? (Obviously, 10 points would be large in Wisconsin terms as well, but still…)

    – What exactly went on here in terms of the thinking of the people who turned out and tilted it to Walker while telling exit pollster they’re thinking they’ll probably vote for Obama, it’s hard to say, but what possible basis can any of us claim to have for saying what part the campaign spending did or didn’t have in it at this point?

    – (Aside to Will – I actually think you underestimate how “definable” each of these candidates still were during much of this year, when the advertising was happening. Barrett is not really all that well-known from an uninspiring run in 2010, being Mayor of Milwaukee, which is a job you can kind of disappear into as far as much of the state, and an unmemorable primary run for gov ten(!) years ago. Beyond that, the money advantage allowed Walker to run self-positive, opponent-negative, and anti-recall campaigns all simultaneously. The money plausibly made a large difference in the outcome, though I’m not saying that it did in fact. I really don’t know.)

    – Choosing the rematch was definitely a bad move for the Dems, but I’m not sure it wasn’t also their best move. I think Vinehout would have been the best choice atmospherically, but do we really think she’d have run better than Barrett given her obscurity? Possible, not likely. Falk is a non-starter in statewide races. Basically, the Wisconsin Democratic Party just picked a horrible time to be having a rebuilding period on its statewide candidates bench.

    – But I’m not even sure Russ Feingold himself could have pulled this out, and that might be why he didn’t try. He might have seen the writing on the wall (or just not wanted to serve), and this would go to Tom’s view: that there just hasn’t really been that much of a shift in the state since 2010, and it was never all that likely that there was going to be. Perhaps once we (I say as someone who’s spent about 30 of 33 years in the state but don’t live there a the moment) found out what Scott Walker actually wanted to do with the state – which he didn’t tell us before he was elected – we actually turned out to be pretty cool with it. Or maybe he bought himself survival with mostly out-of-state money. I don’t think we know.Report

    • – (Aside to Will –

      Fair enough. My main thinking on the matter is that Barrett had two elections with which to present himself in media-rich elections. If he failed to make an impression, I am skeptical that we can blame that on money (the other guy’s or his lack thereof). But I’m content to say “we don’t know” as long as it’s not followed by an explanation of how we might should consider this an object lesson in how money can buy elections (I know you’re not saying that).

      Choosing the rematch was definitely a bad move for the Dems, but I’m not sure it wasn’t also their best move.

      Knowing less than I’m sure you do, this seems right to me.

      What are your thoughts on the recall fatigue aspect that Tod mentioned? It seems quite possible to me. Maybe not enough to flip the election, but a factor nonetheless. I don’t know who I would have voted for in a scheduled election, but I probably would have tilted towards Walker in a recall or maybe voted for them regardless of how I thought he was doing.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I always felt that the issues were so polarizing and charged, and the complaints I heard about the recall itslef muted and plaintive eough rather than angry, that it never much made sense to me as a driving factor in the race. But maybe it was just me who was polarized and charged. Also, as your own guess about what you’d do suggests, I’m not sure why an anti-recall vote tends to be a Walker vote. An anti-recall vote seems more likely to not be a vote to me. And perhaps that’s what happened: people who in some elections might be potential Democratic votes for governor stayed home because they didn;t like the idea of a recall. But I just can’t see many people who think in ways that get them to sometimes vote Democratic in Wisconsin who would a) not be pretty motivated to vote that way in this election, or b) be deterred from doing it by the fact of the recall itself. But maybe I just don’t know who did what or why at all here. (Oh wait, that is the situation!)

        Or maybe it was because it’s June and a lot of the people who provided the last Democratic majority that this state has seen in a statewide election aren’t even in the state right now, or are not able to be mobilized.

        My gut tells me not many people who cared at all about this race changed their vote or didn’t vote only because it was a recall. But at the same time, people who didn;’ particularly care, who the Democrats rely on to turn out at the time when people usually vote to give them results like 2008, might in fact have had that extra motivation that gets them to turn out in November of a divisible-by-four year blunted by the fact that they got sick of the constant ads and campaigning for sixteen months. But then if the constant ads were a factor, we’re back to the other thing again. Or maybe they just tuned it out and went camping.

        Bottom line: I don’t know. I’m not sure I actually know what the bottom line of Wisconsin politics re: Wisconsin issues really is enough to understand what just happened. Every governor’s race going back into the Nineties has been attached to national dynamics that skewed those outcomes in ways that make it hard to read except 2002, but that was the first election after Tommy left and his nowhere’sville Lt.G. Scott McCallum ran a prayerless race against a highly respected long-time AG. This might just be what the state electorate on state issues looks like in the down-economy Obama era. That it’s a recall might have nothing to do with it.Report

        • But maybe it was just me who was polarized and charged. Also, as your own guess about what you’d do suggests, I’m not sure why an anti-recall vote tends to be a Walker vote. An anti-recall vote seems more likely to not be a vote to me.

          For me personally, I’d vote because voting is what I do. I don’t know how common this would be among Wisconsinites, though. Huge turnout, though, right? So it would seem that not a whole lot of people stayed home, fired up about the election (the issues, the candidate(s), whatever). That would tilt against many recall fatiguers staying home (if there were any recall fatiguers, which it doesn’t sound like you got the sense there were many).Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

            There was fatigue but I think people voted anyway, and I think they mostly voted for whom they wanted to be governor more, not for the one they wanted to be governor less than than the other, in order to register discontent with the existence of the election to begin with.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        OTOH, Charles Pierce, who’s been there probably more than I have over the last few months and is certainly a better reporter than me is making quite big deal in his reporting that anti-recall sentiment was indeed a quite a big factor in the election, though he makes clear that it was assisted in being so by having been made a major part of Walker’s own message. His reporting, though, seems to contain a lot of descriptors like, “people who might not like what Walker had done, but they hated the idea of a recall even more,” where, it seems to me, the “might” is at least potentially doing a fair bit of the work. On the other hand, maybe they were sort of okay with it, ya know? It’s not clear to me that we know how that lines up. And maybe if they had really not liked what Walker did, they mighta felt a little different about a recall that would have allowed them to change it. In any case, it seems odd to me to be falling all over oneself to register as a first-time voter to vote in a recall election you feel shouldn’t be happening, in order to express that opposition – which registrations Pierce pretty clearly reports to have been happening. It’s not clear to me that actually being kind of down with Walker isn’t the more Occam-friendly explanation for this behavior. Being “against the recall” does seem like a polite, apolitical way one can feel good about giving to describe one’s behavior to people impolite enough to ask about it, however.Report

  6. Ryan Noonan says:

    On the upside, at least we’ll get to have a recall in the election that flips the state senate from R to D. The Democrats are winning!Report

  7. Mike Dwyer says:

    Here’s what I don’t follow: National forces on the Left clearly played a role in making this recall happen. The punditry alone made this an issue dejour for months. So then, where was the money? I’m not saying it should have been a 100% match but the gap seems large.Report

    • Ryan Noonan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Especially given the size of the donations usually made by the very public sector unions whose backs were up against the wall here.Report

      • A Teacher in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

        Yeah because we OH SO MUCH spare cash lying around to throw at politics.

        Here, let me go out to my BMW for my other wallet and hand over a few C notes. Oh…. wait. Do you take a check? I left all my cash in the Mercedes.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Labor lent a lot of muscle and some money (I don’t really know how to judge whether whatever they put it was a lot – i.e. what to judge it against) to the signature phase of the recall, but (at least plausibly, in my view) they were doing this only because it was clear that it was a viable effort on its own on the strength of grass-roots and state-level union efforts. The outside forces helped the number of signatures climb to a million when they would have been closer to the required half a million had they stayed out. but when the race itself took shape, it shaped up like a losing battle, so the national money slowed down quite a bit (or never sped up like you’re imagining it should). Alternatively or additionally, national fundraising among Democratic groups has been down across the board, or, at least not keeping up with GOP-aligned SuperPACs etc., so the “national forces” are simply being more judicious with expenditures, and a faltering recall effort that didn’t even allow the challenger a month to get his feet after emerging as the candidate didn’t rate. I.e., the money simply may simply not have been there nationally to be sent there locally.

      Additionally, there was the whole “a governor facing a recall in Wisconsin faces no donation limit on his campaign while the challenger does” law that governed this election, though I’m not sure how much that played a role since I think most of the spending was done independently of the campaign (though I’m not sure about that).Report

      • Plinko in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I know a lot of people that were highly active in the recall, I think MD’s analysis here is fairly solid – the national attention really meant very little to the outcome of the recall signature effort.Report

    • North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      It wasn’t just money either Mike. The National GOP put their all into this politically, financially etc… The National Democratic Party on the other hand largely stayed away. A recall is hard enough to pull off if both parties care about it equally. The National GOP treated it like a fight of the year; the National Dems treated it like a sideshow. I’m not surprised at the outcome.

      The big question of course; could it have been flipped if the Dems had gone more all in? If so they erred but if not then their choice was a prescient one.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

        I think the question is: Does this actually have national significance? The GOP is certainly going to paint it as such. Dems will try to downplay it. Who is right?Report

      • Kimmi in reply to North says:

        considering the LAST recall….
        They’d have needed +5 margin to avoid “problems” — be they outright stealing of elections, or Minnesota style “let’s fight it in the courts”Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Left did a fun thing with Ford in 2006 — it’s called a money trap. Any money the right wastes on a recall is stuff that isn’t out there for november.Report

  8. Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

    This was the douchiest possible approach one could have taken on this topic.

    Congrats, Tom. Another thread that makes me feel like I need a shower.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

      Please elaborate. I don’t see a single thing wrong with the post.Report

      • Bad-ass Motherfisher in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Governor Walker punked the educrat-union-political complex by tightening its belt bigtime—the only question was whether he’d get away with it.

        In a thoughtful blog about politics and society, this is just spiking the football in overwrought triumphalism. It belongs on FreeRepublic.comReport

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

          So let’s slightly modify the statement:

          “Governor Walker targeted the educrat-union-political complex by tightening its belt bigtime—the only question was whether he’d get away with it.”

          Would that meet your approval?Report

          • Ryan Noonan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            “Educrat” also strikes me as kind of a childish pejorative. I let it go, because this is Tom, but it’s not like it raises the level of discourse.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

              I think that’s being pretty hyper-sensitive. It’s a recognized term, very similar to technocrat.Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                It is? I’ve never heard it before in my life. A quick Google search indicates that it’s used mainly in right wing circles… as a pejorative.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                It describes someone who works in the administration end of education. It’s only pejorative in the sense that some parties are hyper-sensitive to certain words. Kind of like when we were told the word ‘radical’ was secretly racist in 20o4.

                I’ve never understood the liberal obsession with word choice. The only thing I can figure is that it’s a way of avoiding a discussion about the actual issue. I once had a coworker who would refer to another employee as a moron when talking to our boss. Our boss would never actually discuss the employee, who actually was a moron, because he didn’t like the word choice. The end-result is that they had a lot of pointless arguments about his language and we were all stuck with a moron for a coworker. The boss sort of missed the point and I think that is exactly what tends to happen when liberals over-analize language in lieu of discussing the topic at hand.Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I think, especially in a blog that is based on its community like this one, you have a certain responsibility not to use words that your interlocutors find insulting. We just had a bit of a brouhaha over using “Democrat” as an adjective, so I don’t want to go back down the rabbit hole, but if you know someone you’re talking to doesn’t like the word you’re using (and, in fact, finds it insulting), and you keep using it because you consider this worry “over sensitive”, that is, first and foremost, because you are an asshole.

                Also, calling your employees morons, whatever you think of their general level of competence, makes you a really big asshole.

                Now, I don’t understand why you have to insult other people to make yourself feel good, but it’s almost certainly because you have a really small penis and are stupid to boot.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I think the key here is ‘…use words that your interlocutors find insulting’. As a conservative I can tell you that the list of words that liberals find insulting is so impossibly long that you would have to maintain some sort of database to avoid insulting someone out there with even the most innocent of posts. I mean, I remember a time not that long ago when simply calling someone a liberal was seen as an insult, hence the popularity of ‘progressive’.

                And from words we’re a short leap from phraseology. The words themselves aren’t harmful, but when strung together they become some sort of insult. Then we all become word police and spend our time to discussing linguistics instead of actually debating the issue. Mission accomplished I guess.

                I’m also not sure if you’re talking about MY penis size but I assure you there is no correlation between penis size and insults.Report

              • Mike, the problem with your observation is that liberals – and most other human beings – manage to converse with one another all the time without insults. So clearly this is more your problem than anyone else’s.

                And I’m still not sure why you’d even want to talk to someone if you’re not willing to extend the basic decency of, you know, not calling them names they don’t like. You still haven’t demonstrated to me that it is anything other than rude to call someone something and then double down when they tell you they don’t like it. Why would you behave that way?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I think we’re talking about two separate things.

                – If I say, ‘Ryan is a poopy head’ that is an insult and yeah, I’m deliberately trying to offend you and disrupt the conversation.

                – On the other hand if I say, “The problem with our school system is that the educrats care more about teachers than the students.” and you take offense and let it end the debate (or not allow the debate to even start) then IMO you are being deliberately hyper-sensitive and seemingly just want avoid the core issue.

                Also, you keep addressing me directly about this insult thing. Perhaps re-read the story I related. I think something got lost in your translation.Report

              • I know where you’re going with this, but it seems to me that defending your prerogative to use words that upset other people, rather than just agreeing that they’re an unwise choice and using a different word, serves an equal role in derailing a conversation.

                If you simply wrote, “The problem with our school system is the people who care more about teachers than students”, I don’t see how the conversation gets derailed by discussions of language. If you say “educrat”, someone calls you on it, and then you say, “Okay, maybe that’s needlessly confrontational, let’s talk about the issue instead”, then suddenly the conversation is back on track. It’s this insistence that, no, my word is fine and you’re just being sensitive, stop crying that baffles me.

                In fact, using your story as a springboard, it seems to me that the correct thing for the boss to do was to say, “Look, we can discuss this, but let’s treat everyone with respect”, rather than just avoid the issue altogether. In the case of this post, my initial reaction was actually to avoid the thing because I think Tom is hopeless.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                My point is, if I use the term like ‘educrat’ why even point out that some people might find it offensive? It’s the kind of phrase that inhabits that gray area where you have to WANT to be offended to bring it up. I mean seriously, i’m quite sure you hear language every day that makes you cringe, but do you let it derail every conversation you have? At some point it becomes unnecessarily tedious.Report

              • I probably wouldn’t object solely to the word “educrat”, although as BAMF points out, there are a lot of words here – like “punked” or “get away with it” – that express a tone that seems intended to bug people. Maybe that wasn’t the intent, but at least two people who are not otherwise idiots (I like to think) see it that way, so it seems like you should at least entertain the notion that it might come off like that, even if you personally have no issue with it.

                And, as I said, “educrat” appears to be a term used exclusively in conservative circles. I don’t hang out in those, so part of the problem here is that I’ve just never heard the word before. The pure novelty of it probably makes it seem like more of an insult than you think it is. But the fact that it’s used by conservatives to describe a set of people liberals often defend, and is never used by liberals to describe those people, should at least indicate to you that it is hardly a neutral term.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                we-hell, I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s awful hard to offend me. I try not to do too much PC bullshit (I think other people call it politeness). A rat’s a rat, and it ain’t much helped by calling it an “r”, if you get my drift.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I only know “educrat” from the works of Debra Saunders. This is not a recommendation.Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

              “Educrat” also strikes me as kind of a childish pejorative.

              I have always preferred either “Teacher-nistas,” “Edutaxers,” or “Edu-nazis.”Report

          • Plinko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Actually, Mike, the unions in this case had already read the writing on the wall and made most of the pay and benefit concessions before Walker even took office. I’m tempted to say ‘all’ but I believe some additional pension changes were enacted later.
            Even after getting what they wanted, the Governor and state legislature decided they would strip several unions of their rights to bargain on pay and benefits in the future anyway. The central issue of the protests in the state and the subsequent recall was the partisan anger driven by the perception that the unions had given what was asked and then the Republicans went and cut them off at the knees anyway.Report

          • Bad-ass Motherfisher in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Without presuming to take sides in Wisconson, the single sentence I block-quoted is so full of partisan dogma and fighting words that one could write a thesis on it.

            Governor Walker punked the educrat-union-political complex by tightening its belt bigtime—the only question was whether he’d get away with it.

            punked: You already got that one., but “punked” and “targeted” are nothing close to synonyms.

            educrat: Do I really have to explain?

            educrat-union-political complex: Wow. That’s like a conservative word salad.

            tightening its belt : Do you really think that is a reasonable representation of what drove the recall? Walker was “tightening (the unions’) belts by engaging in structural changes to the state’s civil service system designed to eliminate the ability of unions to organize, and collect dues.

            the only question was whether he’d get away with it. As written, the sentence implies that Walker was able to overcome a corrupt and powerful adversary. But the rest of the framing does not acknowledge what the real issues in the election were.

            So, no. It would not have been much better with your proposed one-word change. The post was not designed to create discussion, but to get under people’s skin, and start off a round of bickering. Luckily, it hasn’t been too successful (so far).Report

  9. Kimmi says:

    TIME OUT, Fools!
    Everyone’s allowed to have some spiking the football posts around here. Everyone’s allowed to have some howling about “the world is ending” because the Evul other side did WHAT???Report

  10. Kimmi says:

    TVD? PLEASE read this.
    Let Rob Dawg show you how to spike the foot ball properly:
    “Voters send a message that saving your state from insolvency is not a recall offense. ”

    This is not inflammatory, does not cause everyone above and below you to debate semantics, and Gets Your God Damn Point Across. Will people still comment? you Betcha!Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

      Walker DID punk the educrat establishment and the question WAS whether he’d get away with it. And although it’s assumed I think the punking was a good thing, a formal parsing does not reveal that. I took no position on the punking.

      In fact, as a Burkean, I lean against punking. I adore John Kasich, but I had my reservations about how quickly he moved in Ohio.

      So in a way, Rob Dawg—albeit elegantly—took more of a editorial position than I did, and mine was an “Off the Cuff,” y’know, just popped it in there before trodding off to Sleepytime. I definitely could have loaded it up, but went vanilla, albeit with a few tasty rhetorical sprinkles.

      And tellya the truth, Kimmi, no matter how vanilla I write, I got somebody up my butt anyway, so pls forgive me if I allow meself a little fun now & then.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Thank you!
        I think it’s quite fair to have a bit of fun now and again (if you do assume that the entire post will get cluttered with cluckery, and don’t get huffy about it).Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

          Spot on about the “cluckery,” Kimmi, and props on an excellent coinage to boot.

          Kazzy, I don’t have these semantic problems with anyone else. I understand them just dandy, and they seem to get me close enough. Except when I’m in virgin territory for them, the half of political thought that their experience in school and media has left them blissfully insulated from. When they are courteous and patient, I explain myself; if not, I don’t. A hostile interlocutor is a waste of my time.

          As a courtesy, I’ll explain: Walker punked the unions; Cuomo did not, although both have engaged the public union problem. To follow my thought here, it’s necessary to turn up the microscope a few notches and follow some of the links I’ve already offered, this being one of them.

      • Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        What does it mean to “punk” someone? Are we using the Ashton Kutcher definition of the word? Or does that require the ‘d at the end? The problem with your choice of words is that it doesn’t really mean anything… or means too many things to too many different groups of people. The word has 27 pages (pages!) of entries on Urban Dictionary. And what is an educrat? What is the educrat-union-political-complex? I ask these questions genuinely, as all I can take from that statement is that you seem in favor of whatever Walker did, but it doesn’t really tell me what he did, why you are in favor of it, why it was the right thing to do, etc.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Kazzy says:

          Here’s my interpretation: “Here’s what I’m gonna do, and you’re gonna like it” (particularly when the other guy thought he’d at LEAST get a seat at the table)Report

          • A Teacher in reply to Kimmi says:

            Walker: Hey Unions, I need concessions or else you’re all gone.
            Unions: Uh… our members can’t afford that.
            Firefighters: Okay here’s some money for your election
            Walker: Hey other unions, last chance. Give up stuff or else.
            Unions: Okay… we give up stuff.
            Walker: ~GOTCHA!~ I’m going to screw you over anyway and you cant’ stop me. Neener neener!Report

  11. Kolohe says:

    1) Presidential popular votes percentage points differential always have run in a comparatively narrow band.

    2) You can’t compare the Presidential political dynamic with a Gubernatorial one.

    3) ‘Elephant in the room’ normally means “Something big that nobody’s talking about”. Everyone’s talking about the Wisconsin election. (and in the scheme of things it’s actually not that big. Certainly, democracy didn’t ‘die’ last night)Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:

      He said the LoOG room, and it was the first post here about it. But on 1 & 2, yes.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kolohe says:

      1) Gray Davis went 55.4% in favor of recall and 44.6% opposed. Similar.
      2) Sure I can.
      3) Well, we weren’t until the results came in. This happened to be first post.

      Yes, democracy did die last night. That sobbing anti-Walker guy in Madison said so on CNN.

      [OK, I’ll cop to it. THIS is spiking the football. But did some woman really slap Tom Barrett in the face for conceding the election? Real righties don’t cry. And they don’t slap.]

      VOICE: I’m just disappointed. This is the end of democracy. We just got outspent 34 million to 4 million. This was ?? this was the biggest election in America and I hope you keep me on tonight because this hurts us all. Every single one of you out there in the nation, if you’re watching, democracy died tonight.

      REPORTER: You’re very emotional.

      VOICE: I’m very emotional because we all had a lot invested in this. This was it. If we didn’t win tonight the end of the USA as we know it, just happened. That’s it, we just got outspent, 34 million to 4 million dollars…….Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        My mistake, I misread the timestamp on the post

        (and lulz on the face slapping incident)Report

      • A Teacher in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        And no one should care that the way to win an election is to outspend the other guy.

        I’m so sick of hearing about how much money Romney is raising, or how big Obama’s warchest is. It’s just plain ~wrong~ and Jefferson and Washington would have kicked the crap out of us for letting it get to this point.

        Heck, Washington’s probably sitting somewhere thinking “Damn.. I just shoulda accepted the crown and been done with it…”Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to A Teacher says:

          Rachel Maddow: “The Wisconsin Republicans, under Scott Walker, were using public policy to essentially dismantle public sector unions in Wisconsin. And that — however you feel about union rights in the country — it had one very practical, partisan effect, which is that the unions had been big supporters of Democratic candidates and Democratic causes and had had a lot to do with the Democratic ground game. So if they go away — in terms of whether or not that corporate money that’s disproportionately supporting Republicans can be answered — at least on the Democratic side, before there is some kind of reform, Democrats do not have a way to compete in terms of big outside money in elections. And that is the reality now in Wisconsin. It is the reality in states where they have essentially eliminated unions’ rights.”

          Read more:\Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to A Teacher says:

          Why do you suppose that people throw money at politics? It’s not for recreation. It’s because they know that politicians can dispense something in return — tax breaks, favorable regulations, protections against foreign competitors.

          If you really want to limit money in politics — if you genuinely think that this is a stain on the republic — then you won’t be satisfied by pushing money around with ever more elaborate campaign finance restrictions. Money is a subtle fluid, and it flows readily along the paths of least resistance.

          The real way to get money out of politics is to lessen the return on political investments.Report