Monday, June 11, 2012

Common Sense Prevailed in Wisconsin

Photo By Scott Olson/Getty Images
Whether or not the failure to recall of Governor Scott Walker portends what will happen in November is anybody's guess. One thing is true. Both the Romney and Obama camps stayed clear of Wisconsin. Obama sent a tweet... (how brave!/sarc).  Not sure where Romney was, even though now he is trying to spin the result in his favor. But that is to be expected.

Ed Schultz is railing against Citizen United acting as if there was no money in politics prior to said Supreme Court decision. Perhaps, he forgot that Obama raised $750 million against McCain's $322 million. Funny, I do not recall Schultz or his MSNBC cohorts worrying about the influence of money in politics in 2008. No accusations of Obama "buying the election". But if hypocrisy didn't exist, partisans wouldn't have much to say.

Personally, I do not believe the Wisconsin recall election will have any effect on the presidential race. Blaming Citizens United or money in politics is just a diversion. What happened in Wisconsin is simple: common sense prevailed.

Exit polls show that 60% of the voters believed that recalls are only appropriate in cases of official misconduct. An additional 10% of the voters said that recalls are never appropriate. In other words, 70% of the people who showed up at the polls did not regard the recall legitimate. Again, common sense prevailed.

Our republican form of government cannot work if elected officials can be recalled anytime a sufficient number of voters disagree with their policy decisions and gather enough signatures to force a recall. Such a scenario would result in constant elections and paralyzed government. Kudos to the people of Wisconsin for upholding the principle that once elected, officials should be given a chance to implement their agenda. In other words, let's respect election results.

Wisconsin voters were also wise and saw through all the spin that public sector unions represent the interests of the broader middle class. They do not and never have. Unions represent the interests of their membership. Period. And in the case of public sector unions, the interest of the membership is often the polar opposite of the interest of middle class taxpayers.

No amount of rhetoric about "protecting the middle class" could cover the fact that there is an inherent conflict of interest when public sector unions help elect the very people who will determine their compensation packages. It leads to bus drivers making $150,000 a year in Madison. It leads to abusing collective bargaining. Perhaps, that explains why 38% of union households supported Walker.

Let the political operatives spin until November. Let the pundits draw countless lessons. I feel heartened by the Wisconsin result and have more confidence in voters' judgement.