Bad sequel: Walker might win this after all

This was supposed to have been a lot more inspiring. And barring that, it should have at least been entertaining. Remember the 2003 California gubernatorial recall? An adult film star ran, for God’s sake. And a pornographer. And a prop comic who crushed watermelons for a living. And a former child actor best known for saying, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” Too bad they weren’t all the same person, because that would have still made a lot more sense than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Unfortunately, all we’ve got is Doug La Follette, a kind old man who, at worst, is mildly eccentric. And Kathleen Vinehout, who apparently is running for viceroy of the northwoods.

So what does it all come down to? Tom Barrett vs. Kathleen Falk. Based on current polling, I’m assuming Barrett awakens as the nominee Wednesday morning.

The campaign thus far has been a model of decorum and gentility, and yet the candidates somehow seem less and less satisfying by the day. Is it possible that we need the white-hot crucible of negative campaigning to rouse the humors and inspire devotion for our nominees? Or is it just that these candidates are incapable of rousing much of anything? Falk seems more the firebrand – and as In Business’ esteemed editorial director, Joseph “Joey the Pen” Vanden Plas, points out, she seems more on message than her opponents, at least when it comes to the putative reason for the recall, which is Walker’s attack on public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Tom Barrett, on the other hand, is a nice older man who is not Scott Walker.

Unfortunately, a new Marquette University Law School poll released just last week would have us believe that Falk is basically dead in the water, trailing Barrett by 17 percentage points with just days to go. It also suggests that Barrett wins on the electability question, battling Walker to a dead heat while Falk trails the governor by about 7 percentage points.

Hey, it’s time to start throwing Hail Marys, Kathleen. If you happen to have any compromising photos of Tom Barrett lounging in a copse of rose bushes with one or both of the Koch brothers, now’s the time to use them. If not, it’s probably not too late to brush up on your Photoshop skills. And don’t forget to add the gimp mask and ball gag, because anything less will probably be too little, too late. Otherwise, enjoy retirement.

That most likely leaves us with Scott Walker vs. Tom Barrett. In other words, it basically comes down to voting for either Darth Vader or C3PO. I guess you have to go with C3PO, but it would have been nice had Luke, Han, or Leia decided to show up. I just can’t picture C3PO blowing up the Death Star. Can you?

On second thought, that’s a bad analogy. In reality, the Walker/Barrett matchup is a lot more like the Star Wars prequels than the original movies. Campaign 2010 was kind of like The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. The main character is this unlikable, dopey kid who you just know is going to turn evil one day. Meanwhile, the “good” characters are forgettable milquetoast nobodies, the movies go on forever, the plot gets muddled, and everyone just hopes against hope that there’ll somehow be a satisfying conclusion to it all. Then Revenge of the Sith comes out (i.e., The Recall), the same goofy, boring characters are back, evil wins, and you suddenly realize that’s the end of Star Wars forever. Thanks for coming. Grab a box of Milk Duds on the way out and enjoy the rest of your summer.

I’m still hoping the Democrats can pull it off. After all, they’re running against Darth Vader. How can you not win when you’re running against Darth Vader? (Answer: Fail to find a candidate who can beat him.)

Unfortunately, when it comes right down to it, what this election is really about is trying to force audiences to love Jar Jar Binks. We’ll see if Barrett has the midichlorian count to pull it off.

We can only hope so. In the end, though, he may have to play the mullet card.

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