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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
Since its passage in 2011, Big Labor has been working through the court system to undo the collective bargaining reform law signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) in early 2011. Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding the law in June 2011, Big Labor won a reprieve after a federal district court struck down part of the law.
But the these much needed reforms were given new life today thanks to a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the law in its entirety:
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Act 10, Wisconsin’s controversial reform law that guts collective bargaining for most public employees in the state.
The decision strikes a blow to public-sector unions that gained a temporary victory in September, when a Dane County Circuit Court Judge ruled parts of the law unconstitutional.
The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals struck down key provisions of a separate federal court’s ruling, writing, “The district court invalidated Act 10′s recertification and payroll deduction provisions, but upheld the statute’s limitation on collective bargaining. We now uphold Act 10 in its entirety.”
The Cato Institute has released its biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, a useful tool that can help voters determine whether or not their chief executives are acting responsibly when it comes to taxation and spending.
The report this year, authored by Chris Edwards, should come with some interest, given that some of the governors graded in this round ran on Tea Party-themed platforms. This is the first real look into whether or not they’ve delivered on the rhetoric they espoused on the campaign trail.
Looking through the list, the nation’s best governors on fiscal policy — those receiving an “A” — do indeed have a Tea Party influence, or at the very least they ran on fiscally conservative platforms. Here’s a look at the cream of the crop:
- Sam Brownback (R-KS)
- Rick Scott (R-FL)
- Paul LePage (R-ME)
- Tom Corbett (R-PA)
The highest scoring Democrat, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, received a “B,” and was among the best in the nation on fiscal policy. His grade is up from two years ago, when he received a “D.” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who followed Mitt Romney in the Bay State, also received a “B.” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam takes home the prize of being the lowest scoring Republican in the report, with a “D.”
Who are the nation’s worst governors on fiscal policy? Well, here they are — all of five received an “F” in the report (starting with the worst):
- Pat Quinn (D-IL)
- Dan Malloy (D-CT)
- Mary Dayton (D-MN)
- Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
- Chris Gregoire (D-WA)
Some other names of interest with summarized comments:
Big Labor has been reeling over the last few years. They were unable to get “card-check” passed in the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. This legislation would have allowed workers to organize, thereby increasing the size and influence of labor unions. But despite sizable majorities in both chambers of Congress, Obama was unable to push the bill through.
More recently, Big Labor has had to deal with a devastating loss in Wisconsin. Their hand-picked candidate lost in the Democratic primary to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was viewed as less sympathetic to their cause. Despite that, unions still spent heavily in the race hoping to knock off Gov. Scott Walker, who had earned their ire by pushing through reasonable reforms to collective bargaining laws on public-sector unions. The effect of the reform has been a decrease in public-sector union membership in the state.
Big Labor is really on an island of its own right now, and it looks like their beginning to realize it. US News and World Report noted yesterday that the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union, is pulling funding from President Barack Obama’s re-election bid:
The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.
The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president’s failure to show in Wisconsin last week, where labor unions led a failed recall election of Governor Scott Walker.
Within moments of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker being declared the winner of the recall election against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, labor unions, commentators and other talking heads started railing against money in politics. Take, for example, the theatrics of the guy interviewed on CNN, who insisted that “democracy died” on Tuesday because of the infusion of money — some $63 million — into the state to promote or tear down candidates in the race:
Yes, your tears please me. But seriously, this guy could not be more wrong. The Washington Post noted yesterday that outside spending didn’t influence many voters, pointing to exit polling that showed that 88% of voters had their minds made up before May 1st. In other words, as Cato’s John Samples notes, “[b]y the time the ads hit the airwaves, there were few undecided voters.”
All the cards are on the table today in Wisconsin as voters head to the polls, after millions of dollars in ads and endless canvassing by activists from both sides, to cast their ballot in the recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The recall, initiated as a response to reforms to the collective bargaining agreements with public-sector unions, has been somewhat of a headache for Wisconsin Democrats and labor unions. They’ve received little to no help from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). And as a result of Walker’s reforms, labor unions have seen a sharp decrease in membership.
Democrats have been managing expectations in the race, indicating that they saw the writing on the wall that Walker would win, but a new poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm that does polling for the Daily Kos, shows that the race may be closer than previously thought:
A Public Policy Polling survey released Monday shows Walker with the support of 50 percent of likely voters, ahead of Milwaukee Mayor Barrett at 47 percent.
But Walker’s support is down from a 50-to-45 percent edge in the same poll conducted three weeks ago and down from the 7-point 52-45 lead Walker held in a Marquette Law poll released last week.