Half A Million Badgers Aren’t Messing Around

Today at noon, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate announced the latest totals for the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Only 30 days after the effort formally kicked off, 507,533 signatures have been collected to trigger a recall election.

Quick review of the numbers: Under Wisconsin law, organizers need signatures equaling 25 percent of those who voted for governor in 2010. In this case, that’s 540,258. They have 60 days to gather this many signatures, which puts the deadline at January 17, 2012. The Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees elections in the state, then determines a date for the recall election.

Just like the summer recalls and the Ohio referendum, the GAB has to determine if enough of the signatures are valid. With this expectation, organizers from United Wisconsin have 720,000 as a rough signature goal by the January deadline. By comparison, the intrepid Buckeyes in next door Ohio gathered 1.3 million signatures to repeal Senate Bill 5, which was about six times the needed amount.

Here are some more highlights from Mike Tate’s presser:

  • Over 25,000 Wisconsinites have volunteered in the recall effort.
  • 42 recall field offices have been set up throughout the state.
  • People aren’t just giving their time, they are giving their money: 27,000 donors have given an average of $27 toward the recall effort.
  • The recall petitions have gone viral: 37,000 people have downloaded recall petitions from the Wisconsin Democratic Party website.

Needless to say, Walker and his friends are spooked. You know how you can tell? The Fox News Channel is rushing to his aid, doing what they do best – straight up lying:

Fox News reporter Eric Shawn told viewers on Thursday that signatures from “Mickey Mouse” and “Adolf Hitler” were “allegedly on petitions in Wisconsin in the recall for Governor Scott Walker.” Fun little story with the potential to go viral? Absolutely. True? Not so much.

In fact, the original story that Shawn evidently built his report off of is about a strictly hypothetical situation discussed by members of the Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board who were asked what would happen if someone signed the petition as Mickey Mouse. There’s been no actual allegation that anyone actually signed the petition against Walker that way.

Notice the message. The point isn’t to dispute the number, because they can’t. The point of the story is to make viewers doubt the process in its entirety.

Again, no one should be looking at Wisconsin 2012 expecting a clean fight. As we’ve written, Walker and the Koch Brothers are going to drag this as far into the gutter as possible, because they know the Governor can’t run on any accomplishments. This election, once triggered, will be about dirty tricks, personal attacks, culture warrior tactics, and instilling distrust of the democratic process underway. The Fox salvo is a perfect example. So is thisAnd this.

What choice do Walker and his corporate friends have? Half a million Badgers want to oust him from his spot in Madison, and they aren’t messing around.

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