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Wisconsin Dems Angered By Lack of Support for Recall From DNC

It’s more than a little unnerving that, at a time when Wisconsin Democrats could be talking about Scott Walker’s failed jobs record or his assault on working people, they’re spending time trying to pass the blame for potential failure onto the state and national parties.

Top Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the national party — and the Democratic National Committee in particular — for refusing their request for a major investment in the battle to recall Scott Walker, I’m told […]

“We are frustrated by the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association,” a top Wisconsin Democratic Party official tells me. “Scott Walker has the full support and backing of the Republican Party and all its tentacles. We are not getting similar support.”

“Considering that Scott Walker has already spent $30 million and we’re even in the polls, this is a winnable race,” the Wisconsin Dem continues. “We can get outspent two to one or five to one. We can’t get spent 20 to one.”

Specifically, the Wisconsin Dems wanted $500,000 for a field operation, which the DNC stonewalled. Apparently, after this post went up, the party confined its ire to the DNC, because the DGA “has already committed more to the recall fight than they’ve ever committed to a Wisconsin gubernatorial election in recent history.”

Should the DNC pony up some money to beat Walker? Sure. The disparity in cash between Tom Barrett and Walker is palpable, too, and labor will not be able to make up the whole difference on their own.

At the same time, this strikes me as an unhealthy amount of strategizing about what happens AFTER the recall rather than what happens before. It just feels like the finger-pointing has come early. Perhaps some Wisconsin Dems have looked at some numbers and believe they cannot beat Walker, or perhaps they see a flood of money and are just getting queasy. My personal view is that the money matters more on the ground, as there is high recognition of the race and very few persuadables, regardless of how much mud you sling on TV.

It’s also an election year, and to think that you’d get anything from the stone wall that is the Obama-controlled DNC is just fantasy. You may think that’s a mistake, but that won’t change reality.

Moreover, if I had confidence that something good would be done with the money I might get more bent out of shape over this. The recall has drifted from its original intent, no longer being about a Governor who tried to drive a wedge through the state and assault workers. This message muddling can be viewed as a result of state party involvement. None of that might matter if they get intensity high enough to kick out Walker and the resources to capitalize on it. But the message problems feed directly into that intensity.

Overall, the Wisconsin Dems need to put their heads down and figure out why an extremist Governor pushing unpopular policies might end up beating them in three weeks, rather than crying sour grapes at the DNC.

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David Dayen

David Dayen