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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

"Bare-knuckled Class Warfare"

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Liberal blogger Greg Sargent is onto something here. The peculiar quality of the Democrat/Union campaign in Wisconsin is the lack of even the hint of a positive agenda;  the recall campaigns carry not a whiff of moderation or centrism. Reflecting the fact that they are bankrolled by union bosses, Democrats are waging unabashed class warfare -- Us vs. Them: the Makers vs. the takers. If next Tuesday's recalls succeed, national Democrats are likely to be heavily influenced by the outcome going into 2012.

Even if Dems don’t take back the state senate in the end, it seems clear that the Wisconsin recall wars are shaping up as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the 2012 elections. Whatever happens, Wisconsin Dems have already succeeded in creating a true grassroots movement built around an unabashedly class-based set of themes that rely on a type of bare-knuckled class-warfare rhetoric that makes many national Dems queasy. In this sense, success in Wisconsin could offer a model for a more aggressive, populist approach for Dems in 2012.


​And while we are the issue of the new tone of politics, Nancy Pelosi's battle plan for 2012 is to demonize Tea party activists.

Stung by the outcome in Congress, Democrats are portraying the Tea Party as reckless extremists bent on destroying government. "If it was about the deficit, we can deal with it," Pelosi said Wednesday during a gathering with reporters in her office. "This is about destroying the public space.” Everything from clean air and water to national parks and food safety and regulation will be compromised if the Tea Party gets the draconian cuts it wants. Saying this is a “fragile ecosystem” that we have, Pelosi personalized what’s at stake, saying, "I'm a mom and a grandmother talking now. Don’t mess with that.”

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