Congratulations to Gov. Walker on his important win yesterday. Here are a few of my observations and thoughts.
-While I don't think the result should be taken as a bellwether of the upcoming November election, the Obama campaign trying to spin it as a "...strong message sent to Governor Walker" from Democrats and the unions is a bit like the Black Knight in the Monty Python film saying ""All right, we'll call it a draw," as he sits there with his arms and legs cut off.
-Part of the issue here is the changing paradigm of the public employee in some areas, not all. The deal used to be that when you became a public employee you traded a higher salary in the private sector for the better job security and retirement benefits of the public sector. There was and is nothing wrong with that. That's how it still works for a great many public employees today.
But some public employees, and I stress some, have gradually managed to not only vastly improve those benefits to Cadillac status, their salaries not only match the private sector, they exceed it. Part of the message here is that's not going to stand. If public employees are going to receive the same salaries or better than those in the private sector they are going to have to take more responsibility for their retirement and health care. Where the old deal is gone, it's gone all the way.
-Republicans should not let themselves fall into an anti-union trap. Quite the contrary, this is a great opportunity to begin the arduous task of pulling some unions back into the Republican Party and the conservative fold in general. Here's what I mean.
Most Americans are not fervently anti-union. They understand that unions have a history of heroic deeds and some still do a good job for their members today and still manage to not destroy their employers. Look at the Teamsters and UPS. They also understand though, that some unions have a history of becoming sclerotic and corrupt and become a detriment to society and not a benefit. Republicans and conservatives should make it clear that they are going after the latter and not the former and they should be unapologetic about going after unions that protect failing schools and public employee contracts that are destroying local governments.
-Some people are calling the money spent on the recall a "record" amount. These numbers don't look right to me, $32 million for Walker and $4 million for his opponent, but if they are they seem astonishingly small for what was at stake. We're talking tens of millions of dollars annually in wages and benefits, union dues, and possible political contributions. Not only that, this fight had implications for local and state political races across the country. $36 million total doesn't seem like that much for something so important. And given that the beneficiaries would pretty much be unions and Democrats, and that they had worked so hard to set up this fight in the first place, all they could come up with was $4 million? Really? Like I said, astonished.
-I almost forgot about this video that I picked up via THS:
This morning when I watched that guy whining I at first didn't know how to respond. Laughing at him seemed a little cruel since he was obviously about to cry. Then I saw it, as though it had travelled space and time to send a message. That's it above the whiner's right shoulder, the traffic signal blinking...Stop...Stop...Stop...
When even the traffic signals are telling you to can the melodramatics, it's time to shut up.