On, Wisconsin! (Update: We’ve Got Two; One Still Undecided)

I’m going to update this post with whatever news comes in from the Wisconsin recall elections. Comment away.

There is news that voter turnout is good. It’s “steady” to “higher than normal.” At polling places in Baraboo, voters complained about activists hanging around polling places and intimidating them, but the news story doesn’t say which activists were doing the intimidating.

Update: Somewhat O/T, but it’s my blog — the new GOP chair blames President Obama for a drop in GOP popularity.

See also Greg Sargent, “Wisconsin recall fight ends where it began: With a Big Lie” and Nate Silver, “Reading the Wisconsin Recall Vote.” Nate warns that the polling in Wisconsin could be unreliable.

Update: The polls are closed!

Update: It’s too early to call races, but you can find vote count updates at TPM.

Update: The District 2 race has been called for the Republican, Robert Cowles, but this is a seat that had been expected to stay Republican.

Update: The District 10 race also has been called for the Republican, Sheila Harsdorf. This was the other race that had been expected to stay Republican. Of the remaining four races, two are expected to go to Dems and two are a toss up.

Update: Dems currently are ahead in three races, but lots of districts haven’t reported yet.

Update: District 14 has been called for Republican Luther Olsen, which means three of the six districts will stay Republican. This was a district the Dems had hoped to win. In two uncalled districts the Dems are leading pretty well, although there are lots of votes T

Update: We got one. District 32 has been declared for the Democrat, Jennifer Shilling.

Update: Dems are leading in the two remaining races.

Update: We got another one! Democrat Jessica King is the projected winner in District 18.

Update: OK, folks, there is one district remaining, and everyone says it could be a few hours before the race is called. This is the race between Democrat Sandy Pasch and Republican Alberta Darling. Right now, the Democrat is up 52 to 48 percent with 67 percent of the vote counted.

The same district that lost and then found 14,000 votes for the Republican Supreme Court candidate in April has not reported at all yet. This district is supposed to go heavily for Darling, which could wipe out Pasch’s lead. So this one’s a nail biter that may not be decided tonight. So I’m going to bed.

Stuff to Read

Several of you have mentioned Drew Westen’s “What Happened to Obama?” in the comments. I thought Westen made some good points, but in some places he overstated his case and his arguments were weakly supported. I don’t have to write a lengthy analysis, however, because others have done it for me:

I’m siding with the critics on this one, but y’all discuss among yourselves.

Elsewhere — Someone on the right must have started a rumor that George “The Bogyman” Soros made $1 billion on the S&P downgrade. The Daily Mail picked this up as actual news, although (as you see if you read the entire story) there is no evidence whatsoever that Soros made so much as a penny on the downgrade.

The theory is that Soros had “inside information” because of his much-overstated ties to the Obama Administration. But there is no evidence the Obama Administration had “inside information” either and knew about the downgrade until a few hours before S&P publicly announced it. The alleged investment was made last month, the Daily Mail says. Of course, several rightie bloggers embraced the rumor as a cold, hard fact and have already indicted Soros; see Tbogg for a rundown.

Susan Page of the alleged newspaper USA Today — which for some time has consisted mostly of re-writes of GOP and rightie think tank press releases — notes with wonder that the President’s approval rating remains at or above 50 percent in 16 states and DC. Note the blurb picked up from the article as auto-generated at Memorandum:

Not subtle. The article itself speculates that 2012 will be another “wave” election that causes a substantial change in the political lineup in Washington, but in which direction the wave will hit it will not speculate. See also the Booman:

The Republicans are succeeding in weakening the president, but they’re making themselves even weaker in the process. I can’t say for sure that this past weekend was a pivotal moment, but I think we may look back on it as the point in time when something snapped. It’s like the Republicans kept pushing on a door, and pushing and pushing some more, with the idea that they were getting rewarded for bad behavior. But all the time the tension was rising and the resistance was building, until the door snapped back in their faces and sent them sprawling.

The presidency has a reputation for being stronger than it is in reality, and the Republicans rejoice in making Obama look impotent in any way that they can. They hold his appointments. They filibuster everything. They refuse to compromise on almost anything. This infuriates liberals and progressives who have big hopes and dreams and can’t understand why they’re not coming true. We all begin infighting and blaming each other. The public gets disgusted with the whole spectacle and starts to believe government is worthless. And the GOP benefits coming and going.

This is why I keep saying that progressives need to stop whining about Obama. Forget Obama; the job right now is to change public opinion and give people a clue what’s going on. Otherwise, in a couple of years we’re going to find even more whackjob teabaggers in Congress.

And I think the results in Wisconsin today could have an impact on the momentum of the 2012 campaigns. Go Wisconsin!

Update: Here’s one more answer to Drew Westen — John Sides, “Mischaracterizing FDR to Indict Obama.”