After spending millions of dollars in coerced dues and other funds, Big Labor got a slap in the face today as both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch handily won their recall elections. And even if they flip Wisconsin Senate seats off the 16-16 tie that currently exists (a seventeenth Republican resigned her seat rather than face recall) the Wisconsin legislature will not meet before the November elections.
As I write this, it appears that Walker will beat his 52-47 margin over Democrat Tom Barrett – the lead seems to be fluctuating between 15 and 17 points this time around, with over half the vote in.
It’s interesting to note that Barack Obama didn’t stop and attempt to save Barrett in the waning days of the campaign despite being in both Minnesota and Chicago in recent days. Once the DNC pulled the plug it seemed like the tale was told. It’s also amazing how the polls were so far off – the RCP average had Walker up, but only by 6.7 points. Individual polls had it from 3 to 12 points, so obviously someone was asking the wrong people.
There’s no question the White House and media (but I repeat myself) will spin this as a local result, not indicative of the national mood. They can afford to throw Big Labor under the bus because what are unions going to do – suddenly do an about-face and vote for Romney? No, like an abused spouse the unions will return to the Democrats.
But this also reverses the victory Big Labor got last November after spending millions in Ohio to defeat Senate Bill 5, a sweeping reform package passed by Ohio Republicans and backed by Governor John Kasich. After mobilizing thousands in Ohio and Wisconsin to protest – and forcing a number of recall elections in Wisconsin – it looked like Big Labor was ready to flex its muscles. Sorry, not gonna happen.
Of course, there’s also another person to blame this on. You may not recall this, but in the first leg of his national tour Martin O’Malley campaigned for Tom Barrett in Wisconsin last Tuesday. Perhaps Badger State voters took stock of the guitar-playing guv whose state has endured 24 different tax increases in 5 years and was the leading job loser in the country for April and said “whoever this guy is supporting, we’re against!”
So now we will slog on to November, with the conventions providing a little bit of interest in the interim. That’s assuming, though, that we don’t have a rebirth of the Occupy movement, Europe’s economic collapse happens in slow enough motion to not become a crisis, and the world keeps their usual noise to a dull roar. If anything, we’ll go into a holding pattern now that there’s less than six months left to the election because shrewd businesses are already making their 2013 plans with contingencies for both a Romney win (wild expansion) and an Obama win (closing up shop) and local governments are finalizing their budgets as well.
Unfortunately, the spectacle of Walker’s recall has established enough of a distraction for worried governors that time is now against reform. With just scant months before election, no one is going to try anything radical through the legislative process and show leadership like Scott Walker did. If nothing else, Big Labor can go and say they may have lost the battle but they won the war.
As I wrap this up, the margin is now down to about 10-11 points with roughly 80% in. So it’s now coming close to the outlier poll and may end up inside 10 points when all is said and done. Still, a win is a win. And now I won’t get a dozen or more e-mails a day constantly updating the scene and badgering me for money!
Now we here can concentrate on local races and see what further damage we can do the the Democratic machine here in Maryland. They’re already pissed off about our petitions, so let’s give them more reasons to be upset.