All eyes are on today's Walker recall efforts in Wisconsin. The effort to recall Wisconsin's sitting governor is likely to set the stage for the upcoming presidential election, according to political analysts. Although President Obama strongly condemned Governor Scott Walker last year when the Wisconsin politician squared off against unionized state employees, he's been glaringly absent in his support for Walker's Democrat opponent, Tom Barrett, this time around.
Historically, most gubernatorial elections haven't drawn as much interest as the Walker recall, but in today's election, the ideology between Walker and Barrett is a close representation of the political ideology between Obama and expected GOP contender, Mitt Romney.
Important members of their respective parties back the two candidates. RNC chair, Reince Prebus, is a strong Walker supporter. Other state's governors, including New Jersey's Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley, South Carolina's governor have indicated that a victory for Walker might lead to similar anti-union bills in their own states.
Not to be outdone, Barrett reeled in the support of former President Bill Clinton, who traveled to Wisconsin in the week before the runoff to persuade Democratic voters to step up and topple Walker from his throne.
Meanwhile, President Obama has failed to make a personal show of support for Barrett. GOP pundits claim that the President doesn't want to support an election that, from all current poll results, appears doomed. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that President Obama stands by Tom Barrett, but we've nothing from the President's own mouth.
Some are saying that a Walker win today would be a referendum on President Obama's policies and the Democratic Party in general. At the heart of the Walker recall is a fierce battle between two long-time enemies, organized labor and fiscal conservatism. This Hatfield/McCoy battle has been raging for over half a century, but in the past decades, organized labor's membership numbers, and political influence, have been slowly but steadily dropping.
Recent polls indicate that Walker will survive the recall vote, but what's behind those results? Even staunch Democrats can't bring themselves to support organized labor when unionized workers make double or triple the average salary and receive hefty benefit packages. When the economic chips are down, out-of-work voters aren't likely to back unions that offer nothing of value to the voter. Instead, these people are mentally comparing their lot in life to that of the union workers - and coming up short.
It's the old story of sour grapes. If the average voter can't have those wages and benefits, there's no reason for him to get off his couch and go to the polls so someone else can have them. What it boils down to is that Tom Barrett hasn't been able to convince Wisconsin Democrats that he will benefit the average voter in any way. In addition, the average voter does not belong to a union.
President Obama's political platform closely mimics Tom Barrett's and Mitt Romney's agenda mirrors that of Governor Walker. The outcome of today's recall election might well be an indication of the political thermostat in the upcoming presidential election. No wonder President Obama is playing his cards close to his chest.