Finally some good news: 1-0 in Wisconsin

State Senator Dave Hansen in rally in Madison last March (AP photo).

The first of nine recall elections took place in Wisconsin yesterday. The Democrats were playing defensive on this one, but State Senator Dave Hansen defeated Republican recall organizer David VanderLeest, and it wasn’t even close. Hansen (D-Green Bay) won by a 2-1 margin.

There will be 8 more recall elections this summer: 2 more Democrats and 6 Republicans. If the Democrats pick up a net 3 seats (in other words win 5 of the next 8 elections), the Republicans will lose control of the legislature.

VanderLeest, the article notes, was a less than ideal candidate having a misdemeanor criminal record. I had an elementary school teacher who used to regularly say: “You should have thought of that before.” VanderLeest attributes the trouncing to his lack of money. (A Republican with an underfunded campaign! Even the plutocrats didn’t want to touch this guy.)

I wonder if any Democrat on Capitol Hill or, especially, Pennsylvania Avenue, was watching. This Democrat won (handily) by standing up for some of the traditional values of the New Deal coalition. It was not won by being a Republican Lite or trying to outflank the Republicans by moving ever so slightly to their left.

By why should our national Democrats listen? They have already determined that progressive income taxes, collective bargaining rights, narrowing income and wealth disparity, and the public good are all so Twenthieth Century. They have a new ideological model. It’s similar to the thinking of Calvin Coolidge.  And, perhaps not so coincidentally, he was also a dashing rock star of a President.

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