Same two candidates.  Same newspaper.  Same outcome.  In the 2010 gubernatorial election in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorsed Scott Walker over the mayor of the city the newspaper serves, Tom Barrett.  Yesterday, the paper praised and scolded both candidates, but wrote that nothing over the last two years gives the editors any reason to change their minds, and give plenty of criticism to the recall effort that forced the issue again (via Ann Althouse and Instapundit):

Walker’s rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker’s tough stance with the state’s public-employee unions. It’s inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.

A Marquette Law School Poll in January showed that many people in the Badger State agree. In that poll, 72% of Republicans, 44% of independents and 17% of Democrats said recalls should be limited to criminal wrongdoing. Republican state Rep. Robin Vos has proposed tightening the recall mechanism; he should continue to push for that after the election, regardless of who wins.

Even if you disagree with Walker’s policies, does that justify cutting short his term as governor? And if so, where does such logic lead? To more recall elections? More turmoil?

It’s time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We’ve had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation. We urge voters to support Walker in the June 5 recall election.

The editorial gives a balanced look at both candidates.  The MJS editorial scolds Walker for his divisive approach to public-employee union reform, but notes that Walker has agreed that he should have spent more time building support for Act 10.  However, they also take note of the fact that Walker and the Republicans produced a balanced budget rather than the biennial debacle that had taken place for the last 15 years when Democrats controlled the legislature, and did so without raising taxes.  Job growth hasn’t met Walker’s promised 250,000 new jobs, but we are still less than halfway through Walker’s term, and that there are factors outside of Walker’s control in achieving that number.

As for Barrett, the MSJ considers him a “capable” executive.  They write that circumstances forced Barrett to raise taxes and fees, but that delivery of services remains “solid.”  The editorial scolds him for lacking boldness and initiative, however, calling him “risk-averse to a fault.”  It’s not a compelling picture of a candidate to rescue Wisconsin from the clutches of Scott Walker, even if one thinks Wisconsin needs rescuing, which the MSJ clearly does not.

The editorial makes clear that this recall election is a joke, a completely unnecessary and expensive exercise.  Barrett and the Democrats are no longer featuring the very issue that prompted the unions to pour millions of dollars into the state for the recall in the first place.  Why?  Because Act 10 worked and allowed counties and cities to get control over skyrocketing benefits packages to PEUs.  The one sure way to teach a lesson to the monied interests (mainly Big Labor) who tried to buy a recall election is to make sure that they lose their shirts in the transaction.