WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: Democrats Outspent, Out Organized In Wisconsin Recall, Global Economy’s Impact On The US Economy

Gov. Scott Walker defeated the recall attempt in Wisconsin. Were Democrats outnumbered and outgunned? Plus, Europe, Asia and India’s impact on the US economy as well as the 2012 presidential election.

Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss this and more.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Congresswoman Karen Bass of California; Dr. Chris Metzler, political scientist at Georgetown University; Obama 2012 pollster Cornell Belcher; and political commentator Lenny McAllister.

MR. MARTIN:  Welcome back.

Gov. Scott Walker defeated the recall attempt in Wisconsin.  Were Democrats outnumbered and outgunned?  We’re talking about that and more with Congresswoman Karen Bass of California; Dr. Chris Metzler, political scientist at Georgetown University – lookin’ mighty golden this week –

DR. CHRIS METZLER:  [Chuckles.]


MR. MARTIN:  — Obama 2012 pollster Cornell Belcher, with the undertaker look –



MR. MARTIN:  — and, of course, political commentator Lenny McAllister.  This is his first time on the panel.

And, Lenny, whenever you come on the show, we do pocket squares on the show.  Just lettin’ you know.  So –


MR. MARTIN:  — for future reference.  Flag lapel pin?  That’s cute, but –

MR. BELCHER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — pocket squares work.


MR. MARTIN:  All right.  Let’s right to it.

Democrats – lots of whining this week after what took place in Wisconsin. They were saying, “Oh, we got outspent.”  “We got outgunned.”  To me, that’s what happened in politics.  Guess what?  You raise a lot of money, or you don’t, and this – this is what happens.  To me, it sounds like, to me, it’s sour grapes.  “You deal with it.  You lost.”

MR. BELCHER:  Well — [chuckles] –

DR. METZLER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. BELCHER:  — wow.  That’s a lot.  But the – here – there’s the thing.  Some – at some point, you – you question whether or not the recall should’ve ha- — taken place.  You had – you know, the vast majority of voters in Wisconsin didn’t agree with the re- — recall, even – even taking place.

MR. MARTIN:  So, you think a lot of –


MR. MARTIN:  — folks who voted were mad with the recall itself

MR. BELCHER:  — yeah.  No –

MR. MARTIN:  — as opposed –

MR. BELCHER:  — that was –

MR. MARTIN:  — to it –

MR. BELCHER:  — that – that was –

MR. MARTIN:  — really being –

MR. BELCHER:  — clear from –

MR. MARTIN:  — “I don’t like him.”  “I don’t like” –

MR. BELCHER:  — that was clear –

MR. MARTIN:  — “him.”

MR. BELCHER:  — that was clear from the polling, and – and you – and you look – and you talk to voters, and the thing was, you know, “I’m” – “I” – you know, “If I want to fire Scott Walker, I can do that in two years.  What’s” – “What’s this recall thing about?”

So, it – but it was good for Republicans in this – in this way.  They got an early run on how they’re going to spend millions and millions and millions of –

MR. MARTIN:  Gotcha.

MR. BELCHER:  — dollars and sort of – and sort of try to completely sort of take out their – their opponents through – through all this money and all this negative a- — advertising.  And, unfortunately, as a political professional, I know negative advertising works.  And when you spend – when you outspend your opponent 8 to 1, it’s going to have an impact.

REP. KAREN BASS:  Well, you know –

MR. MCALLISTER:  But – but here’s the thing.  It – it also goes back to people were running against Scott Walker.  And what are you going to have in 2012?  People running against Pres. Obama.  It’s not going to be the same dynamic for Republicans, and that’s things – that’s something that conservatives have to make sure that we don’t get locked into.  If we think it’s going to be the same formula from Wisconsin, and that’s going to be a template –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. MCALLISTER:  — for the rest of the nation, it’s not going to be, because you don’t usually vote out a president ’cause you’re that angry – the same way you couldn’t vote out this governor because people were, quote-unquote –

REP. BASS:  — well – [crosstalk]- —

MR. MCALLISTER:  — “so angry.”

MR. MARTIN:  Congresswoman Bass, a lot of Democrats are complaining, saying that we need to get money out of the politics.  Many of them – Russ

Feingold, former senator from Wisconsin – he says, “Look, forget the whole super PAC money.”

Look.  I get idealistic.  I get what a – what a stance in terms of being – about purity, but here’s the reality.  It’s legal.  It’s the law.  So, Democrats are going to have a choice.  Either you’re going to raise the money, like the Republicans, or you’re going to get outgunned, and you’re going to be complaining after the fact when you lose.

REP. BASS:  — well, I think, first of all, we’re going to raise the money.  We have to.  I mean I don’t want to see the super PACs there.  I hope that we’re able to pass legislation that at least forces the people who are funding it to disclose; but on the other hand, until then, we have to raise the money.

I think a couple of things about Wisconsin also.  Number one, we can’t neglect the fact that it looks like we’re going to win the Senate.  And I think that that was very important in terms of the Wisconsin election.  I know that there’s one that they’re still deciding, but maybe the voters in  Wisconsin decided they didn’t want to go the way of California.  I mean look how it worked out for us.


REP. BASS:  We –

MR. MARTIN:  In terms of the recall of Gray Dav- —

REP. BASS:  — exactly!

MR. MARTIN:  — Gov. Gray Davis.

REP. BASS:  Exactly!

MR. MARTIN:  Arnold Schwarzenegger came in and became governor.

REP. BASS:  Right.  Because I think that the folks in Wisconsin, as I understand the exit polls, were saying that, “He didn’t commit a crime, so why are we recalling him?”

Now, needless to say, I wish the recall would have succeeded, but I think as long as the super PACs are out there, the Democrats have to match the money dollar per dollar.

MR. MARTIN:  I’m glad you brought up super PACs.

Chris, I saw Democrats saying that all this was a g- — this was a good night for Pres. Obama because, according to the exit polls – I’m sorry.  [I] mean exit polls.

REP. BASS:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  According to the exit polls, it showed, 53 to 52, the folks who voted will be supporting Pres. Obama.  But the same exit polls that night said it was going to be 50-50.  If I’m a Democrat, I’m throwing the exit polls out, and I’m saying, “Look.  Act like we’re the underdog, that” –

DR. METZLER:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — “we need to fight, fight, fight and not be complacent and somehow think that, ‘Oh!  We[’ve] got [an] 11-point difference.  It’s going to be okay in Wisconsin.’”

DR. METZLER:  Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right.  I think, in – this whole idea of looking at Wisconsin as having these far-reaching impacts in the fall, I just think, is folly.  I mean by the time we get to the fall, I think you’re going to see a completely different campaign.  And as Lenny said, you know, this is a completely different campaign, particularly for conservatives.  So, we can’t sit there and say, “Oh, okay.  So, now we know what” – “what the formula is.”  No.  We don’t know what the formula is; and I think, in fact, it’s going to be an extremely different campaign.  And, frankly, I think, by November, folks would’ve forgotten about this whole recall –

REP. BASS:  Exactly.

DR. METZLER:  — thing, anyway.

MR. MARTIN:  Cornell –

REP. BASS:  Exactly.

MR. MARTIN:  — the other wakeup call for Democrats is that you can’t rest on your laurels, and understand this is going to be a tight election.

REP. BASS:  Um-hum.

MR. BELCHER:  Well, yeah.  I – I thought – I think we – so, the Obama campaign and – [has] been saying it’s going to be a tight election.  I mean Axelrod even said it’s going to be, you know, a “titanic [struggle].”

MR. MARTIN:  Bu- — but here’s the deal.

MR. BELCHER:  It’s going to –

MR. MARTIN:  I’ll tell you.

MR. BELCHER:  — I think –

MR. MARTIN:  When I’m talking about this on Facebook and Twitter and other forum[s], listening to talk radio, I’m hearing Democrats say, “Oh, no.  We’re going to win, going away in November.”

And I’m going –

MR. BELCHER:  Th- — thi- —

MR. MARTIN:  — going, “Hey, y’all better” –

MR. BELCHER:  — this is the –

MR. MARTIN:  — “realize what’s” –

MR. BELCHER:  — this is the problem.

MR. MARTIN:  — “happening in the” –

MR. BELCHER:   And a- —

MR. MARTIN:  — “country.”

MR. BELCHER:  — and, actually – actually, this is the problem; and it – and it came from the Republican primary.  If – if you – if you look at – [chuckles] – sort of qualitative research that was going around dur- — during the Republican primary, a lot of voters were scratching their heads, going – looking at this cast from Her- — sugar daddy Herman Cain on through –

REP. BASS:  [Chuckles.]

MR. BELCHER:  — looking at this cast and going, “There’s no way.”  “There’s no way any of these” – “any of these cats can really be” – “be serious about being president,” and I think they sort of went – went to sleep.

I think we have – as Democrats, our job is to wake up these voters and say, “Look.  No.  This is the same country that elected George Bush w-” – “at least one time.”

REP. BASS:  Exactly.

MR. BELCHER:  “So” – “So, we cannot go to sleep on this and think that this race is over.”

MR. MARTIN:  On Friday, Pres. Barack Obama held a news conference, trying to change the story.  [He] did not have a good week when it came to the economy [with] last week’s job numbers.  Also, Pres. Bill Clinton didn’t help either.


MR. MARTIN:  And so another week of a surrogate not really staying on message.  The Pre- —

MR. BELCHER:  Well, no.  What – wha- —

MR. MARTIN:  — in – in this case here, the President has to speak to the issue of what’s happening in Europe, because we’re now seeing a drop there.  If Europe gets worse, that’s going to have a negative impact on this economy, which also could impact his reelection.


MR. MCALLISTER:  You – you’re absolutely correct, which is part of the reason why you’re seeing some of these other, fringe issues come into play – why gay marriage has come into play, why some of the other things, that we’ve been talking about that have been outside of the economy, [have] come into play.

Now, Gov. Romney can’t wade down those waters, and some of the other conservatives – that’s what s[a]nk, for example, Rick Santorum just a couple of months ago.  He took the bait. Gov. Romney’s going to have to make sure he doesn’t take the bait, and I think a lot of Americans are going to focus on this and say, as this European crisis it out there – something that they don’t really understand – as it starts impacting here – us here [in] the homeland, “What is Pres. Obama going to do to spin it to bring it to his advantage?” and, “What is Gov. Romney going to do to keep people focused on the economy, looking forward?”

MR. BELCHER:  Real- — really quickly, I – I – [a] couple things.  One is that I think Rick Perry was Rick Perry’s – [chuckles] – biggest problem.  But – but that aside, no.  I’m going to push back on this idea that – that Pres. Obama had some sort of horrible week.  The – the job numbers weren’t – weren’t great, but how many jobs were – was he losing when he – when he put his hands –

MR. MARTIN:  I agree.

MR. BELCHER:  — on that bible?

MR. MARTIN:  [Crosstalk]- — and overall, the net –

MR. BELCHER:  It w- — it is – it is –

MR. MARTIN:  — the net increase –

MR. BELCHER:  — 27 –

MR. MARTIN:  — was 69,000.

MR. BELCHER:  — straight –

MR. MARTIN:  I gotcha.

MR. BELCHER:  — months of – of po- — of positive job growth.  And when you talk about Europe, look at what’s, in fact, happeni- — happening in Europe.  You know, 11, 12 percent unemployment.  They – you’ve got voters in – in the capitals of Europe taking to the streets, protesting.

And by the way, a lot of those austerity measures that – that Boehner and – and – would have you put in place here in – in this country – Clinton hit it right on the nose.  If – if we want what Europe’s got, you know, just double down on – on the – on what Republicans are talking about.  If you think – and by the way, el- — if – if we had 11 percent unemployment here in this country like we had in Europe, we would have a revolution, and Black unemployment would be 30 percent.

DR. METZLER:  Well – but it’s –

REP. BASS:  And – and –

DR. METZLER:  — not – it’s not just the – the issue of unemployment in Europe.  That’s only part of the issue.  The other –

MR. BELCHER:  That’s true.

DR. METZLER:  — part of the issue in Europe is the constant reliance on the state as the – the be-all and end-all.  So, it’s a combination of that.

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah, but –


MR. MARTIN:  — yeah.  No, C- — but, Chris, here’s the deal – okay?  That’s Europe’s problem.

DR. METZLER:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  Our problem with what’s happening in Europe [is] if you have  slowdown of buying of goods, that impacts what happens in this –


MR. MARTIN:  — country –

DR. METZLER:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — and that –

DR. METZLER:  Without question.

MR. MARTIN:  — is going to have a negative impact on our economy.

REP. BASS:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  Congresswoman, we’re seeing a slowdown in China as well.

REP. BASS:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  If you all of a sudden have India, China, Europe slowing down, we’re going to see our economy have a difficult time.

REP. BASS:  Right.  And one thing that we have to always talk about is, “What is the role of Congress?”  This Republican-led Congress and what they are proposing – there’s a lot of things that we could have done to bring about jobs; but, number one, we are rarely in session.  Number two, there –

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah.

REP. BASS:  — are –

MR. MARTIN:  When do y’all work?

REP. BASS:  — [chuckles] –


MR. MARTIN:  E’erbody else workin’!  I mean is Congress unemployed?

MR. BELCHER:  [Chuckles.]

REP. BASS:  — well – well, well, the ideological battle that’s going on in Congress is, “What is the role of government?”  If you don’t believe the government plays a significant role, why do you need to be in session in Congress?”

MR. MARTIN:  Hold that thought.  I want to come back, ’cause I want to know.  This is where Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party should be together.  Get the hell back to work!


MR. MARTIN:  We’ll continue the conversation after the break and find out who told “The Biggest Damn Lie” this week.  And later, Raheem DeVaughn.  So, stay with us.