Wisconsin Recall Sputters

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That sound you hear may be the sputtering of Wisconsin Democrats and public-sector unions’ campaign to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker. On Tuesday, Democrats went to the polls to choose a candidate to square off against Walker in next month’s recall election. But the union-led opposition’s hopes that the standard bearer would be a Big Labor darling were dashed with the election of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, rather than the unions’ preferred candidate, Democratic operative Kathleen Falk. Falk’s defeat marks only the latest setback for a recall campaign that is increasingly running out of steam.

The differences between Barrett and Falk are small but politically significant. Though they both pledged to eliminate Walker’s restrictions on collective bargaining for most state workers, they disagreed on the methods. Falk took the more union-friendly approach, assuring her supporters that she would veto any budget that didn’t restore collective bargaining. That promise earned her the endorsements of the state’s leading public-sector unions, including the state chapter of the AFL-CIO and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s biggest teachers union.

Barrett refused to go as far as Falk. While he is also committed to restoring collective bargaining, he has said that he would do so by introducing the issue in a special legislative session. The latter is particularly unattractive to unions because it would require Republican support for the legislation. Barrett’s victory in the Tuesday primary means the unions’ dreams of restoring collective bargaining through gubernatorial fiat have been shattered.

Yet another setback for the unions is that their efforts to turn the recall into a referendum on collective bargaining appear to have failed. While union activists and organizers still see collective bargaining as the dominant recall issue, Wisconsin’s voters, among them many Democratic primary voters, disagree. Polling of primary voters conducted by Marquette University found that over half of those who voted in Tuesday’s primary favored Barrett’s compromise-seeking approach on collective bargaining over Falk’s and the unions’ demands that it be reinstated without debate. Collective bargaining has also faded as a galvanizing issue. Increasingly, the recall has come to resemble a general election, where the main focus is on standard issues like jobs and unemployment. Doom-saying from Democrats and their union allies notwithstanding, challenging the unions over collective bargaining has not fatally diminished Walker’s political prospects.

If all this weren’t bad enough, there are also growing divisions in the state left’s ranks. Those divisions came to the fore this week with news that the Wisconsin Democratic Party was canceling a “unity rally” this Wednesday in the state capitol to support the winner of the Democratic primary and to bring together Barrett and Falk’s respective supporters. It was not to be. Barrett declined to attend the rally, fueling rumors that he didn’t want images of him commingling with union organizers to be used against him by Walker. Still others speculated that the cancelation was a dirty trick by Falk intended to make embarrass Barrett. Whatever the explanation, this was not the kind of infighting that Democrats and unions had anticipated when they made Walker their target.

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  • Bamaguje

    “One area where Walker remains vulnerable is jobs, of which the state has produced fewer than Walker promised” – Jacob Laskin

    One would think the lack of jobs is largely Obama’s fault rather than Walker’s.

    The bumbling Indonesian demagogue has failed to revive America’s ailing economy after 4 years in power.

    • davarino

      You would think Walker would be heralded as the great jobs creater the way the Obama administration is tooting their own horn about bringing down the unemployment rate 0.1%. Walker brought his states unemployment rate back down to 2008 levels? Thats huge compared to the great O.

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  • Chezwick

    Walker's fate is in many respects a microcosm for the fate of the country. If he survives, there is at least the possibility of a roll-back of the entitlement state and the restoration of fiscal sanity. If he loses, the message to politicians across the country is clear: reform government at your own peril.

    I hope to God the people of Wisconsin realize what's at stake.

    • 1Hanriot2

      Chezwick:
      Your message is especially appropriate since the news from France indicates that the French would rather "switch than fight." They are not for swallowing the pill that could reverse the French trending downward curve on the national stability chart. Honest, I believe that if Switzerland and Monaco went to war with each other, France would surrender….gladly!
      Now, I think it's happening today, new French President Hollande is to have a meeting with German leader Angela Merkel. At that time, she'll advise him that not only multiculturalism is a failure, but so is Socialism.
      She has all the experience in the world regarding Socialism, having lived through the years of the East German Socialist regime from childhood to adulthood. Her experience with the Muslim infiltration of Germany is nothing but negative. Two nations, living next to each other, their people, cultures, and political successes like day opposed to night!

    • fiddler

      I couldn't agree more. Time for the "entitlement" mentality to die a thousand deaths. Time to be responsible and care for our kids future. Time for the people of Wisconsin (and the rest of the nation) to wake up.

    • Mary

      We do. Over 600,000 people showed up to show their support for Walker last night! For 10 Walker signs on someone's lawn there is 1 Barrett/Falk.

      • mlcblog

        THANK YOU!! Thank you, people of Wisconsin.

  • davarino

    I think its funny how the unions are puzzled about the people of Wisconsin not being that excited and "on fire" about the collective bargaining issue. May I offer just a clue to the clueless? Collective bargaining only benefits the few lucky individuals who get to work for the Wisconsin government, not the People as a whole. I believe the People of Wisconsin are realizing these lucky few are sucking the States coffers (their pocket books) dry. Why would you expect the People to shed a tear for their lavish benefits when the average Wisconsiner doesnt get the same, and as a matter of fact, are the ones paying for those benefits. Its amazing to me how these lucky few feel they are entitled to Wisconsiners money.

    Good luck with your little recall : )

  • maria

    This administration use exactly what communists in USSR used. Hope America will win and Walker will be reelected. I share the opinion that at stake is our country future but not only WI's one.
    What's interesting this great web site leftists use to destort fact about IL republican candidates j.Walsh and R.Dold. They are both great Congressmen and i wish them victory over Chicago corrupted socialists democrats.

  • H&R_ Barack

    ~ May the Union thugs fly in ever-decreasing concentric circles………

  • Sound&Fury

    I'm betting on the fact that come June, WI voters will recognize who the real one-percenters are… public unions.

  • fiddler

    When you make the case that the taxpayer has to pay for the insurance benefits of unions and themselves, it's a hard sell that unions are that deserving. They are a little socialist microcasm, wielding their collective might to FORCE their will. There is no concept of the public good; it is only THEIR good at the expense of others. The try to demonize Walker at the risk of making themselves look childish.

  • Ronald Johnston

    Wisconsin needs to watch out for voter fraud is this recall election. The unions are not honest people!!!!

  • Rifleman

    I hope the unions didn't blow their pension funds on that recall effort, lol.

  • pyeatte

    If Walker wins, Wisconsin wins.

  • mlcblog

    It's almost too much. Be still, my heart. This in the same day that Lugar is taken down by the Tea Party movement.

    I remain ecstatic. Their junk has come back to bite them in the butt. Hooray. Their boring old socialist clap-trap is finally falling on deaf ears in the face of real reform which is bringing financial prosperity.

  • truebearing

    Lets all agree to stop calling collective bargaining "collective bargaining." There is no bargaining whatsoever for the people who pay for it all. It should be called "collective extortion" because that is what it truly is.

    Wisconsin is split, like the rest of the nation, because we have way too many government workers, professors, teachers, and idiots (sorry for the redundancy). The people who are conservative are very conservative, but the lefties here are mostly far Left. Madison is the worst, by far. There isn't any place in the country more radical per capita.

  • Knucklehead

    As has been said, this is an important recall election, not only for Wisconsin, but for the country. Sadly, voter ID has been short-circuited in Wisconsin, at least for the time being; long enough for voter fraud to potentially sink Walker. I think if voter ID were in place for this election, Walker would win easily. But the Unionista thugs from all over the country will pour $100 million into this state in the next month along with sending thousands of out-of-state union goons to fraudulently vote in this election. I can only hope to God that Wisconsinites see through this big lie and turn out in huge numbers to vote to keep Walker in office and save this state.

  • Knucklehead

    As has been said, this is an important recall election, not only for Wisconsin, but for the country. Sadly, voter ID has been short-circuited in Wisconsin, at least for the time being; long enough for voter fraud to potentially sink Walker. I think if voter ID were in place for this election, Walker would win easily. But the Unionista thugs from all over the country will pour $100 million into this state in the next month along with sending thousands of out-of-state union goons to fraudulently vote in this election. I can only hope to God that Wisconsinites see through this big lie and turn out in huge numbers to vote to keep Walker in office and save our state.

  • http://www.maghrebchristians.com Youssef

    The appeal trial of Jabeur Mejri, who recently was sentenced to jail for charges related to blasphemy, was postponed to next Monday, May 21st.

    Read more: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/05/14/defen

    Youssef