Wisconsin

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.

The Election, Mitt Romney, and the Future of the Republican Party

It’s election day. We’re finally here. This grueling, seemingly non-stop campaign ends today. President Barack Obama made his last campaign stops yesterday. Mitt Romney hopes to pickup what undecided voters remain during visits to Ohio and Pennsylvania today.

Despite public polls showing a close race in swing states, though Obama has a slight advantage, Romney’s campaign says that their internal polls show him leading in Ohio and tied in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Writing at National Review yesterday, Jim Geraghty saw reason to hope that Romney will pull off a win tonight. And Aaron Blake surmised that the early voting numbers suggest that the race will be tight. However, Blake points out that “[i]n basically every state, Democrats’ early vote edge is between four and eight points less than it was in 2008.” That could mean trouble for Obama, especially in Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.

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.

Should a libertarian support voter ID laws?

Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote.  Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID.  The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well.  Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.

For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous.  Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected.  And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.

So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take.  On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important.  We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters.  On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons.  If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.

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.

I’m Mad. I’m Really Mad!

See Video

A man in the crowd tells McCain how it is…

Today in Liberty: NSA collecting photos for facial recognition, Senate GOP targets Obama EPA’s anti-coal regulations

“We all know from our own experience that a hallmark of bureaucracy is the waiting list. Waiting lists at the post office and the DMV are merely annoying and inconvenient. Waiting lists at our doctor’s offices and hospitals can be fatal.” — Congressman Tom McClintock

Disgusting: Democrat campaign against Scott Walker planned to distribute KKK masks

Confederate Brett Hulsey

Wisconsin Democrat state representative and candidate for Governor Brett Hulsey planned to distribute homemade Ku Klux Klan masks at the Wisconsin Republican Party Convention last Friday.

Representative Hulsey (D-Madison), who has a history of outlandish behavior according to the Minnesota Star Tribune, backed off the plan but received considerable media attention.

Hulsey made a white hood using his daughter’s sewing machine and a bit of cloth. ”It’s a Wisconsin Republican Party hat,” Hulsey said last Thursday in the press room at the state capitol in Madison. “And people can interpret it any way they want.”

In the same week, Hulsey issued a request for Confederate Civil War reenactors through his Blogger-hosted gubernatorial campaign site in an effort to raise awareness to the Wisconsin GOP’s resolution to affirm the state’s right to secede, which failed overwhelmingly.

Milkwaukee Journal Sentinel Captiol reporter Jason Stein tweeted a picture of Hulsey dressed in mock Confederate garb Friday (pictured above).

This isn’t the first time Hulsey has garnered media attention for his outrageous beavior. Reports the Star Tribune:

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.”


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.