While I’m sure it’s tempting to conclude that I stole that phrase deliberately from the Obama campaign of 2008, that’s just not the case. A couple of weeks back Ed Garvey blogged the question “ Can anyone beat Walker? “  The moment I read that title it popped into my head:  yes, we can.  I can assure you that president Obama wasn’t on my mind at the time.

Rather, it has occurred to me for quite some time that it isn’t a question of whether or not Walker can be defeated, it’s a question of whether or not we’ll do what’s necessary to win. So what follows here, and in future posts, will be my thoughts on why I absolutely believe this to be true, and then how we go about doing it.

The first thing that has to be done, and this is absolutely crucial, is to resist, and then banish from your mind and the minds of others, the urge to give up. A recent article in Politico about Walker’s stealth presidential campaign remarked, regarding the 2014 gubernatorial election: “ In certain Democratic quarters there’s a palpable sense of fatigue and weariness — bordering on resignation — about taking down Walker. “ 

I have to say I get pissed off just reading that, and I’ll tell you why.  Bear with me a moment.

In the fall of 2005 our local weekly newspaper, the Spooner Advocate, ran a headline something to the effect that the Washburn County board of supervisors had voted to enter into a purchase agreement with an unidentified big box retailer that wanted to buy a piece of county owned land.  Though Washburn County and City of Spooner officials denied knowing the identity of the big box retailer, almost everyone in the county assumed it was Wal-Mart, which turned out to be correct.

That news spurred a number of us to consider forming an opposition group to Wal-Mart’s supercenter proposal,  but we ran into an obstacle: defeatism. Several county and city officials, when referring to the proposal, used the phrase “ it’s a done deal “. It was repeated in the newspapers and was on a lot of people’s lips. I’d try to recruit folks to come to a first meeting of concerned citizens and would hear “ there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s a done deal. “ After a time it occurred to some of us that this narrative may have been deliberately spread to discourage opposition.  That realization only strengthened our resolve.

So roughly 20 of us decided that until Wal-Mart actually held title to the land and began construction, nothing was a done deal. We formed an association of concerned citizens, Washburn County First, raised money, hired a lawyer, and dug in our heels. We attended county board and city council meetings with facts, figures and white papers, held press conferences, sued elected bodies for open meeting law and procedural violations, showed films about Wal-Mart in the community, pledged publicly to make it the first union Wal-Mart in the country, petitioned the DOT and our elected officials to not grant Wal-Mart special favors, etc.  You name it, we did it.

And three and a half years later, in the spring of 2009, Wal-Mart abandoned the project. Done deal,  my ass.  15 determined people turned away the world’s largest retailer, with all of their money and all of their clout. But it took commitment, resolve, some money, and sacrifice. Each of us had to make it something of a priority in our lives, and we did.

So when it comes to the 2014 gubernatorial election, in the words of that great political prognosticator Yogi Berra, “ it ain’t over till it’s over.”  Walker and his supporters would love nothing more than for us to believe that he can’t be defeated.  It sounds as though some within the DPW, or elsewhere, are starting to buy that line. I suppose conventional political wisdom is that it can’t be done. But that was conventional wisdom too when it came to Wal-Mart in Spooner.  Or the 1969 Mets championship season.  Nothing’s a done deal until November 5th, 2014.

In my next post I’ll talk about the numbers, and why we have every reason to believe that the people those numbers represent,  are on our side.  After that a plan for finding, and organizing, those people.

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11 Responses to Yes, we can.

  1. Ed Heinzelman says:

    Nice job Steve…your best post on BB to date…I look forward the the rest of the series!!!

  2. Thanks Ed. I had to hunt down, and drag out of an undignified retirement, my better angels for this one. I hope they stick around awhile.

  3. nonquixote says:

    You’ve reminded me of the continual whining from ex-WPR host Ben Merens and several of his “learned,” guests pushing the meme about voters being extremely tired of all the recall talk. Wonder exactly what got him canned so quickly when it happened. He was regularly the one-man WPR pimp for Peter G Peterson ideals (destroy social security, yes that guy), third way, no-name, ultraconservative squawkers, seemingly hoping to garner favor with the elite. He was cheering the day after the recall with, aren’t we all glad that is finally over with.

    Would be an interesting story to find out what he actually did or failed to do to get pulled of the air so quickly when it happened, yet collect the balance of his salary and I believe retained the use of his office space for several months beyond.

  4. NQ,

    Thanks for the high regards.

  5. EmmaR says:

    Great post! Good for you for defeating Walmart. Utterly shameful that we taxpayers must pay for the medical care of their workers and to keep their families fed while the Walton heirs have accumulated more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans. Oh, and for the ugly wingers whining about GZ the past two weeks, two words – Alice Walton. What weariness and fatigue? Democrats want Walker out as do Independents and even good, traditional Republicans, sickened by their own party. That’s all just another tactic by the wingers to try to keep Walker in. None of us should buy it for one second. With that said, the key will be to unite behind the candidate who wins the primary. No one candidate encompasses every last quality you want nor position you support. It’s like a spouse – on the whole more good qualities, than bad so you live with it.

  6. Duane12 says:

    Steve, I support and hope to contribute to your and all efforts to provide the candidate and turnout that will elect our next governor.

    Your brother in spirit and goal, Duane.

    P.S. Shot my first deer as a teenager while lost in the winter wilderness of Bayfield County.

  7. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Now THAT’S THE WAY YOU DO IT! Well said Steve. Walker and the GOP are very vulnerable, and a strong, pro-99% message demanding integrity be restored to our system will get the job done.

    Isn’t this a lot better than bitching about people who are on our side and making sure this criminal administration isn’t being allowed to get away with their crap unchallenged. Instead of being worried about the bullies and being Republican lite, it’s time to stand up, take the gloves off, and take this state in a better direction than the crap we’ve had the last 31 months.

    Welcome back, Steve

  8. PJ says:

    Excellent post, Steve! It is possible to defeat Walker. Really looking forward to future editions. And kudos to you and your opposition group that defeated Wal Mart.

  9. Ben says:

    Danm, Walmart!

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