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June 6, 2012 / Political Fluency

Re. Spect. Walker!

Run your mouth when I’m not around
It’s easy to achieve
You cry to weak friends that sympathize
Can you hear the violins playing your song?
Those same friends tell me your every word

A lesson learned in life
Known from the dawn of time

Respect, walk


We live in the greatest country in the world.

In Wisconsin, the past two years have been marred by division between those who believe public-sector unions have the right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits from the taxpayers and those who do not. The division was is so deep that it exacerbated the partisan trend of the average voter over the past decade and a half, now armed with technology and choices that didn’t previously exist, to live in a bubble of like-mindedness.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“[Wisconsin] residents live in parallel societies, limiting themselves to like-minded friends, separate drinking holes and sympathetic media outlets.

“Triggered by a backlash against the Republican governor’s move 15 months ago to crimp collective bargaining for the state’s public employees, the recall race has pitted neighbor against neighbor, damaged decades-old friendships, and, in one case, led a woman to drive into her husband when he tried to stop her from voting for Mr. Walker’s opponent in a primary last month.”

Recall elections at the governor level are very rare. Only 19 states permit them. Lynn Frazier was recalled in 1921 as the Governor of North Dakota and Gray Davis was recalled as Governor of California in 2003. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the first to win such an effort against him.

Republican Governor Walker signed into law restrictions on unions to collectively bargain for wages and benefits in the public sector (school, municipal, and state workers). In the Spring of 2011, the unions pushed for a recall election of David Prosser on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Then in the Summer of 2011 they pushed for a recall of Wisconsin State Senators  to tip the balance of power back toward the Democrats. Despite losing both efforts, they went on with the attempt to recall Governor Walker this year.

In fielding a Democratic candidate to run against Walker, the unions got off to an inauspicious start when they backed County Executive Kathleen Falk over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the Democratic Primary. Barrett had faced Scott Walker in the gubernatorial election in 2010 and lost. Falk ended up getting shellacked by Barrett 58% to 34% making the recall a rerun of the 2010 race. This time Walker increased his margin over Barrett from 5% to 7%.

What’s so great about America in all of this?

No one is killing each other over it.

In upwards of 75% of the world, there would be blood in the streets over such radically different worldviews competing for this amount of power. We saw it in the Arab Spring that’s now turning to an Arab Winter as radical Islamists are taking the place of violent-but-friendly-to-the-US dictators and protracted battles between the existing regimes in Syria, Libya, and (to a certain extent) Egypt against insurgent forces. Even Greece has had a tremendous amount of rioting in response to austerity programs similar to Governor Walker’s.

I’ll take politics as “war by another means” like is typical in the West.

And if it leads to this, all the better!


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