Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza look over to today's recall elections in Wisconsin and...utterly fail to hype it beyond reason. C'mon, reporters! If you always were this reasonable, there would be nothing for me and the rest of us political scientists to blog about. Our bread and butter is this kind of stuff -- reporters or pundits look at today's news and extrapolate it wildly without any basis for doing so, we explain why such-and-so even is probably not nearly as big a deal as all that. But if reporters are going to cut in on our racket...well, it's got me worried, I'll tell you that.
I should add a bit of discussion of the actual substance here, I suppose. Just because nothing that happens in Wisconsin today will overturn everything doesn't mean it isn't both interesting and, in at least a limited way, important. To begin with, it's a great political story: Republicans roll in after an election, choose to implement highly divisive policies that they basically didn't even campaign on, and meet all sorts of resistance despite having the votes to do what they want. There's all kinds of stuff here...about the way that particular rules (quorum rules in legislatures, the existence and type of recall) interact with preferences; about the relationship between elections and policy; about political mobilization; about unions and their opponents. And something like this can be important even if it's not about to spark a national movement or change the 2012 presidential election. After all, it's certainly important within Wisconsin, and it's not a stretch to assume that GOP politicians and union activists in other states are all paying close attention to today's results -- and that their future actions may be affected by those results and how they are interpreted.