On the Shadow Empire
As my old friend Colombo used to say, “There’s just one thing I don’t understand”. Except when he said that, you knew he was about to gotcha somebody.
There is one thing that I really don’t understand, regarding this week’s quadruple kerfluffle about the Wisconsin recall election (something that was not news, if you’ve been paying attention to Mr. Silver).
Now we can generally assume (hah!) that the people inside Wisconsin are motivated by what they believe is best for Wisconsin. This accounts for $10 million dollars collected by Walker’s campaign, and about $3 million dollars of Barrett’s.
This leaves us with $20.5 million dollars in out-of-state money for Walker’s campaign, and $900K for Barrett. There’s another $16.3 million in pro-Walker SuperPAC money, but since I can’t say where it comes from let’s just leave that out of the analysis for now.
Here’s my question, for all and sundry (except Elias, who is apparently also muddled on a related question): why is anybody paying almost $22 million dollars to a political campaign in another state? Do you know how much damage you can do with $22 million dollars in ad money in local elections in your own state? I’ll assume that possibly some of the money is motivated by direct self-interest… if the public sector union’s collective bargaining rights stay kaiboshed, it’s possible for certain in-state jobs to be outsourced. But you can’t outsource the actual DMV labor, or the teachers, or the fire department or the police (maybe the dispatchers or the HR reps or whatnot). So largely, I don’t see much in the way of direct, immediate benefit for anybody who contributes to Walker’s campaign. They don’t live there. They don’t work there. They probably don’t do much business there (or maybe they do?)
So my question for the liberal blogger(s) is: what do you think they get out of it? And more importantly (anybody can throw out a wacky “what if?”) how can you square your idea with the reality on the ground? If you honestly believe that this is part of a major coordinated effort on behalf of the shadow empire… what are they getting out of it? It cannot possibly be as straightforward a conspiracy as, say, “Halliburton paying Cheney to start a war in Iraq to flood their pockets with filthy lucre”. That’s a crazy conspiracy but the payoff is pretty immediately present. What’s the payoff here? I mean, if I’m an Evil Overlord (disclaimer: I am not an Evil Overlord), I certainly wouldn’t pay $20 million dollars for kicks. There are easier ways to vent my Evil Overlord tendencies… shoot, I can kick puppies for free. Wisconsin is a swing state, but it leans Obama, it’s only worth 10 electoral votes, and as Will pointed out the polls don’t exactly indicate that this has pushed anybody toward voting for Mitt. One of Erik’s cobloggers at Forbes thinks (or thought, that’s an older post) that this is largely a Koch brothers effort. Does this actually make sense? Wisconsin is 15th in the nation by union representation as a percentage of the working population, and 21st in the nation when it comes to actual GSP. This represents a hotbed of free-flowing union political action committees? Tackling Wisconsin public unions is going to have a major impact on the national campaigning funds that flow into the Democratic Party? Maybe it does, but that seems really unlikely (in fact, it seems more likely that whacking a nest of hornets with a stick is going to result in them donating more in the national elections, shooting yourself in the proverbial foot)… if you have more information please enlighten me in the comments. But if you’re going to tackle unions as Your Archnemesis… why Wisconsin? What’s the deal, juicy dirt on Walker gets you an easily-manipulated puppet?
My question for the conservative blogger(s) is: what the hell are these people doing? Seriously, nearly every state in the nation has huge budgetary problems. Why does… okay, wait, I see that the Republican Governors’ Association is a decent sized donor, there’s an obvious self-interest there but that’s all of 0.5% of the total cash from outsiders… why does everyone else… say, Americans for Prosperity care about Wisconsin’s budgetary problems in particular? You cannot possibly tell me that it is “good business sense”. Good business sense would mean fixing your own damn state, as that’s the state in which you do business. So, what’s the deal?
Please limit your responses to those that are 4 or smaller dimensions in conspiracy-chess. 11-dimensional chess answers are not useful. I will accept, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”, but that’s the best I can come up with, myself.