Monday, January 31, 2011

Herb Kohl Makes 2012 a Little More Boring

Did you really think Kohl was going to retire?
Kohl, who will be 77 years old on Election Day next year, had been the subject of retirement rumors because of his age and near empty war chest. He finished the third quarter of 2010 with less than $26,000 in his campaign account.
OK ...

All that remains is to determine the GOP's sacrificial lamb: Ed Thompson? Dave Westlake? Robert Lorge (again)? I know Republicans don't want to encourage her, but I think this is a perfect job for Terri McCormick. She's the ideal candidate for this type of suicide mission: she possesses an outrageous surplus of self-confidence, is completely oblivious to her own faults, closes any distance between her and a camera like Sherman marched to the sea and runs a campaign like Leona Helmsley ran a hotel. If that's not a recipe for electoral magic, then I don't know what is.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ron Johnson, Appropriator

This week Ron Johnson was appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the one in charge of spending the taxpayer money that makes the government work. It's one of the most powerful cliques in Washington and a seat at its table immediately wins one many new friends, all of whom are looking for a piece of the federal pie.

Like every other member of the Senate, members of the Appropriations committee can earmark federal funds for various projects in their home states (and, less frequently, in others). Often times these earmarks are co-sponsored with other legislators, but sometimes the earmarks are sponsored by a single member. Not surprisingly, when folks hear stories about "pork projects" it usually involves an solo-sponsored earmark.

Between FY 2008-10 the 23 Senators that held seats on the Appropriations committee during the 111th Congress* made 2526 solo earmark requests to the tune of $3,832,501,273. That comes out to about $166,630,490.13 per member.

If we look at the break down of the committee along partisan line, the numbers look like this:
1602 total Democratic earmarks

100 per member

Total Dems: $2,280,152,098

$142,509,506.16 per member
And for the GOP:
924 total Republican earmarks

132 per member

Total GOP: $1,552,349,175

$221,764,167.86 per member
Let me just reiterate that these are requests. The numbers don't reflect earmark money that actually made it to the various states.

As you can see, Republican appropriators on the committee weren't stingy with their earmark requests, despite the emergence of the tea party's jihad against the practice. Only one member of the committee requested zero earmark dollars -- even though he requested one solo-sponsored earmark. That member was actually Democrat Mark Pryor.

If we throw in earmarks that are co-sponsored by colleagues, these figures blow-up. Let's use Sen. Richard Shelby as an example. If we add up all the earmark requests he made with other legislators the final tally jumps from 202 to 437 at a cost of $922,767,950 or about double the size of his solo projects. This is pretty emblematic of every member's earmarking activity.

I bring this up because Johnson made earmark reform a staple of his campaign and has promised to eliminate them once in office. Here's the problem: it will be nearly impossible to do this while sitting on the Appropriations committee, especially since Sen. Kohl is also a member. If someone from Wisconsin approaches Johnson to make a case for an earmark and is rebuffed, that party can now just go straight down the hall and make the same case to Herb Kohl. If Kohl manages to accommodate said party, Johnson looks ineffective. It doesn't matter that Johnson denied the request on ideological grounds, at the end of the day the petitioner will only care about the results.

Johnson has boxed himself into a corner with his spending rhetoric. If he flinches and gives in to an earmark request he looks foolish, if not downright hypocritical. There would be no acceptable excuse, there would be no way to spin such a move. If he manages to hold his ground against earmarks, how can he then come back to Wisconsin and say "I've made your federal tax dollars work for you"? What will he be able to point as tangible evidence of his successes in Washington?

Right now Wisconsin is a donor state in terms of federal taxes dollars. Between 1981-2005, Wisconsin contributed $567 billion dollars to federal coffers while only receiving $472 billion back. That's 83 cents on the dollar. Our contribution is in 9th among the states even though we rank 20th in population. In terms of what we get back from Uncle Sam, Wisconsin ranks 43rd.

Now if you're inclined to look at those numbers as yet another example of how the feds screw the taxpayer consider this: Alabama has 900,000 fewer residents than Wisconsin (ranking 23rd in population) and yet sits all the way down at 47th in terms of tax contributions while receiving $1.44 for every dollar they send to Washington. DC is working over time for Alabama.

Some might look at this disparity and say that it's unfair. Others might suggest that this is just part of living in a republic -- Alabama, after all, does do things for Wisconsin. But what everyone should take away from this exercise is that the money Wisconsin does get back from Washington is important, way too important to have our representatives refusing it.

Johnson is all but certain to sponsor an earmark sometime in the near future. He may not be the only one sponsoring it, but even a co-sponsorship will warrant an avalanche of justified criticism. It's only a matter of time.

* To make the math easier I included FY2008 in the totals, even though some members of the Appropriations committee didn't hold seats until FY2009. Totals for each committee member can be found in the comment section. Figures via Legistorm.

Ayn Rand, Welfare Queen

Why am I not surprised?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned is brought to you by the Kansas Leader & Times:

This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

[via G]

Sen. Johnson's Health Care Gamble

I'm actually surprised that this hasn't recieved more attention, but this weekend Sen. Johnson was on Mike Gousha's show fielding questions about the passage of a potential Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate this term. Here's what he said:
“My guess if we actually held a vote is you might be surprised how many Democrats just might join Republicans and vote to repeal,” Johnson said.
It's important to parse words here. Johnson qualifies his statement with an "if" because he knows repeal is never coming to a vote. The GOP needs 13 Dem defections just to break a likely filibuster that would prevent a vote and they're not going to get that. Of the 24 senators that are up for re-election in 2012 only Sen. Manchin hasn't done any of the heavy lifting that actually passed the law in the first place. Everyone else is on the hook and risks looking like a flip-flopper.

So, no, there will probably be no Democrats join Republicans to repeal the bill.

What's more is that the GOP might actually have more to lose should the repeal bill make it's way to the Senate floor. While Johnson was chatting with Gousha, Sen. Chuck Schumer was on Face the Nation explaining just what kind of shit show that would look like:
On CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Schumer, a New York Democrat, applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "wisely" saying he would not bring the repeal bill to the floor.

But he added that if the repeal measure did come up, Democrats would force a vote on every individual provision in the health care bill - including those provisions which many Americans (and some Republicans) have publicly supported.

"Mitch McConnell has the right to offer an amendment," Schumer said of the Senate Minority Leader, who has vowed to force a vote on the repeal. "If he does, if the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular, and that even some of the new Republican House Members have said they support.

"Are Republicans going to vote 'no' on a provision to maintain the donut hole benefits so that seniors pay less for prescription drugs? Are they going to vote against the ability of 21- to 26-year-olds to stay on their parents' health care? Are they going to vote to repeal … the free check-ups that seniors on Medicare get which save billions of dollars in prevention?" Schumer asked CBS' Bob Schieffer.
That would change the equation dramatically and force Johnson to support or reject very specific policies instead of just continuing to blast the nebulous umbrella of "Obamacare."

Johnson seems animate about getting people on the record about ACA:
Freshman Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, of Oshkosh, said it is important for the Senate to vote to put supporters of repeal and those against it on record."The passing of Obamacare is the single greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime," Johnson said. "It will destroy our health care system. We simply cannot afford Obamacare."
That kind of rhetoric cuts both ways. Johnson's entire career as a Senator hinges on repealing ACA. If four or five years from now Obamacare is still the law of the land then Johnson will look like a pretty piss poor defender of freedom. That's a huge gamble to make. Legislation is hard to pass for numerous reasons, but one of frequently ignored consequences of that fact is that it's equally hard to repeal.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Does Ron Johnson's first Op-ed Piece Tell Us?

The short answer: he needs better ghost-writers.

The MJS gave Johnson some real estate in their august pages to fir the junior Senator to "welcome" President Obama to the Badger State and the results are ... remarkably vapid.

The piece takes the form of an open letter, a stylistic method that only works in two circumstances: 1.) when the author has absolutely no ability to otherwise communicate to the intended "reader" and 2.) when the author wants to speak disingenuously to the "reader" to the amusement of the wider audience. Since the op-ed is neither informative nor entertaining I can only asume that President Obama isn't taking Johnson phone calls yet. I know that the author was trying to make Johnson look like he was standing up to power and the authority of a political rival, but he missed the mark by a wide margin and effectively made the Senator look small and insignificant.

Moving on, the second paragraph is doused in economic statistics, which are essential the national "sales figures" of this presentation. Everyone knows you never kick off with sales figures. It's like digging a moat filled with alligators in front of a brick wall covered in razor wire around your central argument.

Not that there much of a central argument to find in Johnson's essay. The piece is clearly about the economy's ill, after all there is this diagnosis half way through: "Our economy is stagnant because consumers and businesses rightfully lack confidence in government policy." OK, but which policy is undermining consumer confidence? Is inflation and monetary? government spending? debt? regulation? Any one of these issues are complicated enough to devote 570 words to, but instead we get a grab bag of economic concerns that aren't put in any order.

Then we get this graph:
The solution is to show consumers and businesses that Washington understands the problem and has the courage to address it honestly and forthrightly. We must pursue policies that will first limit and then begin to reduce the size, scope and cost of government.
Great ... like what? Johnson doesn't endorse any legislation or even recommend levels of acceptable government involvement in the economy. What we do get is: "America is exceptional - it is precious." Precious? Really? Is there any way to display pride and patriotism without sounding like Gollum from Lord of the Rings?

So why no details? One would hope they are forthcoming, but the more likely answer is that this op-ed is merely part of a larger effort to get Johnson out of his media cocoon. Johnson was on Mike Gousha's show last weekend discussing a host of issues (more on that in posts to follow) and it's a good bet that we'll be seeing more of him in local outlets shortly. It's easier to do this in the Wisconsin media than it is in the Washington media.

MORE: A shorter, non-open-letter -- and, thus, more effective version -- of this piece ran at RCP today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peter King has His Moments

Well played:

In the summer of 1989, a small-college tight end from Baker (Kansas) University came home to Pittsburgh to begin a coaching career. He found his way onto the staff at the University of Pittsburgh as an unpaid grad assistant. To support himself, he worked the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift in the toll booth at Exit 5 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (the Allegheny Valley exit), 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. His dad, a firefighter, police officer and bar owner near a dying steel mill, raised him to be tough, respectful, hard-working and -- a Steeler fan. Which he was, loving the Steelers as a teenager when they won their four Super Bowls in the '70s.

The toll-taker, Mike McCarthy, will try to break the hearts of everyone back home.

From the Dept. of Awesome Photos

That's hero punter Tim Masthay during last summer's training camp.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mind-boggling Stat of the Day

Not good, by nearly every measure:
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in the country; since then, the number has dwindled to 400,000.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just a Ton of Packers/Bears Commentary

Here's a week's worth of commentary on Sunday's big game with Bears.

You're welcome.
A Revolting Thought, Micheal Wilbon
Rogers Beats Cutler in a Cage Match, Rick Morrissey
Halas Helped Save Packers, Davide Haugh
Once More into the Breach, Tim Leyaden
Expect Defense to Dominate in Packers-Bears; 10 Things to Watch, Peter King
You Have to Hear These Fan Stories, Wayne Drehs
Ex-Packer Matt Bowen will Always Remember Packers-Bears, Matt Bowen
Starks has Grown into Role of Leading Ball Carrier, Tom Silvertein
James Starks in a Bears Uniform? It Nearly Happened on Draft Day, JJ Cooper
Packers are Good, but don't get Overconfident, Dave Begel
Rooting, Love Interests Collide in Packers-Bears Rivalry, Bob Petrie
Bears-Packers Rivalry Leads to Split Loyalties in Families, Joseph Bustos
Packer Parents in Bears County Cheer on the Packers, Stacey Baca
Packers Fans at Waukegan School take a Ribbing and Keep on Ticking, Dan Moran
A Little Slice of Cheeseland in Lakeview, Steve Johnson
6 Unusual Ways the Bears can Gain an Edge on the Packers, Uden Franklin
Vince Lombardi Would have Loved this Homegrown Packers Bunch, Don Banks
Governors Bet on Bears-Packers Game, Patrick Tricker
Trash Talk: Packers, Bears Fans Swap Stories, Wausau Daily Herald
Even the Church Betting on the Packers, WHBL
Bears Fans Weary under the Razor of their Packers Fan Barber, Amy Alderman
Obama says He's Going to the SuperBowl -- if the Chicago Bears are There, Michael Memoli
Bears to the Left, Packers to the Right; Two Local Bars Stuck in the Middle, Joe Vince
A Bear and a Meat Packer Meet in an Alley, Joe Sinopoli
Five Things to Watch: Pears-Packers, Michael Wright
Meet the Bears' Secret Weapon, Ben Bowman
Packer Fans take Team Pride to the Extreme, Tony Walter
Ticket-holder Since '33 Remembers Last Packers-Bears Playoff Game, WXOW
Analysis: Packers Offense Finishes Strong (Except Against the Bears), Sports Nation
Devin Hester to Write a Monthly Column for Chicago Parent Magazine, Liz Hoffman
Ted Thompson Owes Skippy Bayless a Cockpunch, Drew Magary
A Fat People's History of the Packer's Bears Rivalry, Christmas Ape
A Key Plot Point in 'A-Packer-lypse Now,' Steve Rosenbloom
Packers-Bears III, Wayne Larrivee
Eleven Memorable Games in Packers-Bears History, Steve Leventhal

Taxes We Can All Fjord?

A 2010 study released by the U.S. Small Business Administration reported a similar result: Although America remains near the top of the world in terms of entrepreneurial aspirations -- that is, the percentage of people who want to start new things—in terms of actual start-up activity, our country has fallen behind not just Norway but also Canada, Denmark, and Switzerland.


And so the case of Norway—one of the most entrepreneurial, most heavily taxed countries in the world—should give us pause. What if we have been wrong about taxes? What if tax cuts are nothing like weapons or textbooks? What if they don't matter as much as we think they do?
Fascinating stuff.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Priebus vs. the Tea Party

Making the rounds today is a story at Politico on Reince Priebus relationship with the various Wisconsin Tea Party Factions. A number of different tea party leaders are quoted in the piece -- and if you didn't know them, you'd probably be inclined to think they were all cut-and-dry grassroots activist folk. Alas, this is not the case -- so without further ado here's some context behind the quoters.
  • Mike Murphy, Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus
He's obviously not an RP fan:

“Priebus will do whatever it takes to co-opt the tea party movement,” said Mike Murphy, chairman of a tea party-allied 527 group called The Republican Liberty Caucus of Wisconsin, founded in late 2009.

In the midterm elections, Murphy’s group supported tea party candidates, including some who were undercut by the state GOP, which largely ignored long-shot tea party candidates and endorsed the primary rivals of others at its May convention — months before the primary election.

“He didn’t allow for conservative voices that didn’t jibe with the establishment view and if he charges down that course (at the RNC), the tea party people will wake up and it may very well split up the Republican Party” coalition that powered the GOP’s 2010 landslide, said Murphy.

The Liberty Caucus is basically the plaything of Terri McCormick, the one-time state legislator, infrequent congressional candidate and all-around hellion who has butted heads and alienated her GOP overlords continuously in the past. McCormick is almost universally loathed by every ranking Republican in the state: Jim Sensenbrenner hate her. Paul Ryan hates her. WPRI hates her. Talk radio hates her. Former state GOP vice chairmen hate her ... and if you want to know why, just mosey on over here.

So when Murphy says "tea party people" he really means "my fellow Terri McCormick acolytes," which are very few and far between. Any prognostications and/or threats that come from Murphy should be taken with a proverbial grain of salt.

  • Jake Speed, Chairman of the La Crosse Liberty Coalition
This might actually be the largest online tea party group in the state with close to 200 members. Speed does a respectable job keeping the conversation moving at a brisk pace at his web site and is apparently quite active with events, and what have you. There are a number of elected officials who claim membership to the group, including the former Speaker of the state assembly and recently appointed Secretary of Administration, Mike Heubsch. If there's any tea party leader in Wisconsin who seems to have bridged the gap between grassroots and GOP establishment, it looks like it's been Speed.

One quick note: Speed was once pretty antagonistic towards the GOP establishment (see here, for example), but now that he appears to have a seat at the table seems much comfortable towing the party line.
  • Mark Block, formerly of AFP Wisconsin
Block's motives are as dubious as they are ambitious. As ringleader of the tea party astroturf circus here in Wisconsin, he got around plenty and spent money like it wasn't his (because, you know, it actually belonged to Koch Industries). In the early days of the tea parties, Block's group gave 9/11 truthers speaking spots at their rallies, so long as they agreed with other parts of AFP's agenda, so it's safe to say that Block is less concerned with substance than he is with presentation.

As the article points out, Block has left AFP to captain the U.S.S. Lusitania Herman Cain, presumably because (a.) Cain has a ton of money to throw around, (b.) isn't expected to win more than a dozen votes and (c.) still has to deal with the same media and political people that real candidates have to work with, thus providing Block with a wonderful opportunity to pad his Roledex.

Basically, Block is to grassroots organizing in the same proportion that pornography is to human intimacy.
Dake is still something of a mystery to me. Aside from dining with the newly elected RNC chair he also frequents the blog of fellow Grandson of Liberty, Capt. Karl, where he leaves words of encouragement and motivation. While that's certainly a neighborly thing to do, Capt. Karl is about as seriously disturbed as they come. He's a full-blown conspiracy theorist who has bought into some of the strangest urban myths we've ever heard and was so unhinged that last Christmas his wife walked out on him, taking the kids to a local domestic abuse shelter because she believed him to be "some sort of a threat to all of mankind because of my great concern for our country, economy and our liberty."

Dake's cameo in the Politico piece is rather telling:

Dake credited Preibus with supporting an effort by tea party activists who attended last year’s GOP state convention to add a plank to the party platform pushing for Wisconsinites to be allowed to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

“This was a very bold move on the Wisconsin GOP’s part, and it was done with Reince’s blessing, so he was clearly listening to a significant percentage of the tea partiers who felt that this was something that we were overdue for,” said Dake.

He conceded, though, that at that same convention “a lot of people were upset” by the party’s decision to buck 30 years of tradition by tendering endorsements nearly four months before the state’s Sept. 14 primary election.

“I talked with Reince about that shortly afterwards and I told him it feels like you guys are circumventing the will of the people on picking their own candidates,” said Dake. “And his argument was this is something internal to the party.”

So basically if you pay Dake some lip service with a meaningless addition to the party platform and have lunch with him every now and then, he really won't object to a blatant steamrolling of grassroots activists by the establishment come convention time.

It's really no wonder Priebus had a relatively easy time working with the tea party folks here in Wisconsin: some of these guys really aren't that bright.

Which brings us to the last two tea party leaders to show up at the end of the piece:
The RRP provided Wisconsin with one of the most excruciating hour's of the '10 election when they invited Ron Johnson to a meet and greet which they filmed for posterity. Many of the questions they asked were nutty, but now Sen. Johnson's performance was so disastrous that the campaign immediately scrapped its grassroots strategy and canceled similar events with other tea party groups.

Horvatin is probably the closest thing that Zack Speed has to an organizational equal within the Wisconsin Tea Party crew, but, as the example above demonstrates, the RRP are far more independent and less likely to acquiesce to WisGOP marching orders. The RRP was much more enthusiastic about Johnson's primary challenger Dave Westlake, and seemed justifiably miffed when Johnson secured the party endorsement less than a week after entering the race, prior to which he was completely unknown in state politics.

Some of these tea party folks, at least, have pretty good instincts when it comes to that nagging feeling that they are being played for fools.
Van Doren also brings up the GOP endorsements at the convention, for like the 83rd time in the article, which begs a question the author, unfortunately, didn't bother to ask: why did the state GOP break with tradition and endorse candidates last year when it was experiencing such a surge in grassroots activity?

The answer: precisely because there was such a surge in grassroots activity.

The closest thing to a competitive primary race last year was the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, where Mark Neumann ran an insurgent campaign that threatened to derail establishment Golden Boy Scott Walker's coronation. By endorsing Walker the state party was able to marshal resources and money to fending off Neumann's bid, which proved somewhat necessary in the waning days of the primary when Neumann seemed to be giving Walker a run for his money. All of this was orchestrated by Priebus (a Walker ally) and Co., which makes Van Doren's comment at the end of the article all the more telling:

Ken Van Doren, who is active in the Wisconsin branch of the Ron Paul-affiliated Campaign for Liberty said tea partiers won’t support the RNC and its candidates if they see Priebus fostering “this closed country club-type atmosphere. We have an opportunity to enlarge the tent, but if we’re only going to look out for the insiders, the big money people, the party is done.”

Van Doren grudgingly acknowledged that Priebus “didn’t lash out against the tea party publicly the way the heads of parties in other states did.” But Van Doren added “I always had the feeling that behind the scenes he was working against our interests.”

You think?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Also Took My Wife to a Demolition Derby for Our First Date...

Feel the romance!
Priebus’s appearance at the House Republican retreat signaled his desire to build a better relationship between the RNC and elected congressional leaders. He was introduced by fellow Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and told the crowd that his first date with his wife was at a Lincoln Day dinner with Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.
The idea of Tex Sensenbrenner chaperoning anyone's first date is kinda creepy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This may be the single most incredible paragraph you will read all year:
As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported in an excellent 2009 story on Glock, the company's success might also be due to some questionable business practices. The company has come under fire, in a manner of speaking, for making secret political contributions. It has also been accused of dodging taxes and regulations through shell corporations. (Because the company is based in Europe and is privately held, it does not need to disclose nearly as much sales or legal information as a public U.S. company.) Corporate intrigue and violence are part of the picture, too. Gaston Glock's former business associate, a man occasionally known as "Panama Charly," is currently incarcerated in Luxembourg, convicted of taking out a hit on his boss in 1999. (The hitman was a former professional wrestler and, bizarrely, the attempt came not with a handgun but with a large rubber mallet to the head. Glock survived.)
Panama Charly? ... Hitman? ... Former professional wrestler? ... A large rubber mallet?

Go to the link and read the story. It's as good as advertised.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More is Apparently Less ... When it Comes to Regulation

There are so many layers of bullshit to this story it's really hard to know where to start:
A regulatory reform bill proposed Tuesday by Gov. Scott Walker would place new restrictions on wind development and calls for a special exemption for a Neenah-based businessman and contributor to Walker's gubernatorial campaign.
So right off that bat we've got Walker increasing regulations -- even though he ran an entire campaign claiming that just such regulations were "job killers," etc. -- whilst carving a convenient exemption, and likely competitive advantage, for a contributor.

All hail the "free market"!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Bizarre Wisconsin Connection to the Tucson Shootings

Oh, great:
Jared Lee Loughner’s rants about grammar and mind control track closely to the writings of a conspiracy theorist who believes that is how the government controls the populace, one leading group says – and the man tells POLITICO he agrees with some of Loughner’s statements.

The far-right activist, David Wynn Miller, said in a telephone interview that he didn’t know Loughner, but agreed with his statement in a YouTube video that “the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”

“Absolutely I would agree with it,” said Miller, 62, a former tool-and-die maker from Milwaukee who claims 1 billion “students” worldwide.

This Miller dude is a piece of work. Here's what the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL have to say about him. Here's a Cap Times article discussing accusations of brainwahing against Miller. The obligatory Wiki page. Miller's own crazy, crazy website, which -- of course -- is written in all caps.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The First Walker Favorability Poll

From PPP:
Some of the newly elected Governors- Rick Scott in Florida in particular but also John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin- are not particularly popular though.


Walker and Kasich both have worse numbers than they did in our polls right before the election. Walker's favorability is a 41/49 spread and Kasich's is 36/40. One key reason for the disparity? We're now polling all registered voters in the states, not just 2010 likely voters as we were the last three months before the election. There was a steep drop in Democratic turnout compared to 2008 in both of those states that was a key part of the Republican victories and those Democrats who didn't vote aren't real big on their new Governors.

Only 12% of Democrats in Ohio have a favorable opinion of Kasich compared to 65% with an unfavorable one. And in Wisconsin just 7% rate Walker favorably to 85% with a negative opinion. They don't have anywhere close to the sort of crossover appeal that folks like Sandoval and Mead do, and as a result they don't go into office particularly popular.
Yeah, it's a Dem polling firm and blah blah blah, but numbers are numbers and these are first of Walker's term.