The Right Politics

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s blowout victory in his state’s recall election on Tuesday was predicted by virtually every poll taken prior to the election. He was the third to face a recall and the first to win.

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Wisconsin and labor unions across America wanted Gov. Walker out for his stance on the labor unions last year. The protests and rallies were the most publicized political happenings anywhere in the country. President Obama and the Democratic Party took a strong anti-Walker position, and the Republicans – headed by Walker – appeared to be doomed.

Here’s what happened. It was found that a loud, angry rebellion does not equate to the votes needed to win anything. The recall which shouted for removing the governor from office simply lost momentum. Like most protests, the passion of the protesters subsides while the logic for what they’re protesting against lives on. Wisconsin voters were too keen for replacing Walker and the beliefs they voted in favor of just two years ago.

They realize the difference between angry labor unions and angry government-job unions, just as the victorious candidate does. In its most simplistic form, labor unions were created to give hard-working employees more of the huge profits that a public company makes. Government workers, however, are totally different in that they obviously don’t work for a company that is designed to make huge profits.

That’s the difference that most people didn’t think about when they boarded buses to go Madison, Wisconsin to give Governor Walker a piece of their minds last year.

Beyond the reason that Wisconsin voters – for the most part – understand, there are other reasons for the failed recall. The one heard most often in recent days was that many Wisconsin voters don’t agree with the recall process. Voters don’t believe that a state should be allowed to change its mind regarding an elected official.

The idea of a recall wasn’t designed to suddenly decide that the elected official’s opinions and proposed policies don’t sit well. People knew what Walker’s beliefs were when he was initially elected. For those beliefs, he was elected then and now. Also, the outrageous cost of a recall is worth getting rid of the process.

Of course, Democrats are going to say, “Look at how much money Walker spent to win this.” Yet, he has spent less on this past year’s fight to retain his job than President Obama raises in a quarter.

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Also, campaign money – when used wisely – buys time to deliver a candidate’s message. If people don’t like the message, the candidate still isn’t going to win.

The predicted victory is really something. Obama didn’t even touch this one. Last week he was in Illinois and Minnesota to campaign and raise funds, but he flew over Wisconsin and didn’t connect himself to the Wisconsin’s Democratic sinking ship. He tweeted a message on Twitter asking people to vote for Barrett. Of course, that is limited to 140 characters – not much at all.

Nearly unbelievable, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Barrett last weekend in Milwaukee and reportedly drew less than 200 people to the rally. That could very well have been the smallest crowd ever to show up for the otherwise extremely-popular ex-president.

The Republican Party won a great victory yesterday – just as it did when it won the 2010 midterm elections – and all eyes were on it. It can’t be denied that this is terrible news for Obama and the Democratic Party.

How devastating it is will be seen in the months leading up to November 2012. What is also left to be seen is what Mitt Romney and his fellow-Republicans do with this current boost in voter confidence for Republican values. Hopefully, they won’t throw the opportunity away.

About Scott Paulson

Scott Paulson writes political commentary for and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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