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Walker’s Wisconsin Victory A Win For American Taxpayers

WISCONSIN—Governor Scott Walker won his recall election by a decisive victory (53% to challenger Tom Barrett’s 46%), becoming the first governor in the nation’s history to win a recall election. Not only did Walker’s win signal a death knell to the stranglehold of the public sector unions over the taxpayer’s purse, it signaled the Obama camp that a November win would be far from easy.

Of course, there was hand wringing galore amongst the progressive media pundits. Ed Schultz claimed that the vote was a “disappointment” to Wisconsin workers, as if the voters who went to the polls were not part of the working class. Reuters lambasted the outcome as “the latest evidence of a growing partisan climate in American politics that values confrontation over compromise and has led to gridlock in Washington.”

Hopefully, this win could embolden other state executives to take on their public sector unions as well, saving taxpayers billions in future funding.

There were massive get-out-the-vote drives by both conservatives and organized labor, and voter turnout was high. “This is a huge win for the Tea Party,” said Matt Batzel, Wisconsin state director of American Majority Action, a national conservative group working toward deep cuts in government spending and which worked with local activists. “Time after time they have answered the call to defend Scott Walker.”

But the victory did come at a price. Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at UC Berkley, stated: “This is clearly a victory for Walker, but it’s been a very costly and disruptive victory.” In fact, this election period saw neighbors and families pitted against each other, barely speaking (if at all), over Walker and the state legislature pushing through a law aimed at curbing out-of-control spending on state worker benefits. It made union contributions voluntary (and forced unions to be recertified each year) as well as insisting that state workers pay more of the share of costs for health insurance and pension benefits, just as private sector citizens do.

Of the six recall elections taking place in Wisconsin (governor, lieutenant governor, and four senate seats), five were a victory for the Republican incumbent. The sixth recall vote, a senate seat, had the Democrat contender ahead by 800 votes but the Republican incumbent had not conceded as if this writing. Should the Democrat contender be certified the winner, it would make the Democrats the majority in the state Senate, which could inhibit any future progress for the state if legislators stick firmly to party platforms and not what is best for the state, given the economic climate the country is in.

Walker is ready for the reconciliation to begin and to move forward with the state’s business. “It’s time to put our differences aside and find ways to work together to move Wisconsin forward. I think it’s important to fix things, but it’s also important to make sure we talk about it and involve people in the process,” Walker stated, minutes after confirmation of his victory.

“I hope Governor Walker understands and stays true to his pledge to build consensus and be more inclusive going forward,” said state Representative Peter Barca, Democrat minority leader in the Assembly.

Let’s hope Walker continues to keep taxpayers’ considerations at the forefront of his agenda.

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