"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recall Reverberations


The recall effort in Wisconsin was a particularly epic failure for the left. It ultimately boiled down to a contest between economic reality and progressive ideology.

Reality won out. Despite the outraged caterwauling from the left about the election being bought by the spawn of Citizens United, in the final analysis it was simply the fact that Governor Walkers reforms are working, that became the single most significant determinant in the outcome.

That public sector unions are an economic catastrophe is fairly self-evident to most by now; lacking any competitive pressure, enjoying the uniquely enviable ability to hire the people who determine their compensation, and having that compensation come from money coerced from the taxpayers by law – rather than being tied to any performance measures – government unions have been a key stressor on many state budgets. Their very existence invariably breeds structural corruption.

Almost immediately after being applied to remedy that problem in his state, Gov. Walker’s reforms began bearing fruit. The result has been an elimination of Wisconsin’s deficit without an economically devastating tax increase; the transformation of Wisconsin into an eddy of modest growth within a national pool of general stagnation; and windfalls for local school districts freed from the benefits-rackets they had previously been chained to by the unions.

None of this escaped the majority of Wisconsin voters, who, to their credit, seem to know a good thing when they experience it, and had no desire to climb back aboard a sinking vessel after being helped into a lifeboat.

An accompanying reason for the rout of the recall effort was the fatigue of Wisconsinites over the spectacle generated by opponents of Walker’s program. While the unions may have thought they were making a brave statement of principle (bilking the taxpayer apparently counting these days as a “principle”) by making fools of themselves through holding public temper tantrums, sit ins, striking up obnoxious drum circles, swinging from the rafters, and generally behaving like over-sugared 2nd-graders in the capitol building, the average Wisconsin working man or woman coming home to view this circus being performed on their TV, (and on their buck) every night, did not share their idealistic fervor. Nor did they feel a sense of comradery with the State Senators who, facing a vote they would likely lose, ran off to Illinois or Minnesota, forcing State Troopers to go gather them up like truant children.  The result of this disgust with the anti-Walker mob’s behavior was a quite profound electoral repudiation of their casus belli

The impacts of the Wisconsin election extend past the Badger State’s borders, contributing to the national interest in the election. Many other states have the same problems with public sector unions, and Walker’s success ensures that these insidious institutions are on the way out. More than that, it gives other governors across the nation the political aegis and encouragement to pursue the same fiscal repairs in their own states.

The weariness of most Americans of the spectacle caused by those who don’t get their way transcends Wisconsin’s borders as well. There is an abiding sense in the nation that childish, anarchic, sometimes criminal actions of the likes of Occupy Wall Street and the Wisconsin Mobs have pressed the limits of public civil tolerance.

From the juridical machinations that usurp the legislative branch by using courts to formulate and enact public policy, to union backed groups orchestrating successive recalls when they keep failing to get the desired result, to finally stretching the bounds of civil conduct with “occupy” degradation and riots when reality does not conform to their dogma, the left seems to habitually cross the line between healthy, vigorous opposition, and a denigration of the political process and rule of law that helped shape our society.

We see shades of this even in local politics – for instance, candidates who, following electoral loss at their county conventions, respond not with grace and dignity, but with embarrassing write-in campaigns tinged with conspiracy theories and finger pointing. Nothing illegal about that, or even wrong, in any metaphysical sense -- but certainly not a tactic consistent with either a sense and spirit of civil conduct, nor winning political strategies. A didactic enterprise (often very useful) is one thing; a vindictive, uncultured crusade is entirely another.

It is heartening that the American public remains as unconvinced by liberal attempts to supplant reality with utopian fantasies, as they are by seeing Occupy Wall Street, union hacks, and disgruntled fringe candidates making embarrassing spectacles of themselves, and maligning our political process at the same time. They responded in Wisconsin by re-electing Scott Walker in a landslide, and will respond in the coming months by electing responsible candidates across the board, from Rose Pugliese for Mesa County Commissioner, to Mitt Romney for President.

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