Well, Tuesday’s voting nationally was both interesting and kind of fun, wasn’t it? Unless, of course, you are a liberal progressive, in which case the fun ended as soon as the results started rolling in.

Part of the fun for those of us on the right was as much in what the voting said about people’s views about current topics of debate as much as in the actual names and issues that prevailed in Wisconsin, Indiana and North Carolina — with a shout-out to the good folks in the hollers of West Virginia, where President Barack Obama won the contested Democratic primary with nearly two-thirds of the vote.

Of course, the rest of the vote — four in 10 of all those casting ballots — went to a man serving a sentence in federal prison in Texas for criminal threatening who got on the ballot by paying a $2,500 filing fee.

Still, Kevin Judd, also known by the more intimate nickname of “Inmate No. 11593-051,” wasn’t the president, and that was apparently enough to pile up the votes in the Mountaineer State — where, by the way, Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a former governor, declined to say whom he voted for after he cast his ballot. Both he and Gov. Earl Ray Tombin have so far refused to endorse Obama for re-election.

Manchin, who won a special election in 2010, is facing voters again this November, which may explain his reticence.

Meanwhile, North Carolinians continued the unbroken national practice of rejecting same-sex marriage whenever it comes to a popular vote by passing a constitutional amendment reinforcing a current state law defending traditional marriage. Mainers have a chance in November to keep the string going if they defeat a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage here.

The amendment got more than 60 percent of the vote, and furious Democrats are circulating a petition to shift the party’s national convention, now set for Charlotte, N.C., to another state.

That may have spurred Obama to flip-flop on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, casting aside his previous opposition in what appeared to be a move forced by internal dissent, in spite of its likely impact on black voters, who generally oppose same-sex marriage.

The big news, however, came in Indiana and Wisconsin. In the former, the tea party movement, which progressives have labeled “dead” simply because it has moved from marches to get-out-the-vote efforts, turned out thousands of volunteers to help defeat Sen. Dick Lugar, a 35-year Republican veteran whose votes for many causes favored by Democrats didn’t gain him much support.

Lugar, whose foreign policy voting record is far stronger than his domestic one, lost to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock by 20 points, a huge landslide.

Mourdock, who also was supported by the NRA (which gave Lugar an “F” for his anti-Second Amendment record) and the Club for Growth (which like the tea party is a low-tax, fiscal-responsibility lobby), won as a staunch fiscal and social conservative.

Will he be able to prevail in November in a state that went for Obama in 2008 (though by less than 1 percent of the vote)? Or will the economy lure people to the polls to vote for him who will also cast ballots for Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee?

Finally, the vote in Wisconsin, where Democrats picked a candidate to oppose budget-balancing GOP Gov. Scott Walker in a June recall election, also was revealing.

Democratic voters picked Tom Barrett, the fellow Walker defeated in 2010, to challenge him again, turning down Kathleen Falk, the candidate strongly backed by government-worker unions.

Walker earned the unions’ ire by supporting laws to restrict government unions’ collective bargaining conditions (sometimes miscalled “rights”) so that cities and school districts could balance their budgets without raising taxes on hard-pressed voters.

Many communities have since been able to produce fiscally sound budgets, while the state budget is balanced and unemployment is at a four-year low, which may explain something interesting about the turnout in the Badger State.

Which is this: While the petitions submitted to force the recall garnered 901,000 signatures, far more than the 540,000 needed, the number of people voting for all the candidates on the ballot in the Democratic primary totaled little more than 665,000.

And it’s even more interesting that Gov. Walker, who ran unopposed, got almost as many votes — nearly 627,000. As Wisconsin law professor and blogger Ann Althouse pointed out, that means that Walker garnered almost as many votes in an election he was guaranteed to win as his potential opponents got all together in a contested primary where unions spent heavily to support their chosen candidate. Who lost.

In a state where unions represent only 15 percent of the voting-age population, that doesn’t say much for their clout. But it might say something about how the vote next month will go.


M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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