Wisconsin: Rebirth in the cradle of American progressivism

The old so-called Wisconsin Idea was that government would collaborate with experts drawn from the state’s university system to craft progressive legislation. The new Wisconsin Idea is that the state is broke…

Early in the 20th century, Wisconsin was the self-conscious vanguard of progressivism. In keeping with this role, in 1959 it became the first state to allow collective bargaining for public employees. It was one of the first states to have a statewide teachers’ union. Christian Schneider of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute notes that an acrimonious teacher strike in the tiny town of Hortonville in 1974 radicalized the union and won more liberal collective-bargaining rules for public employees…

The unions have reacted with their usual class and public-spiritedness. Teachers in Madison have staged a sickout, and brought their students with them to demonstrations at the state capitol. The lecturing that has clouded the nation’s airwaves for weeks about the need for civility is apparently lost on the protesters. They carry signs comparing Walker to Hitler, putting a target on his face, and denouncing him as a dictator. A Washington Post writer penned a column — picking up a slur from the governor’s opponents — suggesting Walker is America’s answer to Hosni Mubarak.