PROVIDENCE, R.I. — National Democrats didn’t do enough to help in the recall fight against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, says former White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones.
“To the extent this fight is considered a life-or-death fight for the labor movement, and is now being considered a big signal of poor health for the progressive cause, you did not see a commensurate level of engagement and participation from national Democrats in that fight,” Jones said in an interview with TPM at the Netroots Nation conference. “I’m seeing a lot more energy mourning the loss than I saw energy securing the win.”
Walker’s opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, got a late boost after visits by former President Bill Clinton and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. President Obama sent a tweet in support of Barrett. Still, many liberals grumbled about the lack of national backup.
The Left treated the recall as a local movement, not a “life-or-death struggle” for the labor movement, Jones said. “When we do our minimum and (Republicans) do their maximum, they win,” he added. “Very simple.”
All things considered, Jones said he is glad the defeat happened when it did. “I’m glad this is an alarm clock — it sounds like a fire alarm — but I’m glad it’s going off in June, and not in November,” he said. “I think there were a lot of progressives who looked at the Republican party and fell down laughing at what looked like the Three Stooges, and also looked at the jobs numbers, which were getting better, and were saying literally a week ago, ‘Obama’s got it in the bag.’ I’m sad about the outcome, but I’m glad we got the wake-up call. Our opponents are serious.”
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com