Monday, August 15, 2011

A "Moment of Clarity" After Wisconsin Recalls

Re-Examining Our Own Thoughts

Once MeanMesa's old head gets fired up with something as exciting as the Wisconsin recall elections might have been, everything else -- that is, all otherwise rather more reasonable thoughts -- seemed to be the first victim.

A "Pause" In Sherman's March to Madison? (image source)

To approximately quote Schwarzenegger in an old Conan movie, "What could be better than the wives and children of your enemy fleeing in terror in the dawn?"

Naturally, MeanMesa's "dream" of the recall was made glorious by a clean sweep where all six of the new Democratic candidates marched victoriously into the State Senate Chambers while the remaining Walkerites quivered in fear along the walls in the shadows.  A few minutes after this grand entrance, the "insurgents" would immediately begin dismantling all the fascist mischief which had caused the ground swell of Wisconsin voters.

Of course, it turns out that $35 million of solid Koch money convinced the voters in the recall differently.  MeanMesa's fantasy seemed to be undercut by a good dose of discouraging reality -- an unpleasant invitation to careen directly into a new state of "down in the mouth."

But wait a minute.

After a few days of Conan-style "wound licking," cooler thoughts emerged. These "cooler thoughts" can be explained a bit by considering three ideas.

1. Republicans Will Rule Everything Forever

This was the "heady brew" which Karl Rove embraced so pungently during the first term of the Bush autocracy.  Things were going along "Roses, Simply Roses" for the GOPCons in those days.  For one thing, even though they were gleefully wrecking the nation's economic fundamentals, they were borrowing and spending money at a rate which masqueraded as prosperity.

Politically, the Republican bosses were also making great headway on their plan to permanently divide the country.  After adding a gloriously botched mismanagement of national security on 9/11, there were wars to be fought, more money to be borrowed and the propaganda floodgates, thanks to folks like the now heavily soiled Murdoch and his FOX "mouth junk gang," were opened wide.

Foolishly, Democrats bought into the "winner take all" nonsense right along side with the GOPCon hill billy and bigot zombies.  Both Republicans and Democrats found themselves connected to the idea that a "good time" amounted to nothing less than "taking over" once and for all, that is, in all future elections until 2088.

This recently "consolidated base" has turned out very badly for the Republicans, and the prospects of a Democratic version of the same thing is now beginning the same unworkable process for the Democrats.  Inebriated with the political possibilities of a massive, lock step majority, compromise became a "dirty word" for both the elephant and the donkey party.

2. Obama as "Everybody's" President

Barack Obama made a point of telling the country that he intended to sustain the life blood of democracy found in the seriously wounded two party system he inherited on Inauguration Day.  Since then, although faced with a disturbingly intense "winner take all" atmosphere on both sides of the aisle, the President has insisted that the parties negotiate, compromise and do their Constitutional job.

Thanks to the as of yet untested permanence of the electoral divisiveness so carefully crafted by the oligarchs and their media, the final outcome of this high ideal remains in question.  The themes of responsibility and cooperation have been a constant drum beat, but the hoped for, gradual migration back to "two party-hood" remains tenuous at best.

The incendiary bombs keep falling, but through the calamity, the President has done a good job of remaining reasonable, although the media version of this is that the President has done a good job of appearing reasonable.  Obama has been steady and stable in his expectations for the political system to actually function instead of continuing to be a fight to the death for perpetual control of the government.

In simpler terms, this means that the President has consistently placed the responsibility of "getting along" and "getting things done" squarely on the heads of both sides.  MeanMesa is certain that Obama is anxiously waiting to see if his "reasonable course" will remind the nation of its Constitutional responsibility for maturity and good citizenship.

His ambition may stretch beyond a Democratic win to a new attraction for a government -- and a country -- which has had a moment of clarity and stepped back from the ideological infatuation of ever increasing dogmatic purity to end the gravely dysfunctional hob gobblin now in charge.

3. The Slightly Brighter Side
of the Wisconsin Recall Results

Now, as mentioned already, MeanMesa's idea of a good time for these recalls would have been a clean sweep.  However, that clearly did not happen.  So, is there anything about the results which might soften the blow?

Yes, actually, there is a brighter side.

That "brighter side" cannot be found lurking anywhere in the stifling, purist dream of "winner take all."  That "brighter side" only begins to emerge when a larger picture of the outcome is considered.  Further, the author of that brighter picture turns out to be a Republican incumbent in the Wisconsin State Senate, one Senator Dale Schultz.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Dale Schultz (image source)

Now, right here MeanMesa could dive deeply into the nuances of Wisconsin Senatorial politics, but that would be missing the point.  Just as easily, MeanMesa could also dive right into the intractable hopelessness of not realizing the full, across the board Democratic sweep so carefully pictured in our dream.

What if the "bright spot" has settled right into the middle between the two?

Maybe it has.

This moment seems to have turned into one of those embarrassing moments when the unexamined fallacy of a previously held "mistaken certainty" is revealed.  It has everything to do with winning.

MeanMesa's old idea of winning had everything to do with "party winning" or "ideological winning."  MeanMesa's new idea of winning has everything to do with what it should have had everything to do with in the first place -- the future of our country.

These now cooler thoughts see a new picture in the Wisconsin Senate, and that picture is not the hopeless collapse which played itself out in the MeanMesa nightmare.  Instead, a fairly rational, fairly moderate Republican Senator, Mr. Schultz, has become the "pivot point" of the future decisions to be reached in that more evenly split State Senate.

The old days of the Madison version of Sherman's March have ended.  The Democrats remain the minority party, but the lock step unanimity which existed in a 19 - 14 minority has effectively been replaced by a more thoughtful 17 - 16 minority.

For example, Republican Senator Schultz broke ranks with the Walkerites by voting against the anti-union legislation which caused so much unrest.  In the then majority mix of the Senate, this vote was not a decisive one, but in the new majority mix of the Senate, this vote would have blocked passage of the legislation.

Sour grapes?  Hardly.  This is the way a partisan Senate should work.  Further, Democrats who have dejectedly embraced the "heartbreak of defeat," should reconsider.  In fact, not just reconsider, but adopt a similar, cooperative ideal for the time when they are in the majority.

A rational, transactional two party system has been restored, and not by a landslide Democratic majority, either.  Rather, by a return to the ideas -- and ideals -- of a more functional, adversary governance.  The representational legitimacy of the Wisconsin State Senate is restored.

MeanMesa's compliments to Senator Dale Schultz.

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