By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 08, 2012 at 5:13 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

Lessons learned from the election.

  1. Voters want someone who has a vision for our future. Whether you agree or not, Scott Walker was able to articulate a vision. Tom Barrett never told us what his vision was. We suspected he didn't have one. You can't win an election anymore by just complaining about your opponent. You have to bring something to the table. A note to future candidates. We are not stupid. As a matter of fact we are getting smarter. You can't pull the wool over our eyes. You better have a compelling sense of what you think we should be and how you think we should get there.
  2.  Can somebody figure out a way to vote online? Or on smart phones. Or on both. I am sick of reading about these incompetent election officials and poll workers who continually end up short of ballots or forms. It can't be that difficult to vote some other way. I would bet that most people have either a computer or a smart phone. If you need to, we can still have polls open. But for God's sake if we can create a great online magazine like or a vast social network like Facebook, this should not be that hard.
  3. Tom Barrett is toast as far as a statewide office goes. He better be happier being mayor because that's about it. Barrett doesn't seem to really enjoy being mayor so it may be the private world of law for him. But he's run statewide three times and lost all three. Toast.
  4. Scott Walker said all the right things on election night. He talked about working with both sides for the good of Wisconsin. I hope he meant it. But like the old joke goes. How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. I'll believe it when I see it. One thing that will at least make him think about cooperation is that the State Senate has gone to Democratic control.
  5. Democrats better start looking right now for a candidate or two who can help revitalize the party. Madison firefighter Mahlon Mitchell had a respectable showing in the lieutenant governor's race. But despite his attractive personal story, he doesn't seem to have the fire you want in a candidate. It's not enough any longer to run on a platform of "I'll work to bring jobs to Wisconsin." You need at least some semblance of substance. I don't see any Democrats on the horizon that can take the reins of this party and begin to put up staunch opposition.
  6. Unions just don't have the clout they used to have. Once Kathleen Falk lost, the unions got behind Barrett. They spent millions and put thousands of volunteers on the ground. I got more visits and phone calls for Barrett than I've ever gotten for a candidate. But they couldn't pull it off. Time for somebody other than unions to take control of the Democratic Party.
  7. We need to do something about the recall process. I don't have hard evidence of this, but I bet there were lots of people who voted for Walker or didn't vote at all who thought the recall was ridiculous. I voted, but I agree with those people. If a governor, for example, was caught in a seedy hotel with a dead 14-year-old boy in bed with him, then I think recall is appropriate. But just because there are policy differences is not a reason to have a recall. This whole thing cost us millions and it all seemed so silly. We need to amend the recall provisions in the state constitution.
  8. It would not surprise me one bit if Mitt Romney picked Scott Walker to be his running mate. Romney makes the right wing of the Republic Party uncomfortable. Walker could go a long way toward calming that disquietude. Sure, Walker says he only wants to be governor, but when the vice president spot comes calling, hardly anyone ever says no.

That's it. We're done. For a while. We get a short breather from the onslaught of political commercials on television. But it will all start up again soon enough. So catch your breath as we get ready for what seems like a perpetual ride.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.