The Nov. 6 election has been analyzed to death, but lost in the post-mortem is a bright spot for conservatives that’s gone largely uncovered. President Obama won the Electoral College handily, but did not get the mandate he wanted based on popular vote. However, there was a mandate for Governor Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature.
The Red Tsunami of 2010 brought about a new breed of conservatives who went to Madison and began to work immediately. Instead of constituents’ requests falling on deaf ears, Wisconsinites saw a new relationship between themselves and their legislators. The people asked and the legislature delivered collective bargaining reform, concealed-carry, voter ID, an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood, along with numerous changes to state law showing the rest of the country that we are, indeed, open for business.
The June 5 recall results were an affirmation of their achievements and Nov. 6 was a mandate for them to carry on with their work.
For those still baffled by Tommy Thompson’s loss to Tammy Baldwin in the US Senate race, there is a real lesson to be learned.
Near the end of a hard-fought primary season, the establishment broke for Tommy Thompson in a big way and we were assured of two things: 1) Tommy Thompson was the only one who could definitely beat Tammy Baldwin, and 2) No matter who won the nomination, the money would be there. On Aug. 14 it was clear that many bought into this and Tommy Thompson was nominated.
Hindsight is 20/20, but both assertions were horribly wrong. Although not finalized, the numbers show that Mitt Romney received about 30,000 more votes that Tommy Thompson and Thompson only fared .5 percent better against Baldwin than Romney did against Obama. We all know that by the end of the primary, and again shortly before the general election, the Thompson campaign was out of money. Lack of money wasn’t the only reason he lost.
If not just money, then what was wrong with Tommy Thompson as our nominee? I believe he ran for the right reasons—with sincere concerns about the fiscal cliff and the impact of Obamacare. The real problem was that the 80s and 90s establishment stepped in for him during the last days before the primary. Maybe they bought the arguments that he was unbeatable and that he’d be well-funded, but I can’t help but wonder if they also had a sense of indebtedness to Tommy Thompson for what he did as governor and for the careers he helped to launch.
By backing Thompson, the establishment ignored the types of legislators we sent to Washington (and Madison) for the first time in 2010 and disregarded the strides we made in 2010 toward unapologetic, Constitutional conservatism. We ended up with Tammy Baldwin.