It is not surprising that there would be an enthusiasm gap in Wisconsin, with the national unions pouring substantial funds and efforts into recalling Republican Senators and eventually Gov. Scott Walker.
The efforts are not only monetary, but also through physical and other intimidation, such as physically disrupting recall efforts against Democratic Senators and intimidation by police unions against businesses which do not denounce Republicans.
Is the situation dire for Republicans? Or is the silent majority merely intimidated into public silence?
Sam Stein at HuffPo argues that Republicans are being seriously outorganized and outfunded:
Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.
The operatives, who raised their concerns out of hope it would jar the GOP into assertiveness, argue complacency has taken over after Governor Scott Walker successfully shepherded his anti-collective bargaining bill into law. While the Wisconsin Democratic Party, with major assists from progressive groups and unions, has harnessed resentment towards the governor into a full-throttled effort to recall eight GOP Senators, neither the enthusiasm nor organizational acumen exists on the Republican side of the aisle.
I have no doubt that much of what Stein says is true, but the numbers being reported by Dave Weigel show that each side has obtained so far roughtly half the number of signatures needed for recall petitions. So is the enthusiasm gap really going to show up at the polls?
As both Stein and Weigel report, local Tea Party activists and groups are leading the way in recall petition drives against Democrats, while the Democrats have national union support.
I have no way of judging if the situation is as dire as predicted. As Matthew Knee wrote yesterday, the polling numbers do not necessarily portent doom for Republicans.
But this should be a call to action for those who want to support the recall efforts against Democrats and to help defend the recall efforts against Republicans.
While most of the nation will have forgotten about Wisconsin by June, the national unions will try to turn Wisconsin in June 2011 into Massachusetts 2010, where Scott Brown’s victory shocked the country.
The difference is that there is no underlying national support for bloated state budgets, unlike the genuine national revulsion at Obamacare which led to Brown’s victory.
If left to its own devices, the recall efforts against Republicans in Wisconsin would fail miserably; but things are not left to their own devices, as a victory in Wisconsin may be the national unions’ last chance to resurrect control over state budgets.
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