Recalling Scott Walker

This post is not just a post about the presently-underway, expensive effort to recall Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker — but, for practical purposes, that’s where this commentary must start. Guy Benson just laid it all out at

Let’s see. A coalition of leftists, government unions, and Democrats spent millions of dollars on an effort to unseat a conservative State Supreme Court justice in April. They failed, and the victorious David Prosser promptly joined a majority decision upholding Gov. Walker’s (successful) budget law. Then they spent approximately $20 million to win back the Senate by recalling up to six Republican State Senators who voted for Gov. Walker’s (successful) budget fix. They failed, and the GOP will maintain control over the upper chamber, even if both incumbent Democrats win next week. Having racked up an eight-figure, zero-results tab, Wisconsin liberals are hoping that the third time’s a charm. To prove to the world how how very resolute they are — even in the face of multiple humiliating defeats — they’re doubling down on the quixotic mission of recalling the architect of the state’s (successful) budget repair legislation himself, Gov. Scott Walker.

You can tell by the tone of that paragraph just how confident Guy is that the recall effort against Walker will prove futile. He only grows more confident by the end of the piece. In fact, he’s so confident that he’s keen to start a meme to the opposite effect — to the effect that conservatives are worried about what might happen if Wisconsin liberals put their hearts and souls into the attempt to oust the man who quietly withstood absurd comparisons to Adolph Hitler and Hosni Mubarak just to keep his campaign promise to balance the budget. (“By all means, Wisconsin liberals, please pursue this wildly expensive pipe dream,” Guy writes. “Come to think of it, if it’ll goad these clowns into squandering even more money and political capital, I’m willing to start an online meme that conservatives are very worried that Scott Walker is vulnerable to a well-funded recall push.”)

Well, I match Guy’s confidence. As a minority of special-interest-motivated folks mount this misguided effort to recall Walker, I’ve been recalling him myself. Based on my own recollections of the Wisconsin governor — one of the most steadfast and fortitudinous politicians I’ve ever had the privilege to interview — I can’t imagine the people of Wisconsin voting him out of the office he has assumed and served with such perseverance and poise. Not at this point in the game.

What sticks with me most from my long-ago interview with the governor — on a night when protesters still stomped and shouted outside the state capitol and Walker greeted us at the door wearing jeans and a weary smile — is how committed he was to serving the entire state of Wisconsin and not just some special interest group. He spoke of the silent majority of Wisconsinites who elected him to balance the budget and expected him to do just that. He reassured us that he cared more about fulfilling his campaign promises than ensuring his own reelection. He expressed confidence that the budget-balancing principles he espouses work.

And lo and behold, he was right. As Guy pointed out, Walker’s budget has already been a success. Stories have begun to trickle across the wire. A school district finds it might actually have money to hire more teachers. Teachers in another district who were preemptively fired because the district assumed Walker’s budget fix wouldn’t stand are able to return to work. Milwaukee public schools barely know what to do with the savings they’ve garnered thanks to Walker’s budget repair bill. And those are just the first news stories to come out. As more and more Wisconsinites recognize the worth of the work Walker undertook on their behalf, they’ll recoil from a recall — and begin to think about the reward of a reelect.

True, none of this was at all clear two days ago. I could barely bring myself to check the results of the recall election, so nervous was I that all that Walker and the Republican Senate had achieved was about to be uprooted. And it’s by no means guaranteed. But Walker stands to succeed where so many expected him to fail for a simple, old-fashioned reason: He’s a man of principle.

He’ll succeed for another reason, too. He’s been painted as heavy-handed and dictatorial, unwilling to listen. But I recall a man who looks people in the eye and clearly takes an interest even in what a junior reporter has to say. The Wall Street Journal depicts a man who even now seeks the input of those who vehemently disagree with him:

After months of polarizing political debate and unprecedented recall elections Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker said he wants to shift his agenda toward issues on which the GOP and Democrats can find common ground.

“I think what voters want is for us to work together,” Mr. Walker said in an interview Thursday.

The governor said he plans to collaborate with lawmakers from both parties this fall to attract venture capitalists by providing financial incentives such as tax credits and to design a plan to improve third-grade reading scores. …

Mr. Walker said he has met with more than 70 of the state’s 132 lawmakers this summer and he is compiling a list of their proposals that he thinks could find broad consensus in the legislature.

Someone who sits down one-on-one with lawmaker after lawmaker to brainstorm best practices and policies doesn’t sound like a dictator to me (but, then, libs do seem intent to redefine the meaning of words like “terrorist,” “tyrant” and “dictator”). To an extent, the demonization of Walker throughout the entire budget season worked, resulting in lower approval ratings and Politico praising governors with a “softer” touch in articles none-so-subtly implying that governors with a firmer approach won’t ultimately be successful. But the effort to portray him poorly hasn’t been completely effective. Americans might rarely encounter strength and conviction in their leaders these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re unable to recognize it when they do.

Walker says he expects to face a recall election, but he doesn’t sound too worried. “How legitimate it is, I’ll leave up to the pundits,” he said. So, to any Wisconsin liberal who wants Walker outta there, I echo Guy: If you want to waste money while Walker saves it, be my guest.