Looks like we’d all better rally to help Wisconsin elect Tom Barrett.
Polling shows Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker with a narrow lead over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett ahead of the June 5 recall election. Walker infuriated Democrats and labor organizations weeks after taking office in 2011 by driving a measure through the Republican-led legislature to curb the collective bargaining powers of public-sector unions.
Walker holds a hefty financial advantage over Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor. Barrett already lost to Walker in November 2010, and came up short in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, when he was a congressman.
Did political foes of Scott Walker make a bad bet on the recall? And is Barrett a strong candidate or damaged goods?
It is always imperative to challenge injustice, so taking on Walker is more than worthwhile. And there is plenty of time between now and June 5 for Barrett to marshal the votes to prevail over Walker, who has infuriated a broad based coalition of constituencies.
But this race illustrates the weakness of the classic progressive defensive organizing strength. Winning a long slog political race requires more than whipping up anger. To overcome the disastrous effects of policies like Walker’s, we need much more strategic action and less reaction, more asserting our values and less re-framing to please pollsters, more bold agenda and less fine talk, more hardcore organizing from a place of power and vision and less short-term mobilizing from a place of fear, more fighting forward to win and no more merely fighting back to keep from losing yet more.