The year-long saga of the Wisconsin recall is, at long last, over, and Scott Walker is still standing. The low-key Republican governor has withstood a sustained (and expensive) onslaught from the forces of Big Labor and its allies on the Left that featured everything from the coordinated cross-border retreat of intransigent Democratic lawmakers, to the occupation of the state house by a band of radicals, bongo drummers, and high school truants, to ill-fated attempts to nullify Republican legislative majorities and pick off uncooperative judges. Walker’s enemies did everything but release the kraken…
Scott Walker saved his job by being the adult in the room. While Democrats in Washington seem to be relying on their belief that the United States government is “too big to fail” to justify a program of taxing and spending our way out of debt, the states don’t have such a luxury. And so, across the country, in states red, blue, and purple, they have turned to men like Scott Walker — and Chris Christie, and Mitch Daniels, and others — to close structural deficits, stabilize out-of-control spending, and break the death embrace between Big Labor and Big Government. In taking this toxic partnership head on, in a state with a rich progressive history no less, Walker became its biggest target. His enemies spent a year and a half preparing to take their best shot at him. And a combined total of $100 million or so later, they missed. They missed because voters are starting to understand that governing through crisis requires someone willing to make unpopular choices, stand up to entrenched interests, and hold the line against loud and determined opposition.
Quite simply, Wisconsin voters realized that if they no longer had Scott Walker, they would have to invent him.
Mitt Romney just issued this statement, congratulating Scott Walker for his victory in tonight’s Wisconsin recall election:
“I congratulate Scott Walker on his victory in Wisconsin. Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington, D.C. Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans.”
Of course, Walker’s victory is about more than public sector unions. What Walker has demonstrated is that voters will ultimately reward politicians for showing political courage on the big issues if they have the resolve to see their policies implemented and watch them succeed. Enthusiasm for Walker among his supporters was off the charts because people are more willing to fight for a leader who has actually taken a stand. As the United States faces a looming fiscal crisis due to prior generations unwillingness to tackle runaway spending on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, wobbly-kneed politicians in Washington should look to Walker’s triumph in Wisconsin for inspiration.
Confrontations between the people and organized labor aren’t new, but they have a way of translating to the national conversation. A single sentence arguably made Calvin Coolidge president: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” It hit a nerve then, as it has now. I have seen conservative crowds give applause for presidents and political figures all over the country, but I have never seen them applaud as they do for Walker. That applause will only get louder now…
Walker’s reforms are nowhere near as severe as they’re made out to be, and they are less exportable than some might like. But branding this as the most important election of the year is not entirely wrong. Walker’s confrontation writ large is not with public sector unions, but with the dying Blue social model. It is one of the longest-lived coalitions in American politics, but one the White House is already letting slip – the marriage decision was a clear sign of that. Tonight’s Walker victory may prove to be its death knell.
The recalls began with anger over Walker’s stance on collective bargaining, but Democrats quickly changed the subject when it became clear that collective bargaining wasn’t a winning issue with voters, who had begun to see the positive results of reform.
But the public is smart — people understood that the Democrats’ constantly shifting issues were essentially a poker tell. The unions were trying to fill an inside straight, it was clear, while Walker pulled a new ace with every school district that praised his reforms. The fact that Dems attempted last-minute personal smears, they showed everyone exactly how far behind they thought they were. And on that count, they were right.
Now, the question becomes: With Walker’s victory, have Democrats blown any chance of beating him in 2014? Anyone gutsy enough to take him on had better be willing to tussle with a national star whose political courage will be the new standard in American politics.
Following his victory over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Governor Walker thanked the voters for their support and focused on the future.
“Bringing our state together will take some time, but I hope to start right away,” Governor Walker said. “It is time to put our differences aside and figure out ways that we can move Wisconsin forward.”
Via the Right Scoop.
Via the Blaze.
Here’s the man of the hour, via Fox News Insider.