Inspired by the lovely and classy Dan Savage who I’m sure supported the union thugs in Michigan.
Inspired by the lovely and classy Dan Savage who I’m sure supported the union thugs in Michigan.
In her column on the results this week in the Badger State, Peggy Noonan offers what she dubs “the single most interesting number in the whole race [:] 28,785“:
That is how many dues-paying members of the American Federation of State, County and Municiple Employees were left in Wisconsin after Mr. Walker allowed them to choose whether union dues would be taken from their paychecks each week. Before that, Afscme had 62,218 dues-paying members in Wisconsin. There is a degree to which public union involvement is, simply, coerced.
Emphasis addewd. Read the whole thing, particularly if you serve in the California legislature or your name is Jerry Brown.
In the regularly scheduled Wisconsin gubernatorial election, Scott Walker bested Tom Barrett by 124,638 votes, winning with 1,126,941 votes. The margin was 52.29% to 46.52%.
Current returns show Walker roughly
180,000 171,000 votes ahead, with 53.4% 53.2% of the vote. Barrett can console himself that his 2012 tally puts him only a few thousand votes behind Walker’s 2010 tally boast that he’s running ahead of Walker’s 2010 tally, but Walker is running about 177,000 190,000 votes ahead of his previous showing.
There still are some precincts outstanding, so
it is possible Barrett’s final tally will has put him ahead of Walker’s 2010 tally, but this time around it isn’t enough. Will turnout up, Walker is running well ahead of his 2010 tally–and yet some folks think democracy died last night in Wisconsin:
“The bitter battle over union rights [sic] in Wisconsin sent masses of angry protesters flooding into the streets,” reports Robin Bravender in Politco
. . . placed the state at the center of a national debate over Big Labor’s power and sparked the historic recall to topple GOP Gov. Scott Walker.
But you’d hardly know it from the campaign to replace him.
On the eve of the June 5 recall election, the issue of collective bargaining has become just a footnote in the hard-fought battle for Wisconsin. Democrats gloss over the issue in campaign speeches, political advertisements and debates in favor of zeroing in on Walker’s tactics. Democrats and labor groups run separate field operations. And the party’s nominee, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, wears the fact that he wasn’t labor’s top choice for the ticket as a badge of honor.
Emphasis added. Wonder why Democrats are sidestepping the issue which spurred the recall? Could it be perhaps that the reforms are working? Or that Wisconsinites are beginning to appreciate how the privileges (that Bravender calls “rights” above) the state once granted to public employee unions account for ever higher government expenditures?
In the Obama campaign’s video on the Wisconsin election, the president’s team doesn’t even mention the specific “rights” at issue. Interesting, very interesting.
Seems like the president is barely phoning in his views on the gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin:
President Barack Obama hopes Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, “prevails” in the state’s closely watched recall election, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
Carney was repeatedly asked why Obama, who has been criss-crossing the country to raise money for his reelection bid, did not do more to help Barrett.
Do note that his spokesman was asked about the recall election; neither the president nor his team volunteered anything. Well, Obama did tweet his support of Barrett.
Others haven’t been quite so civil in their remarks. Via Facebook, a reader alerted his friends to one prominent Democrat’s thoughts on the recall: ”On MSNBC’s The EDd Show Jesse Jackson compared Gov Walker To Segregationist George Wallace“. Wow, just wow.
After valiantly trying to shield its readers from Walker’s lead, The New York Times is now doing its best to spare them the full horror of what is occurring in Wisconsin. The progressive left pulled out all the stops: unions, rage, “community organizers,” demonstrations, and name calling were supposed to make Wisconsin the front line for the progressive “fightback.” In a state that hasn’t been carried by a Republican since Reagan in 1984, Democrats thought this strategy couldn’t fail. (more…)
[Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett] cannot name any school districts harmed by the Act 10 reforms, and appears to agree with the proposition that it’s helped many (in as much as he does not dispute this part of the question).
He then says he’ll “run an analysis” to find some schools he think were hurt, and get back to the reporter at some point before the election (which is six days off).
This is the central issue in this election — Tom Barrett’s failure to identify any schools harmed by Act 10 is therefore a concession that none have.
In an election caused by unions upset by said law (Act 10), the Democrat can’t name a single school harmed by this supposedly nefarious law.
“The Left, labor, Democrats, which planned to embarrass” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Mike Allen of Politico on MSNBC this morning (as quoted by Jim Geraghty), ”instead have made him a national figure with a very bright future,” adding “It was money poured down the drain by Democrats and the Left in a presidential election year.”
Wonder if we’ll ever see a tally of the total amount of money the various and sundry public employee unions poured into the Badger State, first to lobby the legislature and organize rallies against Walker’s reforms, then to launch petition drives to recall the state Senators targeted for replacement in 2011, to do the same this year to recall Walker, his Lieutenant Governor and another batch of state Senators, then to campaign for their chosen candidate in this month’s primary and now to campaign against the governor himself in the actual recall election upcoming.
Money spent in those endeavors is money they won’t be able to spend to help hold the Wisconsin Senate seat for the Democrats or to help in other political contests this year.
Meanwhile, in attempting to demonize and destroy Mr. Walker, the unions have made that reformer a Republican hero. As Ann Althouse writes:
The recall has put Walker in the position where he must advertise and promote himself, which might have been awkward before — and it was never his thing. TV viewers are getting barraged with Walker ads — and almost nothing for his cash-strapped opponent, and we’re tolerating it because he was forced into having to defend himself. What a nice opportunity for him!
UPDATE: “The bigger problem for unions”, writes 2010 CPAC Blogger of the Year, Ed Morrissey, ”is the display of impotence“:
They have poured millions of dollars into Wisconsin, pushed people into rallies and protests, and wasted valuable man-hours organizing for recall elections and a special election for the state Supreme Court, only to come up empty thus far. Until now, people feared the impact of unions in elections, and in special elections such as these even more, as they are more easily mastered by superior organization. However, Walker supporters cast more ballots in the recall primaries than the combined votes of the top two Democrats, just as they did in the race that pitted Supreme Court Justice David Prosser against Joanne Kloppenburg, and in almost every recall race thus far.
Is it because they don’t like his policies? Or perhaps because they want to help Rick Santorum who opposed Right-to-Work legislation when he was in the Senate?
Several unions that back President Obama’s reelection bid are spending big in an effort to damage Mitt Romney in key GOP primary states.
Unions including The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are making ad buys to hit the Republican presidential contenders on issues key to their members, including immigration reform and the bailout of the auto industry.
. . . .
AFSCME, the country’s largest public sector union, spent $500,000 on Internet, television and radio ads to air in Ohio that target Romney before the state’s GOP presidential primary this coming Tuesday, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.
Charles Lane penned a great column on the Gipper’s birthday about a reformist in the traditional of Ronald Reagan. The former editor of the center-left New Republic observed that “The threat to such progressive goals as majority rule, transparent government, a vibrant public sector and equality comes from public-sector unionism“:
Of course, collective bargaining in the public sector is inherently contrary to majority rule. It transfers basic public-policy decisions — namely, the pay and working conditions that taxpayers will offer those who work for them — out of the public square and behind closed doors. Progressive Wisconsin has a robust “open meetings” law covering a wide range of government gatherings except — you guessed it — collective bargaining with municipal or state employees. So much for transparency.
Even worse, to the extent that unions bankroll the campaigns of the officials with whom they will be negotiating — and they often do — they sit on both sides of the table.
Indeed. And the left-of-center pundit commends Wisconsin’s Republican governor for taking on such unions. Read the whole thing!
Whenever Republican governors and legislators push right-to-work laws in their various jurisdictions, unions and their Democratic allies become almost apoplectic. Despite doing their darnedest, Democrats in the Hoosier State couldn’t prevent the elected legislature from making Indiana
. . . the 23rd state to pass anti-union [sic] “right-to-work” legislation on Wednesday and the first in the nation’s manufacturing heartland, dealing a blow to organized labor by allowing workers to opt out of paying union dues.
Indiana’s Republican governor Mitch Daniels signed the legislation into law immediately after it was given final approval in the state Senate, making Indiana the first state to adopt such a measure since Oklahoma did so a decade ago.
Opponents of the legislation may call it “union-busting,” but all the legislation does is give employees to opt out of union representation:
Republican state Senator Carlin Yoder, the bill’s main sponsor, said it would not prevent anyone from joining a union.
“It is simply allowing those individuals to decide for themselves if they want to pay union dues or not,” Yoder said during the floor debate on Wednesday.
What’s wrong with giving workers the choice? Maybe the Democrats are concerned about filling their campaign coffers.
“Why,” Michael Barone asked on Monday, “can’t government build big public works projects any more?” He noted that Rachel Maddow fault “greedy rich Republicans [who wouldn't] pony up enough money.”
That pundit well-versed in American (and English) history referenced Glenn Reynolds’s post where that prolific blogger faulted a government which “focuses on process instead of product”, contending that such focus prevents the government from “doing big things“:
To pick an example from my neck of the woods, the TVA had its first dam filled within 18 months of the TVA Act’s passage. That could never happen today. Now arguably TVA built too many dams, but at least taxpayers who wondered where their money was going could see dams springing up all over. Now it goes into the pockets of lawyers and consultants and Environmental Impact Statement reviewers. Not surprisingly, that’s less impressive.
Today, as Steven Hayward noted in a post linked by both Reynolds and Barone, no one in our various government agencies seems to be able to “decide what to do. . . without endless ‘process’ and ‘public input.’”
In California (and in other states like Ohio) there’s another problem. Many who love this state, as I do, stand in awe at the great public works projects which have turned barren landscapes into (once-)bustling metropolises and fertile farmlands and built roads across tortuous mountain passes and along rugged coastlines. They did all this well before Jerry Brown first became governor in 1975.
A sexagenarian friend of a liberal friend echoed this when he reminded me in a Facebook thread that he is “old enough to remember when CA had unparalleled infrastructure, education and public services.” He was attempting to defend granting collective bargaining privileges to public employees. In the thread, he has also been lamenting the decline of the Golden State. It no longer has the services it once had. Its engineers no longer accomplish the feats they once did.
In reminding me of California’s glorious past, he made my point. You see, the then-Golden State enjoyed such high-performing public schools and amazing engineering accomplishments — not to mention top-notch public services — before the once- and current governor, in 1977, signed the Dills Act which “formalized collective bargaining for State employees.”
In other words, state employees accomplished all those things without collective bargaining privileges. (more…)
Those who would like to see the (once-)Golden State glitter once more should hope that we have a Scott Walker waiting in the wings. We need someone to bring real change to the state which once defined innovation and opportunity. Since that Republican’s much-maligned reforms passed the Wisconsin Legislature, the Badger State has been able to close its budget gap, see new jobs created watch school districts across the state renegotiate teacher contracts, saving taxpayers’ hundreds of thousands of dollars.
All this achieved because Walker stood up to the public employee unions who had, before the current legislative session, wielded considerable power in the state capital, preventing real cost-saving reform. They tried to wield that muscle in the recent recall elections, pumping millions into Democratic coffers and even walking precincts on behalf of Democratic candidates. All to little avail.
The unions, however, have been far more successful in California than they were this year in Wisconsin. Here, every Democrat has a built-in advantage over his Republican and not just because of the state’s demographics. Our public employee unions funded directly by the taxpayer, with employees’ dues siphoned off from their paychecks, provide the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) infrastructure for Democratic nominees as they support their favored political party with television ads and campaign contributions.
In return, the unions exercise considerable influence over elected Democrats, preventing them from enacting real reforms. As Joel Kotkin put it in his (must-read) piece on the decline of Los Angeles:
It’s a familiar story: because Democrats are almost assured of victory in L.A.’s general elections, candidates must win only the low-turnout, union-dominated party primaries. John Pérez, a longtime union political operative and now speaker of the California State Assembly, won the Democratic nomination in 2008 with fewer than 5,000 votes and then easily crushed the GOP candidate. Pérez’s predecessor as speaker was Fabian Núñez-another L.A. labor official. No wonder the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters calls the labor movement “the closest thing to an omnipotent political machine anywhere in the state.” (more…)
Well, the Democrats may have picked up two state Senate senates in the Wisconsin recall vote yesterday, but, they, as Allahpundit reports, “outspent Republicans two to one”, thus they “lost two to one on tonight’s seats — with two of their own still to defend next week.”
Do wonder how much of that money will no longer be forthcoming as it came directly from the Badger State’s coffers, skimmed off from the salaries of public employees and sen straight to their unions, active supporters of the state Democratic Party. They may just not have the money to spend they once did. Thanks to Governor Walker’s reforms, the state won’t be sending that money directly to those allies of his partisan rivals; they’ll have to collect it on their own.
Allahpundit offers what he calls a “nice data point from Nate Silver which he claims “can be read as more of a rebuke to the left as [well as] to the right”:
In total, GOP leads 52-48 among all votes counted so far tonight in Wisconsin. Walker won those districts 56-43, Obama won them 53-46.
Not a great night for the Republicans nor for the Democrats. But, Republicans still control the Senate in Wisconsin and the labor unions spent a tens of millions to pick up two Senates, one just barely.
Quoting a “Twitter friend” who quipped “Democrats in #Wisconsin spent about $263 per vote to not get a majority in the state senate”, Michelle Malkin suggests that “rank-and-file union members” consider recalling their “own profligate Big Labor bosses.”
The public employee unions are the real losers in Wisconsin. Let’s hope they suffer similar fates in other states, including (and especially) the (once-)Golden one.
UPDATE: Not sure I’ll have time to get back to this today. I had penned this post just before heading to bed last night and as I take a break and scan the blogs, seems it’s a much bigger defeat for the unions than I had originally thought. Jennifer Rubin has a good post with some helpful links, including an observation that the GOP was caught “flat-footed,” thus was clearly out-organized by the unions. (more…)
In the past three days, two conservative blogs have posted on issues which get at the heart of the anemic private sector job creation in the Obama administration — and demonstrate why if the Democrats continue to set economic and regulatory policy, we won’t see the level of job growth promised when the president sold us his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AKA the “so-called stimulus”).
The first piece relates directly to that legislation. Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker quotes from a study of the near-trillion dollar bill by economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor. Reporting “their findings in a paper titled ‘The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled‘, they found that the “stimulus”
. . . created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment.
By sending hundreds of millions of dollars to the states, the Democratic legislation helped bail out many spendthrift jurisdictions, delaying their day of reckoning. No wonder so many states have been struggling this year to find ways to cut spending. Thanks to the 111th Congress, they, in the early Obama years, had federal resources to balance their budgets — and no incentive to economize.
So, the “stimulus” didn’t stimulate the private sector because so much of it went to state and local governments.
Today, at the Washington Examiner, Conn Carroll details how the National Labor Relations Board is trying to game the system in favor of unions, thus making it more difficult for private companies to expand and innovate:
Unions are a major drag on a firms competitiveness. Studies show that unionized firms spend 15% less on research and development than non-unionized firms and 6% less on capital investments. If a firm is in a competitive industry, this can mean death. If a firm is in an international industry, which pretty much all of them are today, it means less (sic) jobs here in the United States.
Read the whole thing!
From friends and acquaintances here in the Golden State, I have accumulated anecdotal evidence that public employee unions, particularly the California Teachers Association send multiple e-mails* to their members, often to their government computers, while contacting them regularly telling them how to vote in various elections. In contested partisan races, they almost always “encourage” their members to vote for the Democrat.
Now, Mike Ames and Mike Elk of The Nation magazine are in a lather because, gasp!, Koch Industries has done something similar:
On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.
The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter,Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.
This, the left-wing magazine’s editors dub, “Thought Control.” Ben Smith believes the expression, “thought control . . . seems rather strong“:
The mailings don’t ask for feedback from employees or suggest their jobs are dependent on whom they vote for, much less what they think; it seems to give the workers very little credit to imagine that they’ll have their thoughts controlled by this document, as opposed to by the campaign literature they get from candidates or, for some, from their unions.
It would be interesting to compare the language Koch Industries used in its letter to the languages union officials use in theirs. And to compare their vote-getting tactics as well. I’m sure Ames and Elk are already on top of this, working feverishly on just such an article.
(H/t Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner.)
The results have just been posted in the Milwaukee County canvass, and nothing much changed from yesterday. AP reports Prosser picked up 11 more votes and is the winner.
I repeat, JoAnne Kloppenburg lost. David Prosser won.
The vote margin stands at 7316, a virtually insurmountable lead for a recount. All the hanging chads in the world will not put Kloppenburg on the Supreme Court.
Awwwwww…. and all that money wasted by the public employee unions, too. Oh wait — that’s taxpayer money they waste on their liberal political agenda. *facepalm*
If you need any further evidence of how fully politicized public employee unions have become in Califronia, look no further than this story about which Phineas, blogging at Sister Toldjah’s, site reminds us, “At its recent convention, the CFT passed a resolution of support for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop-killer:”
Between negotiating for more benefits and teaching their students, the California Federation of Teachers has adopted a resolution of support for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.At the CFT’s 2011 Convention in late March, the delegates passed 30 resolutions, from solidifying support for anti-bullying legislation to supporting transitional kindergarten. Among the resolutions largely pertaining to education and collective bargaining rights was Resolution 19 – to “Reaffirm support for death row journalist.”
“Therefore, be it resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers reaffirm its support and demand that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal,” the Committee Report reads.
Defense of this convicted cop killer has become a cause célèbre on the left.
One wonders why union officials felt it incumbent upon themselves to take up his cause, one entirely unrelated to their profession.
Ann Althouse links a post whose author David Blaska claims to have found the “smoking gun” that the teacher sick-out which closed “Madison schools for five days in February” was “an illegal, union-coordinated, illegal strike”:
Now there is proof that the sickout was a premeditated, union-authorized job action — a phone tree of teachers calling other teachers to close down the schools. This kind of activity is prohibited by the union’s own contract and illegal in WI Statute Chapter 111.84(2)(e):
It is unfair practice for an employee individually or in concert with others: To engage in, induce or encourage any employees to engage in a strike, or a concerted refusal to work or perform their usual duties as employees.
Read the whole thing which includes an e-mail about the call and audio of the call in question. I’m no expert in Wisconsin law, but Althouse teaches law at the University of Wisconsin — and saw fit to link the post.
You can bet this would get a lot more attention if an interest group allied with the GOP had tried to coordinate similar activity.
A few days before last fall’s election, I knew that despite her high unfavorable ratings, California’s junior Senator Barbara “Ma’am” Boxer was likely to win re-election. While doing cardio at the gym, I looked up to see the career politician rallying union employees at a very professional phone bank.
Each paid staffer sported telephone headsets, while working at a computer in separate cubicles. By contrast, I had just come from spending the afternoon phone banking with other volunteers for the Republican tickets. We used cheap cell phones, lacked headsets, had no computer monitors and worked off printouts.
Thanks to the unions (many with funding directly from the state’s coffers), California Democrats had a more professional Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort than did Republicans. And in a state where that party has a decided registration edge, such efforts tend to reap rewards come Election Day.
Given unions’ determination to oust Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice David Prosser–and the resources they were pouring into their effort–I was all but certain they would succeed. Those defending the relatively conservative justice were not nearly as fired up as were his opponents. They weren’t pouring the resources into his defense. And they didn’t have, as the unions did, a organization already in place. As Ed Morrissey put it:
Given the usual lack of turnout for April elections in off years, the organizing power of the unions should have been overwhelming, and Prosser should have been toast even in less-progressive areas of the state. Instead, Wisconsin voters thundered to the polls to support Prosser, and Kloppenburg turned out to do poorly outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties — and even in Milwaukee, Kloppenburg led by just a 57/43 margin.
What should have been a slam-dunk if Walker’s proposal was really as extreme and disaffecting as unions claim turned out to be an even split. Given their power and the investment of time and money by the unions, this is an eye-opening stumble.
Some Democrats as well as their ideological allies in the media and the leaders of their various auxiliary organizations seem to see victory in their defeat in Wisconsin this past week. ”AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka,” for example “dubbed Gov. Scott Walker Thursday ‘the Mobilizer of the Year’ for the labor movement, saying Walker’s move to take away collective bargaining rights for public employees will boomerang on Republicans.” James Taranto summarizes E.J.Dionne’s recent column as saying that “Republicans won a legislative victory but overreached, just as Democrats did a year ago [with Obamacare], and they are going to pay a political price, just as the donks did in November.”
Now, to be sure, the recent poll numbers among Wisconsinites for Walker’s modest reforms don’t look much better than do those for Obama’s major health care overhaul. Yet, here’s one distinction to bear in mind. The intense debate over Walker’s plan took place over three weeks, a relatively compressed time frame for a debate of this magnitude. By contrast the debate over Obamacare unfolded over three seasons (Summer 2009, Autumn 2009, Winter 2009-10), with the House passing the bill just after last year’s Spring Equinox.
The shorter time frame for the Wisconsin debate has not given people much time to consider all the issues involved in this reform/budget package. Consider, for example, polling on Obamacare. While Democrats had been talking about reform since the transition, the debate didn’t start heating up until the spring of 2009, becoming really intense that summer. At the beginning of that sultry season, a slight plurality favored the Democrats’ reforms. While people supported health care reform in the abstract, once they learned the details of the plan crafted in Washington, D.C., they became increasingly skeptical and indeed outright opposed.
Similarly, while people favor the rights of public employees to organize in the abstract, the more they learn the details of Walker’s reforms curtailing their privileges, the more citizens will realize how these reforms protect Wisconsin taxpayers from unions who have gained an inordinate amount of power in recent years. As the reforms limit the unions’ privileges, they giving local governments (including school districts) greater flexibility in providing benefits to their employees. (more…)