Here in the land of recall primaries and recall general elections (5.8.12 and 6.5.12 respectively), the WisDems have a strategy that’s light on collective bargaining, but big on education, legislative issues perceived to be affecting women disproportionately, and Walker’s honesty & candor.
Where does this strategy leave union-backed Kathleen Falk? It leaves her out of alignment. A few big and early union endorsements define her for many who don’t know her well – to them, she’s the candidate that union leaders really, really like.
Since voters will assume that public-employee unions will support any Democrat running against Gov. Walker, additional association with unions does her no good. In fact, I’ve contended that some union support helps her main primary-election rival, Tom Barrett.
(Paul Fanlund, editor of the progressive Capital Times, makes this point in greater detail in an essay posted today.)
Who’s right, the WisDems or the unions? For the GOP, that’s a distinction without a difference. But there is a difference, and I’d guess that the Wisconsin Democratic party has the better sense of what may work than do union leaders, liberal commentators, and diehard activists. These last three groups may not be in a compromising mood, but stubbornness isn’t prescience.
This hardly means the WisDems are assured of success over Walker, just that their odds would be more favorable than the unions’ chances.