Alec MacGillis of The New Republic is certainly nowhere near as obnoxious and smug as Lawrence O'Donnell. Nevertheless his following assertion is quite debatable:
As I read it - and at the obvious risk of over-generalizing - they are swing voters who are, despite the difficult times we find ourselves in, in a grudging pro-incumbent frame of mind. They see that we're climbing back out of a deep hole and they see no reason to replace the guy on the ladder at this moment.Yet this line of reasoning assumes that Governor Walker and President Obama are exercising the same diligence when it comes to budgetary reform. If Walker and Obama have been on a ladder, Walker has spent his time try to save a building from burning to the ground without people losing their livelihoods. Meanwhile, instead of trying to help Walker put out the fire, Obama has spent most of his time on the ladder putting more fuel to the fire by increasing spending and increasing the deficit while blaming his predecessor for starting the fire in the first place. The approach of Walker and Obama towards governing couldn't be more incongruous.
Indeed, as MacGillis notes himself, there were Obama voters who a) acknowledged Walker's diligence in pursuing budgetary reforms and b) disliked the whole process of a recall election and thought Walker should be given the chance to serve out his term in office.
Well, Obama has exercised no such diligence where it concerns budgetary reforms and what effort he has expended has been almost unanimously rejected by both parties in both Houses of Congress two years in a row. Unlike Walker, Obama isn't getting results and that's what matters when it is all said and done. And unlike Walker, Obama is nearing the end of his term and has to face the music and the tune could very well be "Nearer My God to Thee".
With that said, given that Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican in a presidential election since 1984, Obama is still the prohibitive favorite to win Wisconsin and I'm sure there will be people who opposed Walker's recall who will cast their ballot for the President. Yet you have to think that competency, performance and results matter to these swing voters and if they think Obama is 0 for 3 in those categories then he's in trouble. People might not be head over heels with Scott Walker but few question his competency, performance and results he's delivered.
As for Mitt Romney, even if he's behind Obama in Wisconsin by seven points at the moment, those exit polls are not something they can take to the bank five months from today especially if Obama's account is in overdraft. Given the minimal efforts Obama made in Wisconsin on behalf of the Recall forces there's a good chance this constituency, which would be otherwise loyal to him, might be inclined to show their apprecation for Obama by spending the first Tuesday of November at home pounding back some Miller while the rest of the country tells Obama to step down from that ladder.