Could Obama Have Won the Wisconsin Recall For Tom Barrett?

On Tuesday, all eyes will be on Wisconsin and the results of the Scott Walker recall election. Gubernatorial elections don't normally attract this much attention, but this one is important because it will be a bellwether for November. If Scott Walker keeps his seat as governor of Wisconsin, then that signals that Republicans will have gains in the state houses, Congress, and perhaps even the White House.

Given the importance of the election, it's interesting to note who shows up in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker or his Democratic opponent Tom Barrett -- and also those who don't show.

Lots of prominent Republicans have come out to support Gov. Walker. RNC chairman Reince Prebus lives in Wisconsin, giving Gov. Walker's campaign a sort of home field advantage. Several governors have voiced their support too, including  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. If Gov. Waller wins the recall election, then perhaps they will push for similar reforms in their respective states.

Meanwhile, many big-name Democrats have shown up to oppose Gov. Walker. Most notably, former President Bill Clinton flew out Wisconsin to campaigned for Barrett in the week leading up to the vote.

Curiously, the most prominent Democrat, is nowhere in sight, nor is he talking about Wisconsin in his stump speeches. President Obama was in next-door Minnesota talking about the dismal jobs report last week, but he made no mention of the battle going on in the Badger state. Today during a briefing at the White House, press secretary Jeff Carney explained, "The president supports [Barrett], stands by him."

Why won't the commander in chief come out and support the opposing candidate? I can only speculate.

Perhaps the DNC doesn't want to exhaust its political capital so close to the presidential election in  November. Perhaps there is a danger that people could test their attention span  for election campaign season politics. Perhaps they have internal polls that show that Walker will win. Perhaps it's something else that I don't know.

Policy junkies like me will anxiously await the results of the election tomorrow. Given the importance of the event to the direction policy, it's curious that President Obama decides to sit this one out.

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Christine Harbin

Christine Harbin considers widespread economic freedom to be one of the most important goals for sound public policy. She holds undergraduate degrees in economics, mathematics, and French from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

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