When I started paying attention to the polling numbers last week, it was obvious to me that no matter how things turned out, there were going to be a lot of cheesed-off Wisconsonians after the votes were counted; a wide variety of sources had the race neck and neck in the home stretch.
At this point, the loser's pet media is too busy spinning to cough up the numbers, so best I can do is cite exit polls, which showed a five percent difference between challenger and incumbent.
With such a close vote, it is important to not read the results too deeply. Tom Barret had already lost once to Scott Walker and I never did see any evidence it was going to be different this time. The sobbing protester on CNN who proclaimed, "Democracy died tonight," need look no further than the mirror: when folks don't trust the results of elections, the game's just about up; I sure hope that's not a widespread sentiment. And the Dems noting, "We sent him a strong message--" What, stronger than packing the state capitol with protesters? Okay, then, as long as you own up that the message is, your side can't quite win on the issue of public-employee unions in the state where they were born.
On the other side of the Great Water, the Brits were cheering on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. (A surprise to me, I thought you had to be on the throne 75 years to get one of those. Wrong-o: they changed the rules for Queen Victoria. I've probably missed this year's Swan Upping, too. -- Nope, six weeks to go.)
I had a dream the other night that Billie Thomas had been made King of (some part of) the U.S., ruling from Buckwheat Palace, and everything was o-tay -- we'd be on to HRH William II now, since Mr. Thomas passed away in 1980, the same year he'd received a standing ovation from fans when the Our Gang cast reunited at the Sons of the Desert convention. King Buckwheat, you muse? --I think we could do far worse; once the Little Rascals films had run their course, he finished school, did a stint in the Army and wound up back in Hollywood: "Even the big stars had to chase around and audition; it seemed like a rat race to me, with no security." He took a lab tech job at Technicolor instead and worked there until retirement.
If you're not gonna stand by elections even when the results don't go your way, even knowing there's a do-over every two, four or six years, and you're unwilling to give up this crazy idea of "Government" where we sort-of pick some bunch of guys in suits to go idle away in a fancy building, refraining from smoking and making up new rules (more every day!), then you'd better hope you're lucky enough get King Buckwheat and not Pol Pot or Idi Amin. Me, I'd be happy just scaling back the power of Governors and Legislators, Presidents and Senators to go messing about with your life -- and mine. But I guess it's too easy to fume about how the other guys stole the election and will probably roll out the tanks next Tuesday. Oh the predictable horror. Tuesday comes, tankless, and by then it's a whole new news cycle: ooh! Transit of Venus!* Smog alert! Elected Officials Behaving Badly! Shiny!
* I am so glad that turned out to not be a euphemism.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago