Wisconsin Democrats Are Having a Meltdown Before Our Eyes

Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

It’s hard not to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude while watching Big Labor and Wisconsin Democrats blow their money and resources on a race that’s looking increasingly impossible for them to win. Scott Walker holds a comfortable six-point lead in the polls, and, astonishingly, turned out as many voters in his uncontested primary as the Democrats did in their competitive one.

The blame game has already begun, and the circular firing squad has started to form. The Democratic National Committee, having read the writing on the wall, has refused to commit resources to a race that’s slipping out of reach. John Nichols of The Nation fires away at that rational decision:

There is a dramatic difference in the intensity of commitment to the race by national Republicans and their conservative allies on one side and national Democrats and their allies on the other.

The Republicans aren’t holding anything back.

“We’re all in here,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

What is the Democratic National Committee offering in return? Not as much. While the Democratic Governors Association and some other groups with party ties have been supportive of the electoral fight in Wisconsin, the DNC has been slow on the draw. Even now, after much discussion of the DNC’s slow response, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says only that she hopes to come to Wisconsin for a fundraising event. Translation: she will make an appearance in Wisconsin where Wisconsinites will be asked to give money to the DNC.

Needless to say, that’s not even a minimally equal level of commitment to the one made by Priebus and the RNC.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports that Wisconsin Democrats and Big Labor are “furious” at the national party for refusing to throw money down the toilet with them:

“We are frustrated by the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association,” a top Wisconsin Democratic Party official tells me. “Scott Walker has the full support and backing of the Republican Party and all its tentacles. We are not getting similar support.”

“Scott Walker has made this a national election,” the Wisconsin Dem tells me. “If he wins, he will turn his victory into a national referendum on his ideas about the middle class. It will hurt Democrats nationally. The fact that [national Dems] are sitting on their hands now is so frustrating. The whole ticket stands to lose.”

The anonymous Democrat is correct: the whole ticket does stand to lose. Big Labor and the Wisconsin Democratic Party will have wasted millions of dollars that could otherwise have been used to aid Tammy Baldwin, their Senate nominee, or the Obama campaign, which finds itself deadlocked in Wisconsin. Most importantly, a Walker win will deal the final, crushing blow to Big Labor’s attempts to roll back his taxpayer-friendly achievements — and encourage other governors around the country to try to emulate him. When he wins, he will be proof-positive that substantive reforms can be achieved, even in the face of public demonization and the wrath of Big Labor.

At any rate, the DNC says that, hey, it’s done its part — don’t blame them:

The DNC has directed $1.4 million to Wisconsin so far in the 2012 cycle with $800,000 of that coming since November, according to figures provided to the Fix. Nearly a quarter million of those dollars have been directed to the state party.

“We are completely committed to electing Tom Barrett,” said DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse. “Any suggestion of a lack of commitment or engagement on the part of the DNC/OFA is off the mark and does nothing more than play into the hands of Scott Walker and his billionaire buddies who launched their frontal assault on working families in Wisconsin.”

Grab the popcorn — as it becomes more and more evident that Walker’s going to win this thing, this is only going to get better.

-Alex Knepper