The Wisconsin saga ends in a tremendous victory over the left

Tim W. writes:

Your coverage of the riots in Britain has been excellent. But amidst all the bad news, here’s some very good news: Republicans in Wisconsin maintained control of the state senate in a series of recall elections on Tuesday.

In the 2010 election, voters put Republican Scott Walker in office accompanied by GOP majorities in both houses of the legislature. Wisconsin is one of many states where public sector unions are bleeding the state dry. Walker proposed curtailing the power and benefits granted to these unions. Democratic senators fled the state for a while in an attempt to keep Walker’s proposal from passing by denying the Republicans a quorum. This was accompanied by marches, sit-ins, and threats from the usual leftist groups. At a time when conservatives were being instructed to tone down their non-existent dangerous rhetoric, all types of threats were made against Walker and the GOP, including a male Democratic legislator angrily screaming “You’re dead!” at a female GOP legislator after she voted for the Walker proposal.

Once the bill passed, the left vowed to unseat State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, a Republican who was scheduled for a retention vote. Millions of dollars in union and Soros-type funds poured into the state to attack Prosser in vicious ads. Prosser was retained despite the attack ads and a hostile media. The left then vowed to use the recall process to boot enough senators from office to return the body to Democrat control. They selected six GOP senators from districts Obama had carried in 2008. Again, tens of millions of dollars were spent on attack ads, and the media tilted overwhelmingly in favor of the left. But they again came up short. They unseated two senators, one of whom had been elected in a fluky election in the liberal college town of LaCrosse, the other being a senator involved in a sex scandal who only narrowly lost (and wouldn’t have without the scandal), The other four easily survived, so the GOP retained senate control.

Had all this happened a few years ago, the left would certainly have won in a “progressive” unionized state like Wisconsin. But the Tea Party matched them on the ground. It wasn’t the GOP establishment that saved the day. It was the Tea Party which got voters to go out and vote in off-season elections, more than matching the anger, money, and media driving the left. No wonder the media and the left are determined to destroy the Tea Party movement.

- end of initial entry -

August 17

LA writes:

The New York Times had a bizarre, Orwellian editorial the day after the Wisconsin recall elections calling them a victory for the Democrats and a warning to Republicans:

August 10, 2011
Wisconsin’s Warning to Union-Busters

Five months after Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pushed through a law stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, the Republican Party has paid a price. Two of the state senators who backed the law were thrown out of office by voters on Tuesday and replaced with Democrats. Mr. Walker’s opponents did not succeed in turning over the Senate, but it was still an impressive response to the governor’s arrogant overreach.

Recall elections are extremely difficult to win; only two had succeeded in the state in the last 80 years. The districts lean Republican, and getting people to turn out in an unusual off-year election is always a struggle. Had Democrats won one more district, they would control the Senate, but they were also trying to send a warning to Republican lawmakers around the country who are trying to break public employee unions. In that, they succeeded.

Republicans will not admit this, but the numbers showed significant strength for Democrats even in the districts they lost—strength that could grow if lawmakers continue cutting spending and taxes while reducing the negotiating rights of working families. In one rural senatorial district that had not elected a Democrat in a century, the Democratic candidate reached 48 percent of the vote. Another race was also close, and as Nate Silver noted in The Times, the overall results suggest that a contemplated statewide recall of Mr. Walker himself would be too close to call. (Two Democrats face recalls next week.)

Mr. Walker and his colleagues tried to paint the unions as unwilling to sacrifice a bit of their pensions and health benefits in rough fiscal times. It was heartening to see more than 160,000 Wisconsin voters reject that false notion. The unions had already agreed to significant concessions on both; what the Republicans really wanted was to break their organizing ability by ending bargaining on anything except wages and limiting raises to inflation.

The measure they enacted, which would block withholding of union dues from state employees’ paychecks, was aimed solely at labor’s political power and had nothing to do with the state budget. But Tuesday’s vote proved that the unions and the middle-class voters who support them remain a potent force.

It was probably a stretch for union supporters to go after six incumbent senators, rather than concentrate their forces on the most vulnerable. Nonetheless, voters around the country who oppose the widespread efforts to undermine public unions—largely financed by corporate interests—should draw strength from Tuesday’s success, not discouragement.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 11, 2011 09:25 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):