Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Walker Wins!

Nation doges bullet.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers.

The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt with his defeat of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda.

[. . .]

With nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had 55 percent of the vote, compared with 44 percent for Barrett, according to early returns tabulated by The Associated Press.

Good news indeed.   

Forbes contributor Bill Frezza believes that this could spell doom for public sector unions.

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.

This fight is not without precedent. Progressive patron saint Franklin Delano Roosevelt—who more than any other president set our country on a course away from the founding principles of limited government—knew that public sector unions would be the death of the social welfare state he worked so hard to create. Hence, he consistently opposed allowing government employees to unionize. Today, Greece sets the example of what happens when public sector unions gain the upper hand.

[. . .]

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 stat’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.

This last is truly monumental.  When no longer forced to belong to - and finance - a union large percentages of workers simply dropped out.  On his radio show this morning Glen Beck predicted that if Walker won this election that at least one third of those Wisconsin public sector workers who remained in the unions would withdraw as well.  I tend to agree with him, but we will have to wait as see.

For now what is important is that in a state which voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 a Republican governor who had earned the bitterest possible hatred from public employee unions (one of the most important of the core constituencies of the Democrat party) won a decisive victory in a recall election, something no US governor has been able to do before.

The thrill which ran up some Democrat's legs in 2008 has suddenly become a chill running up their spines.