Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Scott Walker and Rs outspend Barrett and Ds 2-to-1 in WI Recall

with 4 comments

Well, it’s official.  Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and various Republican Super-PACs have outspent Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and various Democratic organizations by a 2-to-1 margin according to over the past week (ending date May 16, 2012).  But considering is a pay site, and the article I am using to reference it is through the Huffington Post, I’d rather link to the latter.

The figures for the week of May 9 to May 16, 2012, officially, are these:

  1. Scott Walker and various Republican groups/SuperPACs — $216,980
  2. Tom Barrett and various Democratic groups/SuperPACs —   $87,980

As you can see, Walker and his allies are outspending Barrett, et. al., by over a 2-to-1 margin.  Which if you lived in Wisconsin, you’d know quite easily because for every ad either praising Tom Barrett or bashing Scott Walker, there’s at least six ads praising Scott Walker or (more commonly) bashing Tom Barrett.

While I haven’t seen any figures for the local state Senate race in District 21 between current Republican Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine versus former Senator John Lehman, also of Racine, the ad buys are strikingly similar.  For every six to ten pro-Wanggaard or anti-Lehman ads out there, there might be one pro-Lehman ad or one anti-Wanggaard ad (so far it’s been one or the other, not both, which shows a lack of balance with regards to ads).   The only difference between the ads thus far is that most of the anti-Lehman/pro-Wanggaard ads have aired on the radio, while the anti-Barrett/pro-Walker ads have aired on TV.

I hate negative advertising, and I hate even more that so many ads have flooded the airwaves.  Yet I condemn the Rs — all of them, including the misnamed “Wisconsin Club for Growth” (actually a Koch Brothers front group), Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, etc. — for running ads that distort both Tom Barrett and John Lehman’s records.  These ads are terribly biased, and unless you’re aware of what these men actually did, you might think they’re the political equivalent of axe murderers.  (Which they aren’t.)

For example, one anti-Lehman ad talks about how Lehman voted for “the biggest expansion in healthcare, worse than Obamacare, in Wisconsin history.”  Do you know what the vote Lehman actually took was for?  It’s for Badgercare, a state-run health plan that helps give low-income people health insurance for low or no cost.  Badgercare actually saves the state money because it allows people to go in immediately when they get sick rather than going in only after things have drastically worsened to be admitted to the hospital via the emergency room.

So why is it that the Rs don’t just say Badgercare instead?  Because they know that the vast majority of state voters, including most Republicans, approve of Badgercare because they know it actually saves the state money in the long run.

The anti-Wanggaard and anti-Walker ads are much more factually-based.  They talk about what Wanggaard has actually done since he became a Senator — in other words, they talk about his checkable record, and don’t distort it out of recognition.  And they talk about what Walker has actually done with regards to education cuts and the results of said cuts — most of the ads have been about education — or about Walker’s large amount of out-of-state travel due to fundraising, which also are truthful, checkable facts.

So it’s clear that the Ds and their allies are for the most part taking the high road.  The Rs aren’t; instead, the Rs are taking the muddiest, dirtiest road they possibly can in order to confuse and befuddle as many voters as they possibly can.

Overall, if I were a voter who hadn’t paid any attention in the past year (not that Wisconsin has many of these), I’d be wary of the Republican ads due to how awful they are, while I’d be more kind to the Democratic ads because at least there, a voter can go online to check the veracity of the facts.  But as most voters have paid attention, I can only hope that they, too, realize the difference in the ads and don’t get fooled.  (Again.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I’ve been hearing some scary poll results from Wisconsin suggesting that Scott Walker might win the recall election. Hope the money doesn’t win this one….


    May 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    • I hope so, too, Eurobrat.

      As for the polls, most of them have been weighted incorrectly; the only thing any poll has consistently done that I believe _is_ the truth is to show that Scott Walker can’t get above 50% of the vote. (And I do mean on the head.) Even with these weighted polls, that sample too many Rs (Wisconsin is roughly 1/3 Indy, 1/3 Dem, 1/3 R) and too many from Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha County (all three are heavily R counties, while the third is a “problem” county in that the county clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, doesn’t know what she’s doing and has caused a great deal of problems in _several_ elections in the past years due to her mismanagement and incompetence), Walker _still_ can’t get above 50%.

      The internal polls the Ds are doing show a 49/49/2 split (the 2 is for those voting for the Independent candidate, or who haven’t made up their minds). This means it’s all down to turnout. All I know there is that absentee ballots have been requested at a record rate — over 90,000 thus far — which is how most students have to vote now in this state as we now have a 28 day residency period _if_ you’re a student who wishes to vote at your parent’s residence instead (it applies to everyone, but hits the students first and worst). Most students are going to vote for Tom Barrett, so this is a help.

      Also, so many people have voted early that it appears that there are _more_ people who have voted early and absentee than who voted in the recall primaries. This, too, should help the Ds.

      Finally, if it’s a very close race, a recount can be requested (if it’s within 1/2 of 1 percent, the state must pay — this came into play during the state Supreme Court race last year between Prosser and Kloppenburg; while Kloppenburg eventually lost that race due to highly-questionable results from Waukesha County, she is now a sitting state Appeals court judge and may run for the high court again in the future — I really hope she does). I’m sure in a climate like this, a recount _will_ be requested if it’s close; if it’s not close and voters suspect election fraud (especially in Waukesha County), we will have protests, marches, and many angry people going to the state capitol to complain. (I don’t know what the Rs will do if _they_ suspect fraud, but I do know what the Ds and Indys will do; it’s never been explicitly stated, but consider how we’ve reacted before to questionable results or bad policy decisions.)

      I also think the fact that there is that “John Doe” investigation of Scott Walker going on in Milwaukee County, _plus_ the fact that the US Department of Justice has been here for the last year-plus doing whatever it is they’re doing (most of it seems related to election fraud, perhaps in Waukesha County, perhaps throughout the state), that, too, may come into play if there is election fraud that benefits the sitting Rs.

      I do know this; if the election is not perceived as fair, there will be major problems here. So I really hope for everyone concerned that there will be _no_ problems in Waukesha County (always a hotbed of dissension on the R side) and that the results will be fair and quickly reported.

      Barb Caffrey

      May 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      • Wow, all of these different aspects of the election process actually do combine to paint a much more optimistic picture of the recall than the one I had. I also hope that there are as few problems and fraud shenanigans involved as possible. It would be so nice if the Ds won this one…it would give a signal to the Rs not to go too far in disrespecting union workers. I will continue to keep my fingers crossed over here…as I’m sure you know by now, there are people all over the country rooting for this to go well!


        May 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      • Thanks, Eurobrat.

        Yes, things aren’t as bad as they seem from afar. But it definitely is a toss-up race. I will vote, and I’m hoping for the best otherwise; I do know there will be lawyers in every precinct (most especially in Waukesha County, for obvious reasons) and that _should_ help prevent against outright fraud and vote-stealing.

        Barb Caffrey

        May 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

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