All six Republican Wisconsin state senators facing recall elections were supposed to lose big on Tuesday. The polling looked awful. Big Labor had spent an estimated $20 million to support the Democrats’ State Senate candidates — far more than Republicans had spent to support their candidates. Liberals, labor bosses and MSNBC anchors were giddy. Democrats appeared energized and Republicans appeared demoralized.
Then something amazing happened. Four of the six Republicans won — which kept the Senate in Republican hands, 17–16! The unions’ much-vaunted get-out-the-vote efforts fell flat in the state where collective bargaining was born.
It turned out to be a referendum, not for the status quo and public sector unions, but instead for Governor Walker’s fiscally responsible budget and collective bargaining reforms. The taxpayers and reformers won! The failing status quo of busted budgets and unfair labor demands took a huge hit — one that will be felt for a long time. Big Labor Democrats, from President Obama and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on down, are very nervous about their futures today. Their party is over.
Republican candidates received 53 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s elections, a commanding majority. So much for the big, bad union turnout machine. Common sense and budget discipline won Tuesday and is winning everywhere.
The Presidential Coalition, an affiliate of Citizens United, waged a $300,000 effort on an issue advocacy campaign in support of Republican State Senator Luther Olsen, who courageously backed Governor Walker’s education reforms. The television advertisement that ran in Olsen’s district did not disparage his opponent. Rather, the positive message cut through the chatter and made the case that Walker’s reforms were reasonable measures to bring down Wisconsin’s spending.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is leading his state out of a debt crisis — one he inherited from previous administrations. He has led his state with an even hand, making the tough choices that need to be made for Wisconsin’s future. President Obama, whose union-backed policies have led to the first-ever downgrade of our nation’s credit rating, should follow Governor Walker’s lead and make the tough cuts necessary to balance the budget. But, if history is any guide, Barack Obama is too beholden to liberal constituencies to budge.