Wake Up, Wingers!

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Wake Up, Wingers! Scott Walker’s anti-union team could suffer a big defeat in Wisconsin’s April 5 Supreme Court election. If Dem-backed JoAnne Kloppenburg defeats Republican David Prosser, she could lead a 4-3 majority to overturn Walker’s anti-union law. (Kloppenburg has telegraphed as much, saying “The events of the last few weeks have put into sharp relief how important the Supreme Court is as a check on overreach in the other branches of government.”) Worse, a Prosser loss will be played up in the national press as a voter repudiation of Walker and his agenda–a turning of the tide, second Tunisia, Spring Awakening, etc.  The left is already gloating over private polls that show the race close–not good news for an incumbent in a low-turnout election. … What’s more, it looks as if the left has the money advantage, in part because Prosser opted for public financing. … Aren’t there some rich Republicans who can save the momentum of the anti union push with an independent expenditure? …

Where are the Kochs when you need them?

P.S.: Commentator Charles Sykes, described to me as the ‘Rush Limbaugh of Wisconsin,’ puts it this way:

I think it will be close: the left is engaged and enraged. We conservatives are engaged. Don’t know about the independents. This is a traditionally very low turnout election and if the unions turn out their troops, there might be enough votes to flip the court. But no one on our side is complacent about this. We understand that, as you say, it is for all the marbles.

This will turn on how the race is defined: if voters decide based on credentials: Prosser wins; if they see it as a choice between a liberal and a conservative judge, Prosser wins; if it turns on who is tough on crime, Prosser wins.

But, if it is seen as a referendum on Walker or the union bill, Kloppenburg has a very real shot. 

P.P.S.: Walker’s (and Kasich’s and Daniels’) anti-union reforms are having an effect nationwide, even in states where unions are strong. In Los Angeles, for example, a coalition of unions just agreed to non-trivial increases in health and pension contributions for existing workers that will save $400 million. One reason they agreed was undoubtedly the fear that anti-union fever might spread even to California. If Walker gets beaten, public employee unions all over the country will stop being so amenable. (Maybe that will be good for Republicans, in a dialectical way,  because government will become more unaffordable and the “blue state model” will move closer to total bankruptcy. The contradictions will be heightened, if you will. But it will be bad for anyone who wants a working government and lower taxes.)