Of all of the reactions to the recall election in Wisconsin I’ve read I think that this anguished cri de coeur from Matt Stoller must be the most hysterical. Hysterical in the sense of irrational from fear, shock, or other strong emotion not in the sense of extremely funny. Here’s a snippet from a difficult-to-excerpt post:
In other words, first, liberals lost a policy battle, then they failed to strike, then they lost a primary election, then they lost a general election to the most high-profile effective reactionary policy-maker in the country. The conservative beat the moderate who beat the liberal. And had Barrett won, he wouldn’t even have rolled back Walker’s agenda. Somehow, in a no-win electoral situation, Democrats and labor managed to lose as badly as they possibly could.
I wish I could say I had a new insight, but it’s basically the same problem I’ve been writing about for years. Put simply, it’s that Obama’s policy framework is now the policy framework of the Democratic Party, liberals, and unionism. Up and down the ticket, Democrats are operating under the shadow of the President, associated with unpopular policies that make the lives of voters worse and show government to be an incompetent, corrupt handmaiden to big business. So they keep losing.
I think he’s overrreacting, to say the least. A better analysis is that Wisconsinites prefer Scott Walker over Tom Barrett, they don’t like government by mob action, and the public employees’ unions aren’t nearly as popular in Wisconsin as its leaders apparently think they are.
My only other remark is that, when Alexis Tsipras is the standard bearer for what you believe in, you’re in a world of hurt. Let me remind everybody that when you get right down to it there are only two potential mechanisms for allocating resources: markets and fiat. When your preference is for a command economy you will inevitably get burned.
Forsooth! The criticisms of Stoller’s post from other progressives are even more over-the-top than the post is.