Wisconsin's political earthquake
Penny Lee, Thomas Basile and Tom Bevan on how the state is reacting to the recall election outcome
- Duration 20:35
- Date Jun 6, 2012
Penny Lee, Thomas Basile and Tom Bevan on how the state is reacting to the recall election outcome
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I don't -- my panel right now we found that the deal is the former executive director of the New York the Republican Party here and -- great to see you as always we loved having you on.
And Kenny -- a former senior advisor to senator Harry Reid welcome pregnancy -- disease so.
You know dancing around -- -- This -- that but anyway.
What do you think about this initiative in the fact that people are really the grassroots movement -- -- Move forward and take this issue on their own and -- -- -- -- -- At least in fact report and it is something that the Republican Party excels that and that is -- ballot initiatives out there to try to divide the electorate and that's exactly what just happened North Carolina recently when they put this.
-- she -- the ballot there in missing from that happening in Ireland.
Anything they can do to kind of pull away supporters but we from the from the Democrats are friends who traditionally -- more supportive.
Same sex marriages.
Anything he conceded to buy electric they are going to do it in the oftentimes successfully do -- on ballot initiatives.
Well I think.
You know this is where you see the the president's decision to.
Make this political decision to come out.
And and and support gay marriage is gonna be a catalyst for.
A number of these movements around around the country and in particular in swing states -- Maryland isn't exactly swings right exactly exactly whose state this could have.
-- a real impact on.
On turnout in in places potentially like like like Iowa North Carolina and and others so.
But you know thinking do you think that the White House is thinking boy we should.
Have waited on this -- -- -- it -- that opening a pandora's box I mean you have a I thank you Europe put in a box that they had to get help right.
Yeah me multiple statements by various vice presidents and or as secretaries the in the beginning frustration but the president really -- -- boxing -- and is he admitted he had already evolved on this issue he was -- -- be coming out there was going to be a -- real fight on the platform committee at the Democratic Convention over this issue so.
When he did it was it was just a matter -- -- you have to do it now or into the timing is everything I mean come on you know we do what you just said the Republican Party is really good at getting.
The signatures and getting people -- mobile in the gym and point out that did -- they will come out to vote on this issue the turnout will be -- just because that's on the ballot.
Postal and it's not about dividing an electorate this is a legitimate.
Very legal piece that piece or way to it to affect the law in a particular state and Democrats do it.
And Republicans do it as well and it's and and this is part of the process it's.
You know if you can't get something through the legislature people would -- in the the ability to to mobilize and that's what it's supposed to be about -- what the electorate are what the electorate.
He wants you can't -- -- -- is -- -- by legislation all the time now you know but.
But he but it -- to disagree we saw this in North Carolina they understand that there are split within the Democratic Party between African Americans traditionally.
-- especially on the churches in and ministers have opposed it in so they're trying to find any wedge issue right now that divides his feet from the Democratic Party -- The overall General Electric -- an electric so.
You know it's not surprising but it is the right as citizens to petition and be able to put forth these ballots -- they can you know gather enough signatures that is the beauty of our democracy.
Speaking of grassroots movement a big political thunderbolt.
Last night as we witnessed what happened in Wisconsin I tell you that's.
Unbelievable and fascinating at the same time how it speaks to the larger issues of how this may impact the presidential contest.
Let let me first get your reaction to how you see -- -- events as they played out.
You know it it and it was a very hotly contested and a lot of money I think 62 million was spent on this doesn't answer -- -- that has to go into -- -- these things you know I prefer to see it spent a little bit more productive ways than just.
You know throwing negative ads up on -- on the television screen.
You recounts are -- Even knew all the polling -- only 27% of -- believe that we call with the right.
Thing to do that they easily allow elections to take care of you disagree with that that it might had a -- -- in the matters of impeachment or ethical violations should you actually were also.
-- -- me support going to just the whole notion it was interesting to see.
You know coming out of the some of those exit polls that.
Even though people think that people didn't necessarily agree they were so that a vote for Obama is you know that coming -- that point what -- you make it that it holds the fact that the year that.
The president to leave in that regard obviously Wisconsin's been.
A blue state or.
Many years and absolutely you know we I don't think that Republicans expect it to automatically.
Turn on a dime them out this the resultant.
With the governor.
We're talking about grassroots and talking about the -- -- this was this was.
And issues that.
That split the state in two and it was driven by a very small minority of union bosses and a lot of out of state union money that actually helped fuel.
This recall effort most of most of most Wisconsin's were against spending the eighteen million dollars in going through all of this.
But but you have these public employee union bosses who came in from from Washington other places and they.
Funded the the 900000 signatures and and and the recall effort so it it has been.
Unfortunate because here we're sitting here talking about recalling a governor who ran for office he said this is what I'm going to do we've got a three point six billion dollar budget gap.
I don't want to raise taxes to close that budget gap.
And he did what he said he was going to do and the the state is performing better economically as as a result of these reforms and yet.
We have a very small group of people with deep pockets who have turned the state into into a state.
The chaos of -- -- over the last year.
Benefits and I'm gonna bring in Tom Bevan who is -- -- co-founder and CEO Rupert politics dot com and he's joining us now from Chicago great to see you thank you for joining us today and happy -- -- joining us on this discussion as we you know.
Go through what happened last night in Wisconsin obviously a political earthquake there in many ways what was your reaction.
Well yeah I think.
It it was a significant vote on a number of levels is no question about it I think it.
In the end that the public polling data but I give a plug for room for politics.
I was saying that.
Saying that this was a lot closer than it was our final average candidate six point seven and it upon -- was -- six point nine says the polls that it just about right despite the fact that.
It a lot of people were saying it com there was saying my internal polls had us tied in there was a lot -- -- -- surging at the end.
It turned out to not -- closes as it was made out to be.
By a lot of folks in the press that against one of the reasons that -- -- President Obama.
Decided to stay away which I think in the end was the right move for him.
Well -- read putts at that point -- Do you think it wasn't right -- for the president because there are a lot of the folks in part of the base who are really upset.
Saying that he should have done more than tweet about his support for the democratic candidate there and you know climb further calculations do you think that this is.
Going to be taken by the White House is something that -- -- missed a big opportunity.
I don't think that they would it change the outcome and what they did do is woods with -- the troops on the ground which is exactly what they need to be doing another thing coming in for one big rally that the president was known for.
And or try to raise some more money out of there so I think that it was the right strategy on and on behalf of the president's team.
Putting the necessary resources and -- and would in the social media aspects and putting the organizers -- about that was the most important thing.
You know it's unfortunate that it's did require so many resources I would agree -- that.
You know I think some of the union folks jumped the gun on this and not allowing for regular order and as as elections to go forth.
To be able to recall this as president mean they had -- you know when the -- came down over the collective bargaining they had momentum on their citing people frustrated with his governor days is numbers weren't.
But -- low but -- Having you know but they just went for too much but let me ask you this but because -- some other forms of different places you mentioned have shown results in positive results had had not happened.
We -- of Manhattan probably having a different discussion.
Right now having a different outcome -- the fact of the matter is that now as a result of this.
Of this very public union overreach you know the public employee unions are.
Responsible for trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations that every American taxpayer is now has to foot the bill for.
Now you've got a situation where -- -- those exit polls yesterday.
Between four and five in ten.
C public employee unions as a negative.
Force within their state and that's that's unfortunate for for for their own for their own cause.
Something else -- was brought this about the grassroots and yes the the the Democrats.
The unions did.
Put a lot of time money and resources into the ground game but it's been very it's very clear by the outcome.
That the frustrated taxpayer in Wisconsin.
Who doesn't want to be the majority footing the bill for a very small minority in the Cadillac benefits that they've received for very long time.
Those people -- were far more energized and came out in record -- Achievement and as far as -- -- -- fairness to get it feels wanna see if you're missing and that the reason why the he went after the public unions and and going after the benefit was because he continued to give the tax cuts for the -- wealthiest in the state and so there is gonna be appointed and day of reckoning I think.
On the fairness issue and that's going to be you know.
That will be what his reelection which led lighting how to get it on this for second time what -- you -- curious response to this what that would these folks saying here about.
You know that's dividing this and about the inequities.
Ultimately -- listen I I.
You know it is the election Wisconsin Scott Walker's -- got a lot of attention last night and rightly so it was a very high profile pitched battle both sides going all out but that.
But the votes in California actually were more interesting and perhaps more instructive.
You have voters in San Diego and San Jose ballot initiatives to curb.
Public sector union pensions and they passed overwhelmingly 6567%.
Of the vote.
In the you know among these communities in California is out here in Illinois we're based in Chicago you know -- our state legislature was grappling with the you know.
At ten billion.
On pension crisis -- unfunded pension crisis here.
They they haven't been able to come to any conclusions but it just goes to point out that this is a problem that's not unique to Wisconsin and it's it's it it's a national problem is happening in in.
Municipalities and states all across the country.
And and so that's why I think this -- is significant because walker.
Has been able to get his budget situation under control.
-- kind of deliver on what he said he was gonna do and that might you know other other.
Executives around the country Democrats and Republicans may take their cues from what's.
I'm going on we'll post up my perception being -- perception often defines the reality unfortunately.
Unfortunately for debating what side you're on but given the fact that he is the first -- governor in this country ever to be you know and -- you need to beat the recall -- I think this kind of state and it's very telling about.
The hearts and minds of people are right this moment and if you dissect some of these exit polls and what is on people's minds -- You have to understand people who clearly very frustrated -- frustrated across the border rightfully so and I'm not here to defend what the unions' contracts -- I mean that women whenever for governor Rendell.
Democratic governor in the state of Pennsylvania.
We went in -- is not not a scalpel but we had to go in with a sledgehammer to you know whenever they just -- -- up our unions and their contracts in which we did.
There's a way to do when you don't have to deny the rights for collective bargaining I think that's what people were most of settlement philosophical side and that's what they'll see going forward.
But there is going to be a big debate how our resource is being spent and is it right to have.
28 day holidays including Flag Day you know is that are proper way is -- he's debates are gonna happen and they should happen.
It's about it's about fairness though it's about equity and I think that what the people in Wisconsin a lot of people across the country have seen.
Is they are paying into their pensions they are paying their health care and yet.
These public employees.
Make more money and they get more benefits and they contribute less to those benefits and who's paying for the taxpayer is paying for it.
And we are gonna see varying degrees of this type of reform.
All across the country and it's going to be good for America it's not about breaking unions it's about it is about fairness it is about how do we solve a very real.
Fiscal crisis that's.
And that fact -- the fact that -- very heavily involved in the political process and -- this upcoming presidential contest that Tom how do you see labor.
Regrouping here at going forward where they're going to be -- debates and on the states.
Yeah -- know it's a good question I mean I think in Wisconsin particular mean.
They've been at war for the better part of two years I think it's inevitable that whichever side was gonna lose this battle will be demoralized.
And he'll be president Obama's job to try and re -- us troops for November.
In the medium and long term -- I mean public sector unions are a a big part of the democratic coalition made fun -- a lot of the you know their -- -- a lot of the political dollars that help Democrats cross country.
They are the foot soldiers in a lot of respects and knock on doors make the phone calls so to the extent that that.
What happened in Wisconsin weekends or damages public sector union their there they're poll.
They're influence I think it it could adversely affected Democratic Party in in future cycles music -- he is.
It doesn't mean you know to.
To put in taken reunion resources.
From the presidential obviously would be poured a lot of resource and and it -- -- not -- -- -- have limitless funds -- out of anger within the Democratic Party though about the way this was handled I mean given -- that there is absolutely no disagreement there are people that again said that they should just waited days he was going to be up for reelection in two point working are now worried about -- This US senate race that has been -- there in -- than any backlash on that.
I think that it's often hard to take a local regional racing -- translate that into -- into the presidential race and we've seen many cents.
You know governor the same party wins by -- point the -- on the presently expect when he says it's hard to make that analogy but people are said they thought that he was an overreach.
They thought that he was it was too expensive and -- it was untimely.
At the same time you also have those in between the union movement that apps and we felt that they needed to.
Stand -- -- zero.
To protect their right to collectively bargain and if if Wisconsin falls and they are worried about the ripple effect in the domino effects -- they felt like they had no other choice but to defend the right to collectively bargain.
It cut time -- morning on this part of the -- Work I've -- looking at some of the exit polls where people are still saying that they would still vote for the president community believed in that.
And when asked questions.
Who would you vote for the presidential.
Leads at this moment.
Even though they were.
Not war would be the recall itself so how do you read that.
Well I think you know this I suppose the first wave of them only at least were sort of terribly off base and -- I am not sure that the president's team want to go -- citing exit polls.
-- and look some of that was of course -- world did that a certain sector of the electorate who maybe weren't in favor of Scott Walker necessarily but we're against that the -- Processor the recall -- -- think it was fair or a good use of resources so there's that.
But even if you grant the president.
You know 53% in Wisconsin I think is what that what the number was.
That's still 3% below where he ran there in 2008.
And and if that is true that do you know if that's true across the rest of the country that the president's running -- -- three point behind where he was running.
Then you know I think that would should very much concerned.
You know she Obama's team here in Chicago and this is just one point time obviously -- still got a few months the election but.
But the I think I think Romney's team is definitely going to be -- was -- and -- any records data about what -- Romney's team really go in there now for the kill as a citizen.
To make you know taking great advantage of this opportunity which they are -- -- -- -- season momenta.
They're going to seize the momentum but they're also probably going to be.
Going to be watching.
The president twist in the wind here Thomas correct about this he's going to have to try and re energize.
This very important traditional and deep pocketed democratic constituency.
So but the question is how does he do that.
Come out in favor.
Of some things that is is losing grassroots support amongst the average taxpayer particularly among independent voters that the president needs to win.
Now -- the conservatives.
We're Smart what they would be doing right now is looking at.
A four or five other states where they can start to dump money and high dollar donors start dumping money and because frankly these national unions who come in and try and save the day for the local folks don't have enough -- -- to defend all of that territory at the same time.
And so we're just at the beginning to see the fallout here and how this is gonna impact not only the.
I know I am I can't say I have this.
Like you know five yourself to -- -- even say they're seeing if you want to react.
I I was just gonna say I am I am not going to be you know crime buckets are playing a little uproar -- lack of resources when you have cross roads and other groups that are out there that are prepared to spend one billion dollars.
Where they're beyond matter on the ground so I I gotta say I know it's.
It's great to save the big bosses of the Democratic Party come in swoop in Havel was great grounded the -- of the matter is there is.
Plenty of money way too much money and in Wisconsin Democrats got -- By two to one.
But the interesting thing here and the advantage that the unions have and we've both worked at the state level so we've seen it very very clearly during elections.
It's not about television commercials it's about boots on the ground and I'm a big believer that boots on the ground help win elections.
And they bus people in from all over you know from all over when they've got something that they've got a policy issue that they that's what it wants so much and -- -- that policy.
Well -- when you frustrate enough Americans with -- unemployment and and and hide debt and runaway spending.
You're you're going to -- that kind of that kind of grassroots activity on this on the democratic side and we saw -- uptake of that.
On the more fiscally conservative side with the Tea Party and I agree I just and I still felt it at that moment -- And I come.
I just wanna say it is kind of -- -- that -- despite all of the money spent in Wisconsin and all the gnashing of teeth there.
That this in this race was basically carbon copy appoint Tammy walker you know he lost yeah how -- only one -- overwhelmingly.
The only difference really was that turnout was a little bit higher it was two point one million I think and when he ten it was about 2.4.
Last night which is still lower than the 2008 level but.
Despite all that money spent electric didn't really move that much at all.
You get the same outcome that you -- twice and so just uninteresting -- it to the discussion about all the outside dollars that were flowing in Wisconsin to try and influence people there.
Indeed we got a couple seconds left going forward Kenny what do you really looking for it over the next couple weeks in terms of the sifting through this fall out and eat it if they regions to see where the union movement because it -- what state with -- where they are what resources they do have left.
Com and kind of what direction in what message they -- to be delivering they suffered a defeating loss last night and it has put them on their backs.
They're back pieces so what is it the message that they want to project going forward and how it is that they are gonna be.
Positive force for the creation of job.
You can't I think -- we have to see how the president's going to respond to this how this team is.
But also how these unions are now going to react when it comes time to to negotiate.
Are they going to stand firm and say no we're not going to contribute anymore the way they didn't Wisconsin we're not going to put into the -- we're not gonna put contribute more to health care.
And let the tax -- be damned.
Which is essentially the approach that was taken Wisconsin.
That's a non starter I think that Wisconsin shows us that so hopefully we'll see some movement in the attitude of entitlement that we've seen amongst the public employees -- -- -- -- politics indeed and that never dull moment it's been something to really favored to watch and I found it very very very interesting penny can't.
And top of -- really.
Appreciate you joining us from Chicago today thank you for weighing in with your -- we always appreciate it.
You bet thank you.