The political junkie in me is totally strung out today–too much news to discuss, so I’m hitting the larger themes.
Winners and Losers
I am not hiding the fact that I am thrilled, thrilled! at the victory of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the Union-backed recall effort to oust him from office. I would feel this way for any leader of principle who merely sought to deliver what he had promised to his constituents upon winning the election, then suffered a temper-tantrum from the Union strongholds, who were merely being asked to sacrifice like the rest of the state, but chose to instead mount a campaign to oust him. Well, the Unions lost spectacularly, and spent a lot of money doing so.
Both sides of the aisle are spinning it for their advantage, and the Left in particular is crying foul, “democracy died“, and blaming outside money and the 7-1 overspending of the Republican and Tea Party machines. I thought the Tea Party was dead?–psyched your mind!
It is interesting that those same liberals and leftists are not decrying the SuperPACs campaigning and collecting money for the Obama 2012 re-election or the deep pockets that President Obama is courting to contribute to his re-election coffers… but I digress.
For this transplanted Midwesterner from the freakishly blue state of Illinois to an even scarier blue state of California (both union strangleholds), this is just a huge coup. Signs of sanity are even evidencing themselves in Cali’s local elections: in a landslide vote, both San Jose and San Diego citizens approved ballot measures to cut pensions for city workers–so you know the dam is breaking. Now if it will only burst forth and wash Los Angeles in its reformist wake. I continue to hold out hope.
But back to Walker: that a leader says what he means, means what he says, and actually follows through with action is a rare thing to behold. But the greater fact that other people of principle rewarded Walker’s consistency, courage and stick-to-itedness by keeping him in office says volumes. And he won by a larger margin than he did in 2010! That’s something you aren’t hearing from the mainstream media outlets. Jonathan S. Tobin said it best: Courage Rewarded. Give it a read.
The Weekly Standard echoes this as well, but places the victory squarely where it belongs:
“Walker turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $154 million surplus. Unemployment is down. So are property taxes. Businesses, even with uncertainty about the U.S. economy, are optimistic about the direction of the state. Even with the political divisions, it’s hard to imagine a more successful 16 months as governor.
“Results matter. And that, more than anything else, explains why Scott Walker won.”
No matter what pundits have to say, it will have a resounding effect on the November elections and the political process at large. My sweet home Chicago Tribune attests to this in an editorial today:
“On Tuesday, a majority of the voters who for a year and a half have spent the most time weighing those sorts of numbers reaffirmed that they think their Wisconsin governments had grown too elephantine, too expensive.
“There’s another elephant in the room: Act 10 ended the compulsory collection of union dues by government employers. It turns out that when workers have a free choice of whether to keep paying, many decide that it isn’t worth the money. We were surprised last week by a Wall Street Journal report that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plummeted from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. At the American Federation of Teachers, 6,000 of 17,000 Wisconsin members have walked away.
“Drop-offs that stark have implications not only for the unions, but also for politicians who rely on union donations to fund their campaigns.” (emphasis mine)
Unions will be less of a piggy bank for political causes, because the very workers who fund their efforts will now have more of a voice on how their dues are used; and in some cases, will be able to choose to not retain union membership. That’s a big deal.
Because certain Angeleans continue to be useful idiots, the city will once again be subjected to a near traffic shutdown with yet another fundraising visit from our President. I continue to be thankful that I no longer work anywhere near the West side. Let the NIMBYs in Bev Hills and Brentwood have what they deserve!
I just love these Hitler videos. Speaks to both of my musings quite nicely.