Clinton makes the progressive case in Wisconsin

Updated
 

The gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin is now just four days away, and with most polls showing Gov. Scott Walker (R) with a slight edge, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) is looking for an 11th-hour boost. Former President Bill Clinton visited today in the hopes of giving him one.

The clip shows the entirety of Clinton’s speech, but Greg Sargent transcribed arguably the most important portion of the remarks:

“If you believe in an economy of shared prosperity when times are good, and shared sacrifice when they’re not, then you don’t want to break the unions. You want them at the negotiating table. And you trust them to know that arithmetic rules. Show up for Tom Barrett on Tuesday! If you want Wisconsin once again to be seen by all of America as a place of diversity, of difference of opinion, of vigorous debate, where in the end people’s objectives are to come to an agreement that will take us all forward together, you have to show up for Tom Barrett on Tuesday! …

“I can just hear it now, on Wednesday. All those people that poured all this money into Wisconsin, if you don’t show up and vote, will say, ‘See, we got them now. We’re finally going to break every union in America. We’re gonna break every government in America. We’re gonna stop worrying about the middle class. We don’t give a riff whether poor people get to work their way into it. We got our way now. We got it all. Divide and conquer works.’

“You tell them no. You tell them, Wisconsin has never been about that, never will be about that – by electing Tom Barrett governor!”

This isn’t just another campaign pitch ahead of an election; it’s about tying the Wisconsin race to a larger dynamic – Walker isn’t just a far-right ideologue; he’s also at the center of a divisive experiment in which Republicans build up an enormous financial advantage and use it to rig democracy. Indeed, Clinton spent very little time talking about Walker, and spent the bulk of his time talking about what Walker and his agenda represent.

As E.J. Dionne Jr. explained yesterday, “Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power.”

We’ll have more on the Wisconsin race, and the evident effects of Walker’s efforts, on tonight’s show.

Bill Clinton and Wisconsin

Clinton makes the progressive case in Wisconsin

Updated