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Monthly Archives: May 2012

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Economic Statistics for 17 May 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Philadelphia Fed Survey shows a dramatic slowdown in that district, with the headline index falling from 8.5 to -5.8. Delivery times, inventory, and unfilled orders all fell steeply, as did the 6-month confidence assessment. Input costs were little changed and prices received were actually contracting, a sign of decreasing demand.

Initial claims are unchanged this week from last week’s revised 370,000. The 4-week moving average fell to 375,000 from last week’s 379,750.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -43.6, its lowest level since January, as pessimism about personal finances and spending increased.

E-Commerce Retail Sales rose 3.1% in the 1st quarter, from 4th Quarter 2011. Year on year sales rose 15.1%. Online sales made up 4.9% of total retail sales.

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, designed to predict economic activity over the next 6 months, declined by -0.1%. Building permits, jobless claims, and consumer expectations were the big negatives in the report.

Dale Franks
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Salute to the Troops: And One-Eyed Jacks …

Thought I’d share this with you folks.  I’m in Las Vegas as a part of a group of bloggers invited to blog about a great program called Salute to the Troops where 70 wounded warriors and their guests are flown to Vegas, all expenses paid, put up at one of the plushest properties there (the Palazzo) and treated to 3 days and nights of VIP treatment.  On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 12.  It has been a blast so far.


The Palazzo had a Blackjack tournament yesterday for those of our group that signed up.  It ended up being a 3 table affair with some very keen competition.  The grand prize wasn’t chips, but instead round trip airfare for 2 from Southwest Airlines and free accommodations at the Palazzo for the winner and his guest to do this all over again.

The players battled it out over the three tables and you could hear the cheers and groans as lady luck had her way with all.  But it all came down to the championship table and the final 15 hands.  Here’s how the championship table looked as they began.


If you look to the far right, the guy counting his chips and plotting his strategy is Marine Corps Sgt. Ken Fischer. Sgt. Fischer built a nice lead early and then continued to increase it throughout the 15 hands with some aggressive betting. But it was tight at the end, and all the players went for it on the final hand with the dealer cooperating and busting (to cheers all around). Sgt. Fischer prevailed with over $10,000 in total chips.

While they were playing I got to talk with some of the other dealers and managers who were there and supported the tournament.  Almost all were veterans.  So while they players played, we swapped stories about C-Rats, P-38s and the usual stuff military folks like to reminisce about.

Most impressive, at least to me though, was how into the “Support the Troops” program they were.  This wasn’t just some extra duty to them, but something they felt privileged to be a part of.  I spoke with one of the dealers who’d served in the National Guard with the 42nd Division in NY before moving to Las Vegas.  As we spoke and laughed about our most memorable C-Ration meals of the past, she pulled out her dog tags and held up, you guessed it, a P-38.  Loved it.

That evening we had a great dinner at Lagasse Stadium (the ultimate man cave).  It’s a sports book, with fabulous food (yup, that Lagasse as in Emeril) and more flat screen TVs than Korea outputs in a year.  Shrimp the size of your fist (yeah, your fist. I swear they were bordering on small lobster size.), roast beef – like I said, a guys place.

We had dinner on a patio which was awesome.  It was 97 degrees out, but somehow the hotel kept it cool and pleasant.  Treasure Island is across the street and they have a live pirate show every hour.  So we’d all be enjoying our feast and fellowship and suddenly we’d hear the pirates attacking the fort across the street.  Only in Vegas.

Anyway, here’s Sgt. Fischer as he received his prize for the Blackjack win:


There are other bloggers and some special guests here as well.  So I’ll give you a little pop quiz.  Take a look at the next picture, take a look at the glass in his hand and tell me who it is:


Yes that’s Stephen Green, aka “Vodka Pundit”, originator of drunk blogging and his incredible wife, Melissa.  Green is also covering the event for PJ Media.

And finally, someone who I’ve always wanted to meet but figured I’d never have the opportunity. I watched and cheered him on for years.  Hint: I’m from Atlanta and this has to do with baseball.  Pay no attention to the ugly guy on the left (that’d be me), tell me who the guy on the right is:


Yes friends, that’s future Hall of Fame pitcher, Greg “Mad Dog” Maddux.  He quietly took a night to come out and hang with everyone one and salute the troops.  It was funny, most of us didn’t even know he was with the group until he was announced and then a line literally formed to meet him.  Gracious and funny, he took pictures with everyone.  Thanks, Greg.

And again thanks to everyone who is making this amazing week possible.  I asked one soldier, while we were walking to dinner, what he thought of all this.  He sort of smiled and said, “you know, we’ve been treated to some great things while I’ve been at BAMC, but this just  blows everything away”.

There ya go …


Twitter: @McQandO

How do you know Obama’s gay marriage declaration was for political purposes only?

Disclaimer – this post isn’t about whether or not you support gay marriage.  I don’t care.  The post is to discuss the politics of the declaration by President Obama and to make a point.  If you want to rant about the pros or cons of gay marriage, go somewhere else.

That said, how do you know it was done explicitly for political purposes?

Timing for one.  The word was out that big donors who happened to be gay were withholding big bucks.  Declare. Problem solved.

Additionally – and this is no surprise – the bonus of declaring not only freed up that money (which apparently isn’t as easy to raise this time around) but it offered another distraction from the economy, the debt and the dismal Obama record.  Every day that the economy, debt and the rest of his record isn’t being discussed is a good day for Obama.

But here’s the real reason you know it was all for political gain and he plans to do absolutely nothing about it in reality:

Strange, too, that Obama declared gay marriage a civil right, but insisted it should be left to the states. His political allies are scratching their heads over that one — it’s a civil right or it’s not — but the media haven’t pursued that incoherent angle either.

That’s right, he declares it a “civil right” but then shunts it off to the states to “decide”.  Really? Obviously we can argue all day about whether or not it is a civil right, but that’s irrelevant to the point here.  He declared it a civil right.

And he also said that what we call ‘civil rights’ should be decided at the state level. 

“No civil rights for you!”

Uh, okay.

George Wallace and Orville  Faubus were within their rights as the heads of their states to deny blacks their “civil rights” if that’s what the people of their state wanted?

We all know the answer to that.

So this is how our resident “Constitutional Scholar” makes some political hay without any intention of actually doing anything to back up his declaration (even while offering an incoherent reason that should be the talk of the media … uh, yeah, that’ll happen).




As worthless a gesture as Syria signing the UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

But politically, it’s worth big dollars just when he needs big dollars.



Twitter: @McQandO

Economic Statistics for 16 May 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Fed reports industrial production rose 1.1% in April, while capacity utilization increased to 79.2%.

A dip in mortgage rates is causing an increase in refinance applications. MBA reports applications rose 9.2%, with purchases down -2.4%, but refinance applications up 13%.

Housing starts rose 2.6% in April, erasing March’s decline of -2.6%, coming in at a 717,000 annual rate. Building permits were at a 715,000 annual rate.

Dale Franks
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Cell phone jamming: violation of civil rights or good law enforcement tactic?

I come down on the side of the former – a violation of my civil rights.  When does the government unilaterally get to decide  if I’m able to talk to someone (or communicate by other means, such as Twitter) on a device I’ve contracted with a private company and for which they provide service?  When it sees a compelling public safety risk. 

And what would define that public safety risk?    Well that’s kind of up in the air.  Take the expected riots in Chicago for the NATO summit.

Apparently that qualifies

According to the Daily Beast, a little known Bush era regulation gives law enforcement the ability to jam cell phones … you know like they did in Tehran when the people attempted to stand up to their government.  Or Syria?

Not only do the FBI and Secret Service have standing authority to jam signals, but they along with state and local authorities can also push for the shutdown of cell towers, thanks to a little-known legacy of the Bush administration: “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303," which lays out the nation’s official “Emergency Wireless Protocols.”

The protocols were developed after the 2005 London bombings in a process that calls to mind an M.C. Escher work. First, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) formed a task force— composed of anonymous government officials and executives from Cingular, Microsoft, Motorola, Sprint, and Verizon—that issued a private report to President Bush. Another acronym-dragging committee, also meeting in secret, then approved the task force’s recommendations. Thus, according to NSTAC’s 2006–07 annual issue review, SOP 303 was born.

"In time of national emergency," the review says, SOP 303 gives “State Homeland Security Advisors, their designees, or representatives of the DHS Homeland Security Operations Center” the power to call for “the termination of private wireless network connections… within an entire metropolitan area.” The decision is subject to review by the National Coordinating Center, a government-industry group responsible for the actual mechanics of the shutdown. The NCC is supposed to “authenticate” the shutdown via “a series of questions.” But SOP 303 does not specify, at least not publicly, what would constitute a “national emergency,” or what questions the NCC then asks “to determine if the shutdown is a necessary action.”

“[T]he termination of private wireless network connections …”.  That should send a chill up your spine.  This is the realm of dictatorship. 

What if I have nothing to do with whatever the disturbance in the area might be?  What if I have an emergency?  What if I can’t get to a land line?  Who in the hell are these people to deny me access to a private service I pay for and they don’t?

And all for their convenience, because that’s the point.  Protesters use wireless services and social media like Twitter to organize.

Instead of Law Enforcement learning to monitor that and react sufficiently well to blunt its effect, they prefer to use the sledge hammer approach and shut down service to all in an area.

I have a contract with a provider.  That provider agrees to provide me uninterrupted service for payment.  I pay.  Government decides to void that contract at its own whim and possibly endanger my life and safety by doing so.

Oh, and here’s a little ground truth:

“It’s the nature of law enforcement to push the envelope,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York City police instructor and professor of police practice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s act first and litigate second.”

Understatement of the year.  For instance:

While it’s against the law for individuals or nongovernmental organizations to sell or use jammers, the devices are easily found online. The U.S. military was among the first to use communications shutdowns, and local government demand for the technology has been building for years, even as the legal rules for its use have remained ill-defined. Prison wardens want to snuff out the use of smuggled cellphones by inmates; school officials hope to disable students’ phones; the National Transportation Safety Board wants to disable all “portable electronic devices within reach of the driver” while cars are in motion.

I’m sure you can dream up many more rights abusing nanny state scenarios (yeah, jamming illegal prison cell phones actually seems legit) than those listed.  Imagine a state banning cell phone use in cars and installing jammers along all major highways.  Imagine a car wreck with injuries.  Imagine the law suits to follow.

For once the ACLU and I are on the same side:

The ACLU, Verizon, and a coalition of public-interest groups noted that cellphone blackouts would, with few exceptions, violate the Constitution and federal communication law, as well as threaten public safety by eliminating the means to share vital information or call 911.


Now other efforts to cut through the legal haze have emerged. In response to the wireless shutdown in San Francisco last summer, California State Sen. Alex Padilla introduced what would be a first-of-its-kind bill stipulating that to cut off service a judge must sign off that the move is necessary to avert “significant dangers to public health, safety or welfare.” If approved, the bill, which has the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, could become the gold standard for state policy. San Francisco transit officials codified their own policy, which remains quite vague, after the public backlash to their shutdown. It calls for “strong evidence” of dangerous and unlawful activity, a belief that an interruption will “substantially reduce the likelihood of such an activity” and that the interruptions are “narrowly tailored.”

No.  That agrees to the premise that government should have that power and then tries to define it “narrowly”.  I don’t agree with the premise of government’s right to do this.  If they want to talk about an exceptional power in time of a declared National Emergency, I’m willing to listen.  But we all know how wide “narrowly” becomes when law enforcement is given an ability to use such a power.  They’ll use it for their convenience, screw your rights.


Twitter: @McQandO

Things that should be obvious

Reality is a great test of belief. Sometimes, the things you believe are confirmed by experience. Sometimes they aren’t. And sometimes, reality is so at odds with what people believe, they have to be complete dolts to keep believing it. But, I constantly see people who believe things that simply can’t be true, and it bothers me.

Ultimately, reality tells you whether what you believe is true or not. And if reality conflicts with what you believe, it isn’t reality that’s got it wrong.

The Stimulus Cheerleaders

Basically, it’s the unreconstructed Keynesian crowd. Popularly led by Paul Krugman—who is a Nobel Laureate economist—they continue to argue that the problem with the economy is that the government simply didn’t spend enough to properly stimulate the economy.

There’s so much wrong with that, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, let’s accept that in a range of circumstances, it actually is true that the government can stimulate the economy via deficit spending. As long as there’s not too much debt in the economy as a whole, you can prime the economic pump through deficit spending, especially if you have a fiat currency. We’ve done it lots of times since WWII.

So, up to a point, even if you have a credit bubble that collapses, you can re-inflate it by essentially transferring that debt to the Government via deficit spending.

Up to a point.

As I’ve mentioned previously, the newest ECB research indicates that, in developed economies, once you reach a government debt load of about 100% GDP, it begins to drag on the economy, reducing economic growth by about 1% annually. So, what should be 3% annual GDP growth becomes 2%. And as the debt gets bigger, the drag gets bigger, faster.

Now, ever since Reagan and Congress began serious, constant deficit spending in the 80s, there have been worries that the government debt would begin to crown out private markets, and slow the economy. But it never happened.

Well, until now, as we crossed that 1:1 GDP to debt ratio.

Moreover, the idea that we haven’t spent enough to stimulate the economy is simply farcical. In 2008, the total national debt was less than $10 trillion. Now it’s over $16 trillion. So no matter whether or not we spent X amount of money marked "stimulus", we’ve spent so much money that we’ve added more than $6 Trillion in debt in just 4 years. That’s a lot of stimulus.

Arguing that we needed to spend more is…counterintuitive. If $6+ trillion won’t do it, then it probably can’t be done.

Besides, we already learned there was a fundamental problem with Keynesian economics when we had stagflation in the ’70s, which was supposedly impossible.

The Greeks

Here’s the thing about looting the system. Once you’ve looted it…it’s been looted. The Greeks seem utterly incapable of understanding that the system can’t continue to dole out benefits once you’ve looted it. It’s not the Germans that are making life difficult for the Greeks, by refusing to give them more money. It’s the Greeks that have made life difficult for themselves by spending themselves into a 1.28:1 Debt to GDP ratio.

Austerity, of course, isn’t pleasant—at least not the way they’ve implemented it. What they needed was public sector austerity, i.e., spending cuts, not private sector austerity, i.e., tax increases. Instead, they got both. What they needed were massive spending cuts, and debt repayment.

But, of course, in a country where practically every cop, teacher, and fireman is a unionized employee of the state, and half of the private citizens get some sort of cushy government benefit payment, much public sector austerity was a political non-starter. So they gave themselves a little public austerity and a lot of private austerity…and the economy collapsed. I mean, no matter what they did, they were in for a tough time, but they chose the most destructive path possible, then blamed it on the Germans.

The thing is, the Germans are historically…impatient with foreigners that they find troublesome. But the Greeks have decided that, having looted their economy completely, it’s the Germans’ fault somehow. The Greek position is, "We want to stay in the euro without worrying about our deficits, borrow money from Germany, never pay it back, and tell anyone who questions this to go screw."

The Germans, as are their wont, are unamused.


The list of odd things Californians believe that are directly contradicted by observable reality is, of course, far to long to be described here. A representative sample, however, includes:

  • Maintaining a permanent class of illegal immigrants in modern-day helotage will not reduce employment among the minority citizenry. Giving them full access to state benefits and education will not strain the schools, medical system, or state budget.
  • California must have the strictest environmental, tax, and employment regulation possible. This will not result slower economic growth, or a business exodus to another state. Similarly, stringent environmental regulation for the benefit of small fish or birds, and significantly reducing the water available for irrigation, will have no effect on farming in the central valley, and, hence, agricultural prices paid by consumers.
  • It is completely possible to allow state employees to retire as young as 50, with an annual pension payment 85% of their highest salary, and fully meet our pension obligations, because the Dow will be at 24,000 by 2009, and 24,000,000 by 2099, thus making the latest round of pension increases perfectly sustainable through investment.
  • If we’re taxing California workers 10% of their income, and we have a $16 billion budget deficit, the problem is that we obviously aren’t taxing enough. We should, therefore, tax higher income earners much more, because they can never leave California and move to Arizona. Or Texas.

California is just Greece with movie stars.


I could go on and on, but, you probably get the point.

The problem with reality is that it doesn’t care what you believe. It just is. The longer you ignore it, the more forceful it is when it re-asserts itself. But if I could point to one thing as the worst modern problem we have today, it would be an absolute refusal to acknowledge reality, accompanied by a steadfast refusal to recognize any of the warning signals it obligingly gives before its assertion becomes horrific, rather than merely unpleasant.

If you make the decision to ride this thing down in flames, reality will be perfectly happy to let you do it.

Dale Franks
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My goodness …. this is just pitiful

I’m sometimes amazed at the depth of the narcissism this President suffers under, but this particular example has to take the cake:

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford).

Even the biographies of other Presidents aren’t sacrosanct to this guy if there’s a glimmer of political gain to be collected by inserting himself.  Examples:

  • On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+,LinkedIn, etc.
  • In a 1946 letter to the National Urban League, President Truman wrote that the government has “an obligation to see that the civil rights of every citizen are fully and equally protected.” He ended racial segregation in civil service and the armed forces in 1948. Today the Obama administration continues to strive toward upholding the civil rights of its citizens, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, allowing people of all sexual orientations to serve openly in our armed forces.
  • President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare signed (sic) into law in 1965—providing millions of elderly healthcare stability. President Obama’s historic health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, strengthens Medicare, offers eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing, and provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”
  • In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.

I’ve been hesitant to buy into the label "narcissistic personality disorder" that many attribute to this guy, but it is getting harder and harder to resist.

I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but I can read and analyze.  When I look at the symptoms, a lot of things jump out at me that ring true. 

The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. [5]380253_10150816689178583_505058582_9769341_1768045842_n (1)

In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings, which are characteristics of narcissism, are part of the normal self-development. Children are typically unable to understand the difference between their actual from ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self. After about age 8, views of the self, both positive and negative, begin to develop based on comparisons of peers & become more realistic. Two factors that cause self-view to remain unrealistic are dysfunctional interactions with parents that can be a lack or excessive attention. The child will either compensate for lack of attention or act in terms of unrealistic self-perception.[6]

The CNS, Childhood Narcissism Scale, measurements concluded that narcissistic children seek to impress others & gain admiration but do not have any interest in creating sincere friendships. CNS researchers have measured that childhood narcissism has become more prevalent in Western society: any types of activities that focus on overly praising the individual, can raise narcissistic levels. More research is needed to find the reasons that promote or protect against narcissism.

Yes, that’s a Wikipedia definition, but it conforms with most others you’ll find on the net.  Examination of the symptoms should give pause.  I’m not saying he might be the only politician with this problem or that he’d even be diagnosed with NPD. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV (although I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express before).  However, there are so many examples of similar behavior in his past that it is hard to ignore what is right in front of your eyes.  And while he may not personally do everything (this probably being an example) he has a staff which knows their President and does what he would approve.  That’s why they’re where they are.  They play into the personality and feed it.

This is the “me and I” President.  There is rarely a time he isn’t trying to praise himself, even if no one else will.  Make of all of this what you want, I’m just sayin’ …


Twitter: @McQandO

Economic Statistics for 15 May 12

The week’s economic calendar kicks off today, which also brings us the largest crop of the week’s releases.

ICSC-Goldman reports mixed retail sales, with a weekly sales decrease of -0.8%, but a sharp increase of 4.5% in the year on year rate. Meanwhile, Redbook reports a year on year retail sales increase of 3.7%, the strongest in six weeks.

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged for April, as energy prices declined. Ex-food and energy, the core rate of inflation rose 0.2%.

The government’s report of retail sales shows a 0.1% sales increase in April. The same rate holds ex-autos and ex-autos and gas.

The New York Fed reports the Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s index on general business conditions rose more than 10 points to 17.09.

March business inventories rose a bit slower than in February, rising by 0.3%. A rise in sales trimmed the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.27, making March inventories look quite healthy.

The Treasury reports net capital inflows of $36.2 billion in March on foreign purchases of $22.3 billion of US securities and $13.9 billion in sales of foreign securities.

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Wisconsin: Even the DNC knows a loser when it sees one

There’s a report out that Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the DNC for not supporting their efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker, the target of unions since he tried to curtail their power in the state, is in a runoff election with the former mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett.  This is a race the unions have made a “national election”.  They’ve poured money, time and effort into this recall election that has been unmatched in recent electoral history.  But it seems it isn’t enough.  At this point, with 3 weeks to go, Walker leads Barrett by 9 points.

Some of the strength of the base supporting Walker was evident in the primary.  Ace fills us in with some numbers:

You know those 626,000 Republicans who turned out in Wisconsin yesterday? Go higher. A LOT higher.

Big number, but if the Marquette Law poll released last Wednesday is to be believed . . . that number is actually low.

MU found that of the voters confirming they would be voting in the Democratic primary, 17% were Republicans.

We will never know the actual numbers per party since there was no exit polling.

Assuming that even HALF of that number stuck by their decision to cross over to cause some mayhem, that means that over 50,000 votes on the Democratic side were just devilish Republicans, bringing the total turnout to over 676k for our side.

If you go by the Marquette number, those "hidden Rs" swell to an additional 110k, bringing total turnout to 736,000: nearly matching Prosser’s share in 2011 for a primary.

There is no way to spin turnout Tuesday in the Democrat’s favor. . . .

Dane County gave the Democrats a massive edge in votes of about 80,000, but proportionally that did not materialize in Milwaukee, which is a big concern for anyone trying to unseat Walker. If you remember earlier discussions here at the AOSHQDD, depressed Democratic turnout in Milwaukee county relative to the rest of the state actually saved Justice Prosser. The Madison vote will show up. The pro-Walker vote will show up from the Milwaukee burbs. Will traditional Presidential-race Democrats in Wisconsin’s largest city bother for a special election, even one as hyped as this? So far, the little evidence we have points to a big fat nuh-uh.

Walker won the largest uncontested share of a primary vote for governor last night in 40 years. His base is behind him when they really didn’t need to show up at all.

If you don’t recognize the name “Prosser”, he was a Republican justice who most felt would fall to a pro-union Democrat.  But the election results most desired by the union didn’t materialize.  Prosser won.  The key graf in Ace’s analysis is the last one.  Walker was uncontested.  Yet, his base demonstrated their strength and intent.  And, if the Marquette poll is to be believed, you can add up to 17% more in June.

It looks like union effort is faltering.  How badly?  Well, they couldn’t even get their preferred candidate elected in the Democratic primary:

Kathleen Falk’s drubbing in Tuesday’s Democratic primary has some political insiders questioning the decisions, and influence, of the state’s major public labor unions.

Falk, 60, was the first Democrat to enter the recall election, announcing her candidacy even before the race was official. Major labor unions, including AFSCME and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, quickly endorsed her and then went on to spend nearly $5 million to help her win the nomination.

But on Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett — a candidate for whom the unions initially showed very little love — defeated the former Dane County executive by 24 percentage points; a margin of victory all the more startling given that he entered the race late and was outspent 5-to-1. Barrett’s victory was even more pronounced in Dane County, Falk’s backyard, where he won by 30 points.

As Jim Geraghty asks:

So if the AFSCME and the Wisconsin Education Association Council couldn’t move votes in a Democratic primary, why should we expect them to move more votes in the general election?

That’s why they’re now whining about the DNC.  My guess is if they lose, the DNC will be the fall guy, the “if but for the DNC’s failure to throw good money after bad, we’d have won” assertions.  It’s time to become a victim.  Gov. Walker has returned Wisconsin to at least a semblance of fiscal sanity with a budget surplus this year.  His program of changes is working.  The voters in Wisconsin aren’t blind or stupid.  So victimhood is about all the recall proponents have left at this point.

In a last desperate attempt to salvage the effort, Wisconsin Democrats are trying to rewrite a little history:

“Scott Walker has made this a national election,” the Wisconsin Dem tells me. “If he wins, he will turn his victory into a national referendum on his ideas about the middle class. It will hurt Democrats nationally. The fact that [national Dems] are sitting on their hands now is so frustrating. The whole ticket stands to lose.”

Scott Walker had nothing to do with initiating a recall election, throwing collective temper tantrums in the state capitol or bussing in union members (and buckets of money) in from out of state.  Democrats and unions did.  It is they who have been appealing nationally.  It is they who have elevated the Wisconsin recall election a “national election”.  And, to this point, it is they who are fumbling the ball.

But they’re right about one thing.  Thanks to them, it has been turned into a national referendum of the sort they don’t want to lose.  And, unfortunately for them, at this point, they are.



Twitter: @McQandO

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