local republican column • Fred Johnson
Recall these lessons
There are so many lessons to be learned from the Wisconsin recall election, it is hard to know where to start.
The first lesson is that the conventional wisdom that conservatives must move to the center to win a race is not true. Scott Walker stuck to his guns and won the recall election by a larger margin than his original election
Another lesson learned is that workers in closed shop states actually do not like the unions. After Wisconsin quit deducting union dues from government workers paychecks, the unions lost up to two thirds of their membership. In California, referendums to rein in public sector pension costs passed by a large majority in the two municipalities where it was on the ballot.
An important lesson is that by taking on the unions, Wisconsin was able to balance their budget with no layoffs. They even saved 20 percent of the cost of healthcare insurance by taking it away from the unions and opening it to competitive bidding.
Hopefully, Democrats learned that “bringing a gun to a knife fight” does not always work. After Wisconsin Republicans won the Governorship and the Senate in 2010, the Democrats resorted to tactics not covered in civics classes.
You may remember that Democrats fled the state and hid in Illinois to prevent the Senate from having the quorum necessary to pass spending bills. They came back after they realized that it only took a simple majority to suspend their paychecks. Then, they organized an occupation of the capital building where occupiers camped out (and trashed) the building. When that didn’t work, they attempted to recall the governor. All of those tactics failed and Republicans emerged stronger than before.
Another lesson from Wisconsin is that exit polls are proving to be very unreliable. You may recall that during the Bush/Kerry election, exit polls were predicting a Kerry win.
Exit polls last Tuesday in Wisconsin showed that the recall election was a tossup, but Scott Walker won handily. After the exit polls were corrected to account for their bias, the polls also showed Wisconsin (thought to be a safe state for Obama) could actually go for Romney in the Presidential election. One person who has not learned the lessons from Wisconsin is President Obama. In a press conference last week, while speaking about the economy, he declared that the private sector is “doing just fine.” He wants Congress to give him more money to bail out those states (read Democrat states) that can’t pay the pension cost for their government workers.
Printed in the June 14, 2012 edition