Wisconsin Recalls and Barack Obama – a letter to the President

On the final day of recall elections, where Democrats are poised to defend a near split in the State Senate, along with winning a majority of the recall elections, Badger Democracy submitted the following letter to President Obama. The President has been on a Midwestern bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois – noticeably avoiding Wisconsin. This after responding to a question in Iowa about defending the right to collectively bargain, where Obama indicated that unions and their members should “share the sacrifice” other Americans need to make in difficult economic times. Really… Read on, then let President Obama know what you think.

President Obama,

Today in Wisconsin, the last of nine recall elections are being held. Neo-conservative Corporatist Republicans led by Scott Walker reversed decades of Progressive government in Wisconsin, which threatens the very existence of the middle, working class standard of living. I tell you the obvious, because either you personally or someone on your staff must be apprising you of the situation. That awareness has not been apparent – you have been absent in person, spirit, and policy. Every working Wisconsinite remembers your campaign speech when you stated that you would “walk the picket line” with labor to protect their rights. The recalls in Wisconsin, and the economic attack on working families are about our rights – and I do not belong to a union, but believe very strongly in the right to organize and collectively bargain. This is a right recognized by the United Nations, and has a direct impact on  social, political, and economic equality . You have continued to distance yourself from this fight, and your recent comments in Iowa are very disheartening. It is my opinion, as I have expressed regularly at www.bdgrdemocracy.wordpress.com , is that you are receiving advice from a single-minded group too close to the Friedman/Chicago School of Economics. History acknowledges the role of this school of economics wherever it has been implemented worldwide – and the results are coming to fruition in the United States. A so-called “debt crisis,” high unemployment, dissolution of social and economic safety nets, etc. Of course, the wealthy corporatists reap enormous profits and benefits, as do the politicians who implement and support their policies (ALEC). All at the sacrifice of any attainable standard of living for 90% of working families. It would behoove you to fire your Economic Advisors, and listen to Paul Krugman and Robert Reich – they are correct in what would turn the economy around. The fact is, you lack the political or moral will to stand up to the Corporate Powers pulling the strings. Or you are complicit with them. Either way, you are on course to be the next Herbert Hoover.

In 2008, I voted for you. As a Progressive, I believed the change you promised meant that equal opportunity and equality for all Americans would take a step forward. Instead, the wealth gap continues to increase, and access to the system continues its regression under your watch. Citizens United granted carte blanche for Corporate theft (via money and influence) of our political system, and your recent statements on unions and collective bargaining distance you from the last, best, organized, middle class resistance to this political coup. In essence, you sold us all out after the election for a “deal” which continues to place the economic burden on the vanishing middle class.

Unless your actions change to match your campaign rhetoric, you have lost my vote. I will seek out, support, and stand behind a candidate that reflects the Progressive values we so desperately need (if only Fighting Bob LaFollette were here). As evident in your current bus tour, you have abandoned Wisconsin (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois,…). I cannot express in words the disappointment I feel in writing this letter. It will be actions, not rhetoric, that will restore the faith many of us Progressives had for you. Until then, many of us will look for a more Progressive voice to represent us.


Scott Wittkopf, Badger Democracy