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Barney Frank, Ed Rendell: Pushing The Walker Recall Was A Mistake

Retiring Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank said last night that unions, activists, and the Democratic Party all made a mistake pushing for the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) slammed unions and liberal activists for pushing to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

“I think the people on the Democratic side made a big mistake and the funding thing was a big deal,” Frank told The Hill Wednesday afternoon, alluding to Republicans’ big cash advantage in the race. “My side picked a fight they shouldn’t have picked. The recall was upsetting to people, the rerun of the election with [Democratic Milwaukee Mayor] Tom Barrett — it’s not a fight I would have picked.”

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said pretty much the same thing:

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) ripped the unions and activists who charged forward in trying to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wednesday, calling the push a political blunder.

“It was a dumb political fight — I would have waited until Walker’s reelection,” Rendell told The Hill when asked if the recall push had been a mistake. The former governor and head of the Democratic National Committee pointed to exit polls that showed a number of independents and Democrats who opposed Walker’s policies nonetheless voted for him because they opposed a recall.

“There are a lot of people who voted on principle against a recall because they don’t believe recalling someone for other than a crime or downright corruption is appropriate,” he said. “I would have had a tough time voting for the recall. If we’re pissed off at what a person does in office the answer is to beat them when they’re up for reelection.”

Rendell’s comments echo some made by some Wisconsin Democratic strategists who early on argued against a recall because Walker would be able to raise unlimited funds and that the recall format was problematic for their side.

Frank and Rendell are largely correct, of course. There were signs months ago that the recall was going to be a difficult battle at best, and most likely an impossible one given the monetary advantages Walker would have, and the fact that his job approval numbers had risen steadily in the year since the controversy over the public employee union legislation that got this whole process started. Indeed, given the fact that Walker ended up getting more votes on Tuesday than he did on Election Day 2010, one could say that this was a significant strategic error on the part of the unions and the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. james says:

    Economics: Other Peoples money only works till it run out, Margaret Thatcher

    (Other Peoples Money) Ponzi

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s difficult to be surprised by any of this. Those summer 2011 recalls mostly went over like lead balloons. In that Prosser election they weren’t able even to defeat a guy with all the political skills of a mannequin. The likelihood of a strategic blunder in going after Walker was as plain as day. But the unions and left-wing “activists” are not the brightest bulbs in the display case, and their collective hatred of Walker is visceral and personal in nature, hence the political charge of the lightheaded brigades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  3. MBunge says:

    “Frank and Rendell are largely correct, of course.”

    And we all know how hard it is to be correct after the answer has already been given. “Hey, that recall thing Democrats just lost in Wisconsin? I don’t think that was such a good idea.”

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Of course if Walker had been ousted they’d be at victory parades in Madison and Milwaukee. That’s life, time to move on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Nikki says:

    Those summer 2011 recalls mostly went over like lead balloons.

    Please. The Wisconsin Senate is now in the Democrats’ hands thanks to the 2011 and 2012 recalls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. Nikki,

    Since the Wisconsin State Senate is up for re-election in November and will not be back in session until next year, that’s mostly pointless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. mattb says:

    @Ed Rendell:

    “There are a lot of people who voted on principle against a recall because they don’t believe recalling someone for other than a crime or downright corruption is appropriate,” he said. “I would have had a tough time voting for the recall. If we’re pissed off at what a person does in office the answer is to beat them when they’re up for reelection.”

    @MBunge: To be fair, there were a lot of people saying the same thing in the lead up to this election — though much of that came after the euphoria of getting the signatures for the recall were already in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. mattb says:

    From an “inside baseball” perspective, the bigger problem wasn’t the loss. I think Remdell’s take is correct — that Anti-Walker people who voted against the recall out of principle had a significant effect on this election.

    The big problem was that every dollar spent on this campaign is a dollar that can’t be spent on the general election (one of the reasons why national money wasn’t flowing in at the same rate on the Democratic side). So a number of local liberal coffers have been depleted and need to get filled ASAP to be ready to be used in the fall. And filling those coffers, in the wake of the loss, could be a VERY tall order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    …and once again the Democrats reaffirm their main post-election strategy: bayonet the wounded.

    There is no greater sin among Democrats than losing an election; they need to be punished.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There is no greater sin among Democrats than losing an election; they need to be punished.

    Of course it’s well-known that Republicans love to lose elections.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: That’s not my point, and you’re not stupid enough to think it was.

    Look at whatshisname, the guy who just lost to Walker in Wisconsin: one of his supporters slapped him.

    Look at Joe Lieberman. Veep nominee in 2000, exiled shortly thereafter.

    Look at Al Gore: it took him reinventing himself as Captain Green to win his way back into favor.

    Look at John Kerry: mocked and derided for some time for losing to George W. Bush.

    On the other hand, Bob Dole and Jack Kemp were still respected and lauded after they lost to Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin are still quite popular among their supporters from 2008…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. G.A. says:

    Please. The Wisconsin Senate is now in the Democrats’ hands thanks to the 2011 and 2012 recalls

    Not yet it ain’t….lot of irregularities and my guy has not conceded yet to the infanticidal neo Marxist wannabe fleebagger Doyle yes man has been..

    And to add to what Doug was saying we are looking to pick up 2 and maybe even 4 heck, maybe more by then after job creation explodes and God willing!!! we get our voter id back from the Marxist judge.

    The law was singed many moons ago and is being held hostage.

    Once we get voter id freed, lol!!! game over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  13. G.A. says:

    On the other hand, Bob Dole and Jack Kemp were still respected and lauded after they lost to Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin are still quite popular among their supporters from 2008…

    :) SARA PALIN IS A FREAKING ROCKSTAR AND UNICORN SHOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @G.A.: What I meant — and what I said — was that the people who supported Palin still, by and large, continue to support her and hold her in high regard. They haven’t turned on her, like so many of the backers of losing Democratic candidates.

    Oddly enough, one who did escape that bayoneting of the wounded was one who really should have been turned on and rejected. Instead, John Edwards was continually enabled — right up until the National Enquirer once again did the work the mainstream media won’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. G.A. says:

    :) I got you bro .I was just saying…ROCKSTAR cause she is like Walekr(snicker) and a good luck charm for elections. I have a bad habit of reading everything and blurting out a responds sometimes..

    lol. and talk about bayoneting of the wounded. Please put this poor sad wretched thing out of it’s misery…. did i say putrrid..um..guess not..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zw19g4-8SU&feature=youtu.be

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    On the other hand, Bob Dole and Jack Kemp were still respected and lauded after they lost to Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin are still quite popular among their supporters from 2008…

    So they do love their losers after all.

    By the way, Gore and Kerry are not scorned by the Democratic Party, they’re just there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0