Scott Walker

Today in Liberty: Email Scandals, Threats to Signature Legislation, and Netflix’s Discovery That Big Government Is No Friend

bcchillary

Plenty of red meat in the news these days, from Hillary Clinton’s homebrewed email server to the US Ambassador to South Korea getting slashed in the face. Taken individually, these stories are just a fun diversion as part of surprisingly full news cycle. Taken together, however, they represent a potential sea change in how government functions — and how citizens and voters are reacting to it. Not surprising that things are changing in the time of NSA data gathering, a newly confident Russia, and the (continued) rise of the brutal Islamic State. So here’s a rundown for those seeking the little glimmers of liberty buried under the chaos.

CPAC happened last week and there was an air of excitement and momentum surrounding the incredibly deep GOP field leading into 2016’s presidential election. Scott Walker has ramped up his game and Jeb Bush tried to make the case that he’s not just the guy the Democrats would love to see make a run. And Rand Paul, as he usually does, won the straw poll largely due to the contingent of young voters who attend the annual gathering. A really great thing in fact because it means the millenials may actually be migrating to the right at a greater clip than anyone knew. But while Rand won the youth, social media and news data says that Scott Walker’s the one to watch…for now:

It’s happening: Republican campaigns prefer Rand Paul in 2016 over Jeb Bush and other establishment candidates

Rand Paul 2016

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tops another list of popular 2016 Republican candidates in an unscientific survey by POLITICO.

More than 25 Republican campaign managers and strategists working on races this year named Paul over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and others as their top pick for President.

From the story:

POLITICO put the question in recent weeks to more than 25 GOP campaign managers, strategists and aides in competitive races across the country. Though it was not a scientific survey, their responses offered clues about which potential presidential hopefuls have the most cachet with down-ballot Republicans right now — and why.

Operatives mentioned Paul more than any other prospective 2016 candidate. Christie followed — despite the fallout from the so-called Bridgegate traffic scandal — thanks largely to his continued fundraising prowess. In the next tier were Walker and Ted Cruz, whose diverging styles each appeal to segments of the GOP. After them, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio each got multiple nods. It all speaks to the rowdy selection process that lies ahead for the party in 2016 – and, in the meanwhile, the menu of prominent supporters available to candidates on the 2014 map.

Senator Paul’s grasp of the issues, fundraising prowess, and Senate profile are all reasons cited by strategists and staffers — anonymously in most cases, so as not to isolate themselves and their respective campaigns from other potential 2016 contenders.

Recapping 2012: Scott Walker wins in Wisconsin

Perhaps one of the best stories this year was Scott Walker’s victory in his recall election. That election was prompted by Wisconsin passing a law that limited collective bargaining for some public-sector unions (most government employees, minus police and firefighters) and forced them to contribute more to their pensions.

Naturally, public unions threw a hissy fit at the thought that they would have to pay for their own benefits rather than forcing other people to pay for them—you know, government-backed robbery. They forced the recall election, but lost badly, and in the end it was perceived as a major blow to labor unions around the country. Not only did it deplete the Wisconsin unions’ coffers, it also damaged their image as a credible threat, and gave strength to more governors to fix their awful state budgets.

In retrospect, though, perhaps the big winner was Lawrence O’Donnell. Immediately after the results came in, O’Donnell proclaimed that the winner of the Wisconsin recall election was, bizarrely, Barack Obama. I derided him at the time, yet it turned out he was correct: Obama went on to win the 2012 presidential election, and took Wisconsin by 52% to Romney’s 46%.

Despite that, though, Walker’s recall victory was a major victory for free market advocates and libertarians everywhere. Let’s hope we can continue the fight under Obama’s second term.

Scott Walker wins Wisconsin recall

With nearly 100% of the precincts reporting this morning, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has survived the recall challenge, which engineered by Big Labor and state Democrats, against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a healthy margin.

Here are the results:

  • Walker (R): 53.2
  • Barrett (D): 46.3%
  • Trivedi (I): 0.6%

Some are saying that the race, given that Walker won by nearly 7 points, could put the state on the board this fall in the presidential election. There is certainly a measure of optimism for Republicans since this recall had such heavy implications. However, Republicans should be too hopeful since exit polling showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by 9 points.

The New York Times notes that, while outside spending was heavy in Wisconsin during the course of the race, nine out of every 10 voters had their minds made up by May 1st. Money is great if its on your side, but at some point voters probably started turning off their televisions because they were tired of seeing the flood of ads.

Catching up on Wisconsin

The protests in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal that would require public-sector workers to pay more for benefits and pensions, though they’ll still be better off than private-sector workers, and reforms that would limit collective bargaining by public-sector unions are still receiving an incredible amount of attention.

In case you haven’t seen it, here is video a speech Gov. Walker gave last night explaining the reasons for the proposal. You can read the transcript here:

Walker, who has been falsely accused of favoring certain public-sector unions, has warned that unless the measures are passed to help ensure that the $3 billion budget deficit over the next two years can be cut, 6,000 public workers could lose their jobs.

Wisconsin governor refuses Park Service order to shutdown state parks

Hoping to capitalize on the government shutdown by making the American public feel the effects of the government shutdown, the Obama Administration — through the National Park Service — has closed the most popular parks, memorials and monuments around the country. The World War II Memorial has became ground zero for this particular part of the narrative last week when veterans visiting Washington were temporarily barred from visiting the memorial built in their honor.

But Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who is known for his strong stand in 2011 against public-sector unions, has refused the order and will keep state parks that receive some federal funding open to the public:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is defying orders from Washington, D.C., to close down several state parks that receive federal funding.

Despite receiving a closure directive from the National Park Service, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has decided instead that parks partly funded by the federal government would stay open to the public.

In the wake of this week’s federal government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also placed barricades by a boat launch on the Mississippi River because it was on federal land. Wisconsin’s natural resources agency reopened it. 
[…]
Wisconsin has also decided to not fully follow a Fish and Wildlife agency’s directive that hunting and fishing be prohibited on federal lands during the shutdown. Hunting access would be allowed in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, state officials said.

Federal judge upholds Wisconsin’s collective bargaining reforms

2011 Wisconsin labor protest

The 2011 law that reformed Wisconsin’s collective bargaining statutes has, once again, been upheld by a federal judge.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Conley determined that the collective bargaining reform law for public sector workers did not infringe upon their right to organize or voice their concerned to their government employers:

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Wednesday challenging Wisconsin’s tight restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees.

The decision by U.S. District Judge William Conley is the latest loss for unions and victory for Gov. Scott Walker, who proposed and approved the measure soon after he took office in 2011.
[…]
Two unions representing local employees throughout Dane County sued in July 2011 in federal court in Madison contending the law violates their rights to freedom of association and equal protection under the law.

But Conley ruled that the law does not infringe on employees’ rights.

“This difference is likely of no comfort to plaintiffs, but the First Amendment does not require an affirmative response from governmental entities; it simply requires the absence of a negative restriction,” Conley wrote. “Under Act 10, general employees remain free to associate and represent employees and their unions remain free to speak; municipal employers are simply not allowed to listen.”

ObamaCare could cause insurance premiums to skyrocket in Wisconsin

Individuals looking to purchase health insurance coverage on the ObamaCare exchange in Wisconsin could in for premium shock, seeing rates up to 125% more than what they would have paid otherwise, according to a report from the Green Bay-based WLUK:

Half a million Wisconsinites will soon have to open up their pocketbooks for health care coverage, and new estimates show it may be costly.

The state’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance released estimates of how premium rates for individuals will change under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.  Those reflect increases from 10% on the low end to as much as 125%.

And with the requirement for individuals to have insurance set to start in less than a month, the law remains controversial.

Starting Oct. 1, 500,000 Wisconsinites will have to shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and according to the state’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, there will be drastic premium increases as a result.

The office compiled data from eight cities for $2,000 deductible plans for three different age groups.  The study did not include the numbers of actual estimated costs, only percentages. But as an example, the study found: in Appleton a 21-year-old’s cost would increase 54%, a 40-year-old’s about 37% and a 63-year-old’s about 32%.

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Results

According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.

CPAC Straw Poll 2013

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) Rallies Conservatives at CPAC

Scott Walker speaks at CPAC

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who took on labor unions by reforming collective bargaining laws and in a subsequent recall election, spoke this morning at CPAC 2013 where he rallied the crowd by giving an empassioned defense of conservatism. Gov. Walker, who is thought to be a potential candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, also went on the offense against President Barack Obama’s economic policies, including ObamaCare.

Based on what I heard this morning, both in his speech and from attendees walking around, Gov. Walker not only delivered one of the best speeches of the weekend, but sounded very Reagan-esque.

You can watch Gov. Walker’s speech below:


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