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Nichols Note: 12 days to Wisconsin recall

With 12 days left before the recall election in Wisconsin, we check in with John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation and author of  Uprising:
Nichols Note: 12 days to Wisconsin recall
Nichols Note: 12 days to Wisconsin recall

With 12 days left before the recall election in Wisconsin, we check in with John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation and author of  Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street , for the latest news and extraordinary analysis:


Scott Walker welcomes a corporate raider to Wisconsin

  • Why is Scott Walker bringing governor's of Louisiana and South Carolina -- both southern right-to-work states that have raided Wisconsin for factories and jobs -- to campaign for him in Wisconsin's recall election?
  • Bobby Jindal, who will campaign with the embattled Wisconsin governor Thursday (for a public event and a fund-raising session that will be closed to the public), has been a leading proponent of "corporate raiding" strategies that move jobs from northern states to the south.
  • And Jindal's Louisiana has raided Wisconsin.
  • In 2009, Gardner Denver closed its manufacturing facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin -- where the company and its predecessor had been located for 70 years -- and left 366 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union members and other plant workers without jobs.
  • Where did there jobs go? Monroe, Louisiana.
  • Why? Because Louisiana state government gave away massive tax breaks and other benefits to the company.
  • "Gardner Denver said Louisiana would reimburse the company for most of the cost of moving equipment and staff to Monroe, provide yearly payroll and sales tax rebates and help the company with recruiting and training," reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2009. "The City of Monroe also plans to help with the construction of a 124,000-square-foot factory adjoining the company's plant."


Scott Walker invites a right-to-work zealot to campaign for him

  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that he does not plan at this point to promote a so-called "right-to-work"-- which would undermine the rights of private-sector unions and their members.
  • But Walker, who sponsored a right-to-work law when he was a state legislator, and who recently spoke (on video) with a wealthy donor about anti-labor initiatives, has no qualms about campaigning side-by-side with the nation's most ardent advocate of right-to-work laws.South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will campaign with Walker June 1.
  • Haley is a champion of right-to-work laws -- and a militant critic of organized labor. She says: “Unions are not needed, wanted or welcome in South Carolina."
  • The South Carolina governor recently promoted a package of "reforms" that will give South Carolina the toughest right-to-work laws in the nation.
  • And Haley wants to take right-to-work national, saying: "Barack Obama doesn't appreciate right-to-work states. Mitt Romney appreciates right-to-work states," she said after endorsing Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. "I need a partner in the White House."


DNC starts making some noise

  • Under pressure from Democrats nationwide, the Democratic National Committee sent a national fundraising email Wednesday to supporters.
  • The email asked donor to contribute to the Wisconsin recall fight against Scott Walker.
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said: "A party official said the solicitation went to "millions" of people around the country who are past supporters of the party and Obama, and said a solicitation that broad wasn't something the DNC routinely does for state candidates.
  • In the DNC blast to several million backers, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz writes: "Of all the elections we are preparing for in 2012, one of the most important ones isn't happening in November. On June 5th, the people of Wisconsin will have their chance to recall Governor Scott Walker, whose attacks on workers' and women's rights are the definition of a fireable offense. Democrats are rallying around our nominee, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and with just 14 days to go before the election, we're organizing one of the largest get-out-the-vote efforts in state history.
  • "It's up to Democrats across the country to help win this thing. Organizers and volunteers on the ground across Wisconsin are knocking on doors, talking to neighbors, and making phone calls to make sure voters know the stakes in this year's elections," continues Wasserman Schultz, who adds: "The outcome is important to anyone who supports Democratic values, no matter where you live."
  • "The DNC is fully committed to helping Mayor Barrett win next month's recall election in Wisconsin," says DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell, who says the DNC has directed $1.4 million to Wisconsin in the 2012 election cycle.
  • But most of the money came last year.
  • The primary source of money for campaigning on behalf of Barrett has been unions and their allies, not the DNC.
  • The big boost from the DNC could come in the form of a visit to Wisconsin  by BILL CLINTON.
  • Word is that the former president has been approached and that there have been tentative -- key word is "tentative" -- discussions about bringing him in next week.


 Poller coaster

  • We're likely to get at least one poll a day from here on out. On Tuesday, the Greenberg poll had the race: Walker 50, Barrett 47. A new poll from St. Norbert's College finds Walker leading 50-45 -- with margin or error of plus or minus 5 percent
  • Veteran Republican operative Mark Graul admits Walker's lead is "statistically insignificant.
  • "But," adds Graul, "it's a lead."
  • For the Walker camp, the good news is that the governor is at 50 percent.
  • For the Barrett camp, the good news is that the governor is at 50 percent and can't seem to get above that number.
  • Here's the interesting twist: Those surveyed in the St. Norbert's poll say they backed Walker  over Barrett by a 52-38 margin in 2010, so the poll actually shows movement toward Barrett.
  • Here's more:
  • 59 percent of those surveyed said public employees SHOULD have the right to collectively bargain for wages, 60 percent said public employees SHOULD have the right to collectively bargain for health and retirement benefits.
  • 44 percent of those surveyed said they were WORSE OFF financially now than a year ago. Only 28 percent said BETTER OFF.
  • Watch for several more polls by the end of the week.


Early-voting excitement 

  • As of WEDNESDAY, according to the state Government Accountability Board, "more than 90,000 absentee ballots had been issued by Wisconsin’s local election officials who track them using the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). A total of 68,000 absentee ballots were tracked in SVRS for the May 8 recall primary."
  • And there are still almost ten days to go before absentee voting/early voting is complete.


Russ Feingold on Scott Walker:

  • “The governor has a severe problem with the truth, whether it be the way he’s handling this investigation, whether it be the jobs numbers, the whole routine he had that somehow, this attack on the working people of this state was a budgetary matter, along with the budget. He has a very bad relationship with the truth overall.”


[Editor's Note: The Ed Show has featured extensive coverage of the worker revolt under Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.  Walker faces a recall election on June 5 against Democrat Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee.  John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation, has reported on the situation in Wisconsin since Walker's union-busting campaign began shortly after he took office in January 2011.  That reporting was compiled for his excellent book Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street.  John has been a frequent guest on the Ed Show, and periodically he'll be sending us more notes on the Wisconsin recall campaign as we get closer to the June 5 vote.]