I also have troubles blaming Obama for the mistakes of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Had union shops in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay put in as much effort as the union shops of Madison, the election would have almost certainly been won.
It might sound like I'm contradicting myself, but I don't blame Obama at all for how things came down. I don't think his appearing on the scene in WI in June would have changed the results. During the winter demonstrations, I actually think he'd have been a distraction. That was OUR time and our movement, not his.
I do think people will remember he did not show up, that's all, and it could weaken the support he gets come next elections.
Now, regarding how this election was mishandled by the WI Democratic party: I don't think they have a clue how to win anything in the 21st century. I don't know if the same criticism applies to the national party, but we'll certainly find out.
Elections are run on very sophisticated social engineering these days, and I think the utterly cynical Republican party has taken that engineering to extreme levels. They know not only how to divide and conquer, but also how to keep people whipped up over nothing, how to create a sense of team membership through creating a mutual enemy, and how to engage attention at a deep emotional level well beyond rational thinking. All this stuff comes from applied social and psychological research, which is available to anybody but is being used as a tool -- with the results to show it works -- by just one party.
Look around here for some great examples. We have people posting who plainly can't put together two sentences or two thoughts about their belief systems, their political and social philosophies, their intended goals (beyond world domination, of course), their beliefs about political economics, or much of anything. But they're voters, they're energized, and apparently they've got a whole lot of company if you look at the election results. Somebody's got their number, and it isn't somebody who's looking out for their interests. It's somebody who knows how to play them.
The Democratic Party -- or somebody -- has to get up to speed here. One team is playing with lasers and the other with flashlights.