Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June Primary Day 2012, Big Labor, Big Failure

The results are in, Conservatives are generally pleased while Liberals and Progressives...well...not so much.

The media and Democrat spin-masters can try to candy coat it all they want, but Scott Walker (R-WI) handed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a double-digit drubbing in the polls. So universal was the rejection of the Public Employees Union position that 38% of Wisconsin voters who identify as "Union" (including both public & private sector) voted for Walker.

On the surface, the issue at hand was the "shocking" requirement (intentional sarcasm) that public employees should contribute to their retirement and healtcare plans what amounts to an infinitesimal fraction of what most Wisconsin non-Union employees contribute to their own.  In reality, the issue was that Walker's PE reforms allowed Wisconsin public employees to opt out of the union. Previously, many public employee positions carried a mandatory union membership (and forced dues contribution) requirement. State records indicate that in some employee groups as many as 20%-35% of previously mandatory dues paying members had decided to opt out. You's not really about "the kids" or even about the benefits's about the monthly revenue loss of the PE Unions and in turn, the reduction of their ability to use those funds to impact local, state and national elections. 

Conservative blogger Rick Wilson sum's it up nicely here:

Seven Quick Thoughts About Wisconsin

1. It's unspinnably bad for the Democrats, not only in Wisconsin, but nationally.  There is no way to turn this chickenshit into chicken salad, even with metric tons of mayonnaise.  The ROI of spending $100 million dollars on 7 recalls in the last year sucked union coffers dry, and left the WI Dems and left demoralized and broken.  No matter the brave spin tonight and tomorrow out of Chicago, they know for damn sure that a massive breach in the Blue Wall appeared this evening. They lost everything tonight...and now go into the Fall with a crushed, weeping base that will have a hard time mounting another full-court press. Just ask this guy:

2. This presents a huge, painful object lesson on the Democrat/Obama core message nationally.  Their favorite tropes - elite vs middle class, union vs management, liberal vs conservative, state workers vs private sector, 1% vs 99% - were all tested in this battle, and every single thing they tried failed. When the early exits showed a 50-48% split on the union reforms, I knew something was deeply wrong, but just not HOW wrong.  If you don't think their stomachs dropped in Chicago over this, think again.

3. A responsible, sharp media would look at this as an opportunity to call b.s. on Democrats and commentators who tried to turn the Wisconsin story into a broad national narrative. (I'm looking at all of you at MSNBC, especially you, Rachel.) If Barrett had proven victorious tonight, you can bet your tail that Chicago would be lighting up the world with how this was the inevitable harbinger of Obama's resounding victory in November. 

4. Everyone's numbers were off.  I had Walker at +3 in my estimates...the spreadsheet was a bit higher, but I kept thinking that the massive labor spending and the labor/Dem/OFA turnout push would keep it tight.  I was vastly too pessimistic. I know one internal tracker was Walker +6 in one of the nights last week, but it'll be interesting to see why the sample was broken for pretty much everyone in the last week.

5. Point 4 leads directly to this question: is the vaunted labor/Dem/OFA turnout machine a Potemkin village?  They put everything they had into this thing, and  If they can't catalyze their base voters to come out after bagging a million signatures against Walker, there are only a couple options: either they're just not as good as they think, or our side has captured enough of the turnout mojo to run strong, countervailing operations. They had several tries to build their lists and turn out their vote and...failure across the board.

6. We all need to stop touching the hot stove of early exit polls.  The only reason the night looked even slightly off-kilter was the flood of erroneous information and interpretation of same. Expect a lot of navel-gazing on the Drudge pop and they pushback.

7. Obama isn't good at the politics of politics.  His Tweet-dorsement (tm) of Barrett, letting Debbie Wasserperson Schultz call this a "test run" and even Axelrod's helplessly tone-deaf tweet tonight all made them look amateurish and tone-deaf.  They started backing away from WI last week, but still did enough damage to themselves without helping the Democrats close the deal.  It'll make other Democrats avoid the Obama Kiss of Political Death.

Bravo, Wisconsin folks.

A little closer to home, San Jose & San Diego both passed measures providing for similar Public Employees pension reforms. The measure in San Diego passed by a 33 point margin. The San Jose version received a WHOPPING ~70% of the vote. This isn't good's FREAKING SPECTACULAR news.  To anyone other than Governor Jerry Brown and his sycophants at least.

What this shows is that the people of Wisconsin, and increasingly, those of California have begun to recognize that which even FDR knew;

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

 “Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.” short, Public Employees Unions are a horrible idea. Today in California there are countless cities at or beyond the fiscal tipping point in large part, because of them. The state itself is burdened with a staggering unfunded liability to it's PE union contracts. This has to be reformed now.

Come on Governor Brown. Nobody will think less of you for coming to the realization that the path we are on is the wrong one. Pick up the phone, call Scott Walker and ask how he has managed to create an environment of economic growth, job growth and a budget surplus. I know it's not the comfortable thing to do...but it's the right thing to do...and you know it.

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