June 6, 2012
The story from Fox News:
With nearly all precincts reporting, Walker had 53 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Barrett. The margin of victory was wider than many expected and slightly better than Walker's 5.8 percentage-point victory over Barrett in the 2010 race. Some 2.5 million voters cast their ballots. ... Wisconsin went for President Obama in 2008, but the recall results give Republicans hope that their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, can win there in November.
"Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington," Romney said.
Republicans see Walker's win as evidence voters across the country want their elected officials to keep government living within its means. They said this paves the way for Romney to become the first Republican candidate to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
It's obviously way premature to move Wisconsin into the "likely Republican" column, but the state is certainly in play.
It would be intellectually dishonest to say that this election does anything other than give Republicans a boost and Democrats a loss. Liberals put a lot into this election and while it wasn't a runaway, neither was it a squeaker. President Obama didn't get involved, which tells me two things: One, they were not nearly as confident of victory as they said they were, and second, they did not think his presence would help Walker's opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.
Worse for Democrats was that although the cause of the recall election was the issue of unions and collective bargaining, the campaign itself was conducted entirely around the issue of jobs and the economy. That Walker won the argument does not portend well for Obama.
And even worse is the conclusion that comes next; that liberals have lost the argument on public sector unions and their supposed right of collective bargaining. Forbes has the story:
Governor Walker's Victory Spells Doom For Public Sector Unions
by Bill Frezza
6/05/2012 @ 9:36PM
Despite a last-minute smear campaign accusing Scott Walker of fathering an illegitimate love child, the governor's recall election victory sends a clear message that should resonate around the nation: The fiscal cancer devouring state budgets has a cure, and he has found it. The costly defeat for the entrenched union interests that tried to oust Walker in retribution for challenging their power was marked by President Obama's refusal to lend his weight to the campaign for fear of being stained by defeat. We'll see how well this strategy of opportunistic detachment serves in the fall as Obama reaches out to unions for support.
Scott Walker ran for office promising change. The fiscal medicine he is administering may be bitter, but it looks like it is starting to work. The state budget has been balanced. The unemployment rate has been dropping and is now below the national average. Property taxes are down. Fraudulent sick leave policies--which allowed employees to call in sick and then work the next shift for overtime pay--have been ended. The government has stopped forcibly collecting union dues from workers' paychecks.
Best of all, the myth that union bosses represent their members' interests has been exposed as a lie. Now that union dues are voluntary, tens of thousands of union members have stopped paying them. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has dropped by half. Membership in the state's American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is down by over a third. Given unions' influential role in most elections, the national implications of this trend are staggering.
Walker's message is clear: The key to bringing balance back to public sector labor relations and balance state budgets is to break the iron triangle of closed-shop mandatory unionization, compulsory dues collection, and oversized campaign donations to politicians that promise to do the unions' bidding. If other governors take his cue and take up the cause, that giant sucking sound you hear will be the air coming out of union bosses' bloated political action budgets.
A few quick important points from Robert Costa at National Review (follow the link for more):
- Walker is the first governor in history to beat a recall. And he galloped to victory in a bluish state -- with more votes than he won during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
- Walker's policies, not his personality, won him the election. According to a recent Marquette University poll, 55 percent of likely voters said they favor limiting collective bargaining for public-sector employees.
- Turnout hit record highs across the state -- more than 55 percent according to the Associated Press.
- Walker's numbers among independents are solid, according to CBS News. Among this coveted group, he beat Barrett soundly, 54 percent to 45 percent.
Posted by Tom at June 6, 2012 9:00 PM
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