The battle for Wisconsin is still raging, nearly 6 months after a historic battle between unions, Democrats & Republicans that included Democrat representatives fleeing the state to avoid voting on a collective bargaining bill and budget cuts, and union protesters flooding the state capital for days, leaving behind millions of dollars in damages. The budget bill did pass, and despite fears of critics, it has turned out as well for Wisconsin as Governor Walker had hoped.
The Weekly Standard reported that the bill saved teachers’ jobs (just as Walker had hoped it would) by allowing school districts to fine tune benefits packages without being subject to brutal union negotiations. The “fine tuning” included measures such as requiring teachers to contribute 5.8% of their salary into their own pension plans, and provide doctor’s co pays of $10 (up from nothing). These small changes allowed one district to save a million dollars and prevented 27 teachers from being laid off. In the month of June only 18,000 private sector jobs were created nationwide. Of those jobs, 9,500 were created in Wisconsin alone. Since January, under Walker’s governorship, Wisconsin has added over 39,300 private sector jobs. Clearly, Walker’s and his Republican co-workers’ strategy is working.
Despite the evidence, unions mounted an unsuccessful challenge of Justice David Prosser of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Union representatives tried to replace known conservative Prosser with liberal activist judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, in hopes of having the offending legislation overturned in the courts. Prosser ultimately won the contested battle.
Now the Democrats and their union supporters are concentrating on the recall of six Republican senators for their votes on the budget bill. With Republicans holding a slim 19-14 edge in the Senate, Democrats are hoping to take back 3 seats and work to block the bill and others like it in the Senate, ultimately pushing for a recall of Governor Walker. In response, the GOP has targeted 3 Democrats for recall for fleeing the state and shirking their duties during the original budget battles.
As expected, accusations of fraud are being hurled from both sides of the political fence. The Wisconsin Democrat Party has filed a complaint regarding suspicious mailers by the GOP in Democrat districts. These mailers allegedly encourage citizens to vote, but give the wrong date for the recall elections.
The Republicans are also concerned with fraud. They have filed complaints against Wisconsin Jobs Now, a liberal group that staged a series of BBQ events where they bussed in constituents, served free food and drinks and then asked them to fill out absentee ballots for the recall elections. Wisconsin election law clearly prohibits any exchange of goods or services for voting information and registration. A state official has already confirmed the BBQ is clearly a violation.
There are also concerns about the funding coming in to the Democrat challengers. Investigative website Big Government has already run several pieces exposing the funding stream, calling it “high dollar thuggery”. Here is the Wisconsin PAC money trail, as shown on the Big Government website.
The Associated Press has also reported that Obama’s political arm of the DNC, Organizing for America, has already landed in Wisconsin and is providing volunteers and other support in favor of Democrat challengers. This raises serious questions of the appropriateness and constitutionality of the President becoming directly involved in state issues.
The next round of recalls is scheduled to happen on August 9, when six Republicans will square off against Democrat challengers. The following elections will happen on August 16, and Republicans see that date as the best chance to replace Democrat incumbents Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch. Democrat Dave Hansen easily defended his senate seat in July against troubled, second-pick GOP candidate David Vanderleest.
Wisconsin is flyover country for many people, but it represents a larger, more important battle on a national scale – the battle to regain control over reckless, dangerous, runaway government spending. Public employee unions are a huge drain on spending and are notoriously self-interested. The proof is in the pudding. Although Walker’s policies have so far been nothing but provably beneficial to the sate of Wisconsin, actually saving union jobs, unions still whole-heartedly support a recall of those who fought for those jobs. They are throwing precious resources and union dues behind their candidates of choice, in an effort to throw out the very legislation that has managed to turn Wisconsin into one of the most successful states in the union for business growth in a mere 7 months. Clearly, for the unions, this has little to do with fairness and shared sacrifice, and everything to do with keeping union dues flowing.
You can find an up to date list of candidates and election results here. Support those who are working to defend sound policies. Send money, volunteer or encourage your relatives and friends in Wisconsin to get out and vote. Keep that state on the right track to success. As the saying doesn’t go yet, but just might in the near future “As Wisconsin goes, so goes the rest of the country”.