Wisconsin: A Wake-Up Call to Republicans

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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As we watch the election results pour in from Wisconsin, where public sector unions have pushed through a recall vote against six Republicans, it is becoming increasingly clear that Republicans have retained control of the Wisconsin state legislature.  This is a massive victory for smaller government.

To review, public sector unions rammed through a recall effort against six Republican legislators in an attempt to overturn Governor Scott Walker’s legislation ending collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees.  The importance of that legislation was clear: Wisconsin, like other states, has been held hostage by the benefits and pay requirements guaranteed to public sector unions.

The unions fought back.  In this election, they poured in more than $14 million to the Senate races.  That’s not counting member-to-member communications and issue advocacy numbers, according to the invaluable MacIver Institute.

If Democrats had won back the Senate less than a year after Republicans took control, there is little doubt that the liberal media would have claimed that Republicans overreached in their attempts to cut back spending.  They would have called the population of Wisconsin “moderate” and said that this was an excellent omen for Democrats in 2012.  None of that would have been true.  Republicans did not overreach; they did what was necessary.  And this is not any sort of predictor for Democrats in 2012 – Wisconsin is a blue state, and money has outsized influence.

Nonetheless, the recall effort provides a warning for Republicans: money matters.  President Obama is expected to raise upward of $1 billion in the next election cycle.  Democrats will raise astounding sums from their friends on Wall Street and in Hollywood, as well as in the unions – and that’s not counting all the covert foreign cash and front-Soros money likely to swell coffers.  That money will be put to nefarious use.

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  • Fred Dawes

    Americans need to see and understand that both parties are one and the same party, both are totally owned by Globalist bankers, and all americans are looking at the banking Final Solution and that means you life your money your jobs your homes and your kids, the answer to 1984 is 1776.

  • ming on mongo

    "A massive victory"?…. after a huge recall movement, and one that still cost 2 republican state senators?!!

    A "victory" maybe, but "massive", definitely not….

    • Angel

      14 millions for two senators? I call that a massive vitory for the republicans

  • Alice

    Anyone who works for something with "Freedom" in it's title is one step away from fascism.

    • GoodMojo

      Spoken like someone who would prefer "social justice" to freedom. Wake up.

    • Steve

      What about "People for the American Way", my favorite for a fascist organization, althought the Leftist hate group "Southern Poverty Law Center" is a close second.

    • fiddler

      Hmmm, try the "National Socialist Party". 1) Do you remember who the leader of that one was? 2) Was that one fascist?

  • Rifleman

    The unions loot their members pensions for political activities and they are refunded by taxpayers under the guise of what democrat party pols call 'stimulus'.

  • Ruth Shamraj

    Politicians who take jobs away from people to give more money to business are in love with money and don't care how every day people make ends meet and take care of their families and communities.

    Politicians who hate teachers and try to curb teacher salaries probably didn't do very well in school or hated their teachers. They would have preferred someone in the front of the class telling them how to make more money, never mind learning about history or geography, or biology. Those things don't stoke your ego as much as money.

    • Sound&Fury

      Teachers and their union enablers, who could care less about taxpayers & their students' welfare, should take note that selfishness & incompetence will no longer be tolerated. It's time that these narcissistic teachers realize that they don't work for their unions… they work for students & taxpayers.

      • Sound&Fury

        I did say "teachers and their union enablers" if you bothered to read my post. I also know plenty of hardworking teachers, both in my family & out, and the one thing they have in common is that they don't work for unions. We all watched the teachers' in WI pitch a tantrum nightly on TV for weeks over perfectly reasonable measures to reign in a state budget that was running a deficit. All THESE teachers cared about was protecting their inflated benefits and "rights". Taxpayers have had enough of your thuggery.

    • tanstaafl

      Did they tire of having to stay after school and recite from Mao's "Little Red Book" or Marx's "Das Kapital"?

    • Supreme_Galooty

      "…never mind learning about history or geography, or biology." Ha! Ruth! You've done figgered it out! It is certainly true and cannot be adequately controverted that the educational establishment in America today not only doesn't bother teaching history, geography, or biology, they also don't bother teaching reading, writing, or arithmetic.

      Condomizing cucumbers, however, is de rigueur.

  • Archie Angel

    LOL … F.U. unionist thugs!

  • davarino

    I need to see more Walkers in the Republican party. If Walker had been one of your run of the mill polls he would have caved long ago and we would be here right now. It is going to take guts from the next president to turn this thing around because the left is going to pull out all the stops. There is going to be a reversal of 50 years of liberalism that will bring out the demons of the left, and we will need a leader with a spine of iron.

  • Sound&Fury

    Early results of the Wisconsin vote to end collective bargaining indicate that massive cost-savings for taxpayers. Now that the union healthplan must compete for business, they have lowered their bid for a renewal contract. Imagine that!
    http://biggovernment.com/kolson/2011/07/26/the-fa

    It will be interesting to see if the lesson in Wisconsin translates into momentum for conservatives on the national stage.

  • mrbean

    Republicans mever seem to learn the fundamental rule of politics. "Your enemies will always work twice as hard to hurt you as your friends will to help you."

  • voted against carter

    Poor Wisconsin teachers! Average salary is $52,644 PLUS benefits!

    Don’t you just feel so sorry for the average Wisconsin teacher?

    They work a WHOPPING 9 MONTHS out of the year,
    and have an average salary of at least $52,644.

    A 3 MONTHS PAYED VACATION A YEAR. Must be nice

    This doesn’t include all the benefits they get at the
    expense of the taxpayer such as their pensions and health care.

    WHICH THEY DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO AT ALL.

    YOU THE TAX PAYER PAY IT,… out of YOUR pay check.

    Which you work at for 12 MONTHS a year and MAYBE, you get a 2 week vacation.

    The graduation rate in Milwaukee public schools is 46 percent.

    The graduation rate for African-Americans in Milwaukee public schools is 34 percent.

    Shouldn’t somebody be protesting that?

    • Sound&Fury

      A number of studies have showed that nationwide, teachers are paid a higher hourly wage than architects, engineers, RNs and all other professionals. Nevertheless, these spoiled brats think they deserve better. http://educationnext.org/comparable-worth/

      • trickyblain

        Well, they certainly deserve better than engineers.

        Regardless, your numbers are dubious, at best.

        • Sound&Fury

          The next time you cross a bridge or enter a building you might want to rethink that statement. These aren't my numbers. They are the result of a number of studies that set out to compare apples to apples.

          • ebonystone

            Yeah, I wonder if Tricky would rather fly in a plane designed by teachers than in one designed by engineers.

  • voted against carter

    Union Dues are nothing more that LEGAL EXTORTION.

    If you want a JOB you HAVE to join the UNION,.. AND you HAVE to PAY DUES.

    When I was in Unions If I could have NOT payed dues I wouldn't have payed it.

    I HATE UNIONS. You want UNIONS??

    Fine.

    Go get a job in DETROIT. Oh,.. wait you can't.

    THERE ARN'T ANY!!!

    AND THE REST OF AMERICA pretty soon too.

    UNIONS are Destroying America.

    Look at Detroit MI to see what the UNION's AND

    the DemocRAT party have planned for America.

    A ONCE Great American City COMPLETELY DESTROYED

    BY the DemocRAT Party and their UNION masters.

    WAY to go AFL-CIO, UAW, USW, AFT,TUA, WGA and SEIU.

    This IS what they WILL do to YOUR town if you LET them.

    • GoodMojo

      Meanwhile, GM moves to produce Cadillacs "in volume" in China!
      http://detroitnews.com/article/20110809/AUTO01/10

      That's what liberalism/progressivism has gotten Detroit. What say the unions?

    • ebonystone

      Detroit did pretty well for seveal decades as a city of union workers. It was a combination of leftist Democratic welfarism and ultra-corrupt demagogic black city administrations that destroyed it. Of course, the unions were indirectly responsible, since they supported the Dems and welfare-statists.

  • StephenD

    How long before the rants of "you don't support the middle class" when you are against government unions?
    My response is, “What middle class should I support, the ones PAYING for the union positions or the unions who want more from those that pay?”
    No one is against "fair and reasonable" wages and benefits. These should be in line with the prevailing wages of the surrounding area. No one is against safe working conditions or fair labor practices. All of these things are already in place. Now the focus of the unions, in their own words, is to grab power. They become nothing more than a front for Socialists. Their records speak for themselves.

    On another note: JOHN BOLTON FOR PRESIDENT!

  • Steve Chavez

    DEMOCRATS, AND THEIR MARXIST MAFIA UNIONS, are nothing but bullies, SORE LOSERS, and cry babies that finally got the spanking they have long deserved!

  • SNAKESRULE

    Lets be conservative and say the unions only spent 15 million on this fiasco…divide that by 20K. My math says 750 union members could have gotten a 20k pension for a year…what say you, union parasites?

  • hughglass

    Question? Ben, what the (expletve deleted) have you been smoking? This loss was a catstrophe for the commie, union, lib UW idiots. They broke their picks and their banks to defeat SCOW Prosser, including lawsuits, $1MM recount and lost. Did it again on the recalls and lost again. Thanks to walker and the GOP the public unions income is dropping like a Rock. Several school districts have already thrown out the teachers union owned "Insurance" company at a savings of $1.5MM (Which won't to into the union/RAT coffers). New legislation requires that Public Unions be recertified (VOTE) every year. Several unions have alrady announced they will fold since they know their members will not vote for them. The new law eliminates payroll deduction for union dues. Instead of the state being forced to take the dues out the the workers paychecks and making quarterly deposits into the Union accounts. The unions will have to collect the dues themselves. Yah, Ben, The GOP needs to be concerned. Get you head out!

  • bowzer

    I believe now more than ever that Obama will not be allowed to run or win. So what do they do? The left, Sorass, etc. will support a republican candidate like Romney, Jed Bush (Karl Rove's choice to continue the legacy), Jonh Huntsman, etc. God knows they will be supported by the GOP's USUAL SUSPECTS Mitch McConnell, John Bonehead, John McCain, Linsey Gram-nasty (I'm for amnisity) etc. I call these " THE WIND CHIME POLITICIANS" THEY ARE FASTENED TO THE LEFT AND MOVE WITH THE WIND IF IT'S IN THEIR INTEREST.

  • Guest

    What moronic comments!

    Unions in America today account for, at most, about 6% of the work force, considerably down from the 38% level of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies – when we were still a thriving industrial country with an immense middle class (created essentially by trade union actions) whose children could go to affordable universities.

    Now the jobs have been "outsourced", and we produce virtually nothing. We have a dumbed down, pharmaceutic-addicted populace, while profits for the Corporate Oligarchy are at record heights of inhumane greed.

    How on earth can this be construed as "good for America"?

    I saw this excellent comment by M Holden (MA) on the NY Times website yesterday.. It is worth sharing here:

    "Social unrest is always a corollary of increasing disparities in a society and a slow erosion of benefits to the poor.
    I do fear the London riots are merely a precursor to the shape of things to come. In the US, even the word "poor" is banished from political dialogue, and there's no discussion on about how to deal with poverty.
    Everyone talks about "middle class" which is also ravaged by stagnating incomes, whose fringes are falling into poverty. The rich are called "job creators" who are seen to be in dire need of more tax breaks, tax shelters and havens, while employee rights are curtailed and there are repeated calls for the elimination of minimum wage and reduction in Medicare and SS.
    US got out of the Great Depression by having massive programs for the poor and the highest marginal taxes to become the most prosperous nation in history. There was a time when US had marginal income tax rates above 70% AND a strong economy with job growth.
    There's a lesson in that."

    I couldn't agree more.

    • fiddler

      Simple answer: we can't afford them anymore. The math doesn't work. Instead of learning that (e.g. in Fannie and Freddie assuming bad debt and throwing caution to the wind) they proceed to pander to voters instead of fixing the problem. Towns can't afford it anymore. And remember, Walkers initiatives excluded the fire department and the police.

    • ebonystone

      I think most economists would agree that the massive spending programs and high tax rates of the '30's only prolonged the Great Depression rather than ending it.
      Also the American prosperity depended largely on being the "last man standing" after WW2. The industrial economies of continental Europe and Japan were in wreckage, and the U.K. had been bankrupted by the costs of the war

    • curmudgeon

      lets see. we were economically strong, then we got strong unions, then the jobs went away. hmmmmmmmm. nah, it isnt possible that the unions were the reason the jobs went away. no. the jobs must have gone away because we didnt tax and regulate enough. thats it. save america! more taxes, onerous regulations, and union thuggery. that will do it.

    • Supreme_Galooty

      Moronic is YOUR assertion that unions account for only 6% of the workforce. Perhaps you're referring to the old style "labour" unions. 6% sounds about right for them. Then add in the millions of school teachers and government employees.

      Your talk of corporate greed is sophomoric, ill-informed, a perversion of analysis. People who focus on the wealthy paying MORE than anyone else are larcenous, dishonest cretins with whom I would not willingly associate.

      Many jobs have fled America's shores due to a feckless, poorly educated labour pool, aggressive unions, onerous governmental regulations, and the highest business taxes of any country in the world. I'd advise you to wake up, but you can't fix stupid.

    • Ben

      I guess you flunked history because nothing you said is true. In conservative Europe at the time it was only called the depression because they were out of it long before we were. All the money the government was spending to "fix" the economy only kept the depression going, It took a world at war to bring us out of the "Great" depression. Do your homework,that way you won't sound so ignorant. Roosevelt's own staff said they spent and spent and spent and it didn't work, just like today.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Unions should never have been allowed to take union members dues and pump
    the funds into political coffers, it was a sure path to corruption as has been seen.
    Individuals that support political candidates with their own funds are free to do
    as everyone else. Members have no say in most unions where leftists are
    running the show, patriotic union members get the shaft and corruption goes
    unchecked, it is time to make the law prohibiting union dues from doing anything
    but working for all members and not just the leftists……………….William