Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Today's Wisconsin Recall Vote's Larger Meaning

Wisconsin recall to ripple into November is subtitled 'Gov. Walker seen surviving recall, in boost to Republicans:'

"Tuesday’s election to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won’t just be about Wisconsin, or Gov. Walker. The results will also have a ripple effect right into November’s contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

And if polls are to be believed, it’s Romney and his fellow Republicans who will catch a lift from what’s expected to be a narrow victory for Walker on Tuesday.

The drive to recall Walker, the state’s Republican governor, began shortly after he released a plan in February 2011 to ask most public workers to pay more for health insurance and other benefits and also give up most of their collective bargaining rights. Walker said the moves were needed to close the state’s budget gap; unions and Democrats were outraged.

Now, with a presidential election on the horizon that pits a union-backed Democrat against a Republican who wants to curb labor’s power, analysts say that a win by Walker will embolden fellow Republicans including Romney.

“Republicans might be energized to contest the state more vigorously,” said John McAdams, an associate professor of political science at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

The vote is expected to be close, but Walker has an advantage in polls. The latest, a Marquette Law School poll taken May 23-26, found Walker with 52% to 45% for his challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. See Marquette Law School poll.

While a Barrett victory appears unlikely, according to polls, an upset over Walker would breathe new life into labor and buoy the movement in a state that Romney is expected to contest in the fall.

The former Massachusetts governor has his work cut out for him in Wisconsin. Romney trailed Obama by 8 points in the Marquette Law School poll, and McAdams says that the purple state could wind up picking Obama even if Walker survives the recall on Tuesday.

Obama handily defeated Sen. John McCain in Wisconsin in 2008, winning by 14 points.

This time around, the race between Obama and his Republican challenger is looking much closer in Wisconsin, as unemployment remains stuck above 8% nationally and the recovery continues at an anemic pace. In an average of May polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, Obama leads Romney in 
Wisconsin by nearly 5 points. See Wisconsin poll average.

In the general election, Obama has about a 2-point lead over Romney, according to an average of national polls.

A victory for Walker could have repercussions in other states as well, including perennial general-election battleground Ohio. There, voters last November overwhelmingly rejected a Republican-sponsored law that stripped collective-bargaining rights from state and local workers. Romney supported the law. Read more about Ohio and the election.

Wisconsin’s polls close at 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday."

Summing Up

Today's vote in Wisconsin is a big one. 

After all the votes have been reported, we'll try to discern what We the People through our fellow American Wisconsinites are really saying about such things as self government, fiscal responsibility, public sector unions, big government and the lessons, if any, to be learned by our duly elected American city, state and national politicians.

The pundits, of course, will put their best spin on it, according to their political persuasion, but we'll endeavor to see it as honestly and objectively as possible. And then tell it like it is, even if we would wish it to be otherwise.

All that said, our own view is that less public sector union power and smaller government would go a long way toward proving that We the People are ready to accept Pogo's view of the world and begin to solve the problems by ourselves. After all, we let them happen.

But we'll need the aid of our hopefully soon to be responsive and truly representative public servants, of course. Today's vote in Wisconsin may tell us something about that, too.

Thanks. Bob.

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