Republicans are too complacent about Wisconsin’s recall election
An election almost as important as the presidential election will be held next Tuesday, and conservatives aren’t making a big deal of it, just as they didn’t make a fuss over the 2008 Minnesota Senate election as Al Franken stole it from under their noses. (Gov. Tim Pawlenty: “Minnesota has a reputation for clean and fair and good elections. We’ve got 4,100 precincts run by volunteers. They do a good job, and we thank them.”)
The public sector unions are trying to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office for impinging on their princely, taxpayer-supported lifestyles. If Walker goes down, no governor will ever again suggest that snowplow operators work when it snows. No governor will dare try to deprive public school teachers of their Viagra. Forget about ever firing self-paced, self-evaluated, unnecessary government employees.
Always leading the nation, California has already been bankrupted by the public sector unions. That’s the country’s future if Walker doesn’t win, and it’s not going to matter who’s in the Oval Office.
Democrats know what’s at stake. They’re treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead.
Polls don’t register passion.
Public employee unions have vast organizing abilities, millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, and millions of voters who are either union members themselves or relatives of union members. And it’s their lifestyles being voted on.
The public sector unions will turn out 99.9 percent of their people. Even if they are only 15 percent of the electorate, that could be enough. Union members will have every distant relative, every neighbor, every person they can drag to the polls, voting to recall Walker next Tuesday.
Ordinary people answering polls may agree with Walker, but they’ll have to decide: “Do I really want to get out of bed early and drive to the polls, just so they don’t recall the governor?”
News reports blare with the information that the Walker campaign has spent more money than the opposition. This is absurd. Every union member in the country is working to defeat Walker.
Union political operatives aren’t volunteers: They’re getting salaries from the unions. But those expenditures don’t get counted as money spent on a campaign — a little detail of campaign finance laws Republicans have been screaming about for 20 years.
One measure of the unions’ disproportionate passion is how difficult it is to obtain non-union information about the Wisconsin fight. Try running a few Google searches on Scott Walker and the public sector unions, and you’ll get 20 pages of union propaganda under names such as “Common Dreams,” “All Voices,” “United Wisconsin,” “Veterans News Now,” “Struggles for Justice,” “One Wisconsin Now,” “Defending Wisconsin” and “Republic Report.”
From the hysteria, you wouldn’t know Walker’s reforms have nothing to do with government employees’ salaries. He eliminated collective bargaining only for all other aspects of government employees’ contracts. OK, you can have two guys on a snowplow, but you can’t have a snowplow watcher.
One of the most egregious union scams Walker dispensed with was the requirement — won in collective bargaining — that all school districts purchase health insurance from the same provider. The monopolist insurer was WEA Trust, which happens to be affiliated with the teachers union.
Simply by eliminating this union boondoggle, Walker has already saved individual school districts millions of dollars per year, which could easily rise to hundreds of millions of dollars. (Most districts still get their health insurance from WEA Trust, but the mere threat of competition forced it to lower its price.)
Amazingly, Walker actually had to eliminate “overtime” for snowplow operators who work outside of their 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. shifts. Isn’t the whole idea of snowplowers to have them work when it snows and not during specific, pre-set hours of the day?
The teachers unions wail, “It’s all about the kids!” — and then we find out the Milwaukee teachers union sued the school district because their health insurance didn’t cover Viagra. Yes, it’s all about the kids.
Loads of Milwaukee bus drivers are using sick days and overtime to take home more than $100,000 a year.
Public sector employees seem to think they should be exempted from belt-tightening everyone else is subject to in the Obama economy. (Obama thinks so, too. Most of the stimulus money went to shore up public sector employees’ salaries and perks.)
Half the country is unemployed, but these special people are indignant that Walker asked them to start contributing a tiny amount of their salaries to their own pensions — 5.8 percent, up from zero percent — and a little bit more for their own health insurance, from a measly 6.2 percent to 12.4 percent of their salaries.
Of course, it’s extremely difficult to locate this information with the unions filling the Internet and the airwaves with their “Common Dreams” nonsense.
Fox News has barely mentioned this election, while on MSNBC they’re doing non-stop campaigning on behalf of the unions. Apparently, James Madison will be rolling over in his grave if government unions aren’t allowed to dictate how many employees are required to move a copy machine.
Ann Coulter is an author and political commentator.