Wisconsin Recall Sputters

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None of this might matter if Barrett where a shoo-in to defeat Walker next month, but he isn’t. Barrett has already lost to Walker in 2010, when he was his challenger for governor. That high-profile race gave him the statewide name recognition and clout to beat Falk, but Walker is a different proposition altogether. Still, the race will be close. Polls show the two are in a statistical tie with weeks to go.

That bad news for Barrett is that his path to victory is far from clear. Democrats’ original intent had been to use Walker’s budget reforms – most notably the restrictions on collective bargaining and some cuts in state aid – against him. Unfortunately for this strategy, collective bargaining is not the hot-button for most voters that it is for union and left-wing activists. Meanwhile, Walker’s cuts in state aid, forced by the state’s yawning $3.6 billion deficit, have not hit nearly as hard as Democratic talking points suggest.

That is in large part because of something Democrats and unions cannot bring themselves to admit: Slowly but surely, Walker’s reforms have been working. Walker’s restrictions on collective bargaining, for instance, have allowed Wisconsin’s school districts to generate substantial savings, and thereby to avoid the massive layoffs that teachers unions claimed were inevitable. Nor have Walker’s budget cuts brought the state to its knees, as Barrett knows. Last year, he charged that Walker’s cuts would make Milwaukee’s deficit “explode.” Instead, Walker’s curbs on collective bargaining contributed to the city posting an $11 million net gain in its 2012 budget. The only explosion was of the egg on Barrett’s face.

One area where Walker remains vulnerable is jobs, of which the state has produced fewer than Walker promised. But on this issue, too, Walker has a case to make. After hemorrhaging months for the past year, Wisconsin has begun gaining jobs recently and the state’s unemployment is now at its lowest point since 2008. And while Walker remains a polarizing figure in the state, polls show that Wisconsinites believe his reforms have made it more hospitable to businesses and job creation. In a recall that has deeply divided the state, that is a positive message to take into election day.

Needless to say, this is not where Walker’s opposition expected to be at this point in the recall. Goaded on by a friendly media, they believed their own hype that Walker was a “dead man walking,” as a Time magazine article dubbed him. But as the recall effort founders amidst internal feuding and a loss of enthusiasm for the unions’ agenda, it may well be that Walker will be the one who lives to tell this tale.

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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.

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