JUNE 05, 2012
To paraphrase: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was a waste of time. Well, perhaps not a total waste of time; we did get to learn what democracy looks like with your eyes closed.
The effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ended with a dull thud tonight, putting the exclamation point on 18 months of angry futility and needless public expense inflicted on the Badger state by a self-absorbed liberal old guard too steeped in their socialist ideology to notice it had petrified.
Lies, intimidation, libel, fraud, vandalism, police harassment, rule-rigging, and punitive job actions have been the hallmark of this recall effort from its inception on the day after Scott Walker was elected in 2010. Imperial Madison does not take insurrection in its colonies lightly, and no low is too low when it comes to putting uppity rural minions in their place. Tonight, we are minions no more.
Democrats’ state Chair Mike Tate and official Spokesman Graeme Zeilinski are two gentlemen I have never met – don’t have an axe to grind, a bone to pick, or a score to settle with either one. I know virtually nothing about them except their ages – they belong to the generation who gave us the apt phrase “epic fail” – and their track record.
Since taking the helm in formerly blue-state Wisconsin in 2009, they have lost the governorship, the lieutenant governorship, the state assembly, the state senate, the U.S. Congressional majority, a U.S. Senate seat, the Supreme Court special election and recount, three significant court challenges, a summer recall of state Senators, and now the recalls of Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald.
If tonight’s tweets are any indication, they still don’t know who they are up against. They were defeated – again – by an organic coalition of the willing made up of pure-play GOP, renegade GOP, tea partiers, constitutionalists, conservatives, libertarians, capitalists, reformers, patriots, homeschoolers, gunners, sportsmen, free-traders, taxpayers, pro-lifers, religious advocates, Paulians, and values-voters.
The strength of this growing liberty movement in Wisconsin was revealed at a 2009 tea party event at Milwaukee’s lakefront that drew 15,000 patriots, most of whom had never attended a political rally before. The aforementioned Mr. Tate had this to say back then about all those nice folks who came out to take their country back:
“These are extremist elements pulling together, distinct vocal minorities that frankly don’t believe in this country. They don’t want to see more people have access to quality affordable health care; they don’t want clean air and water. They fundamentally don’t understand how the American government, economy and capitalism work.”
Two things reflect badly on a person’s judgment and analytical skills – bad-mouthing the spouse you chose for yourself, and denigrating the opponent who delivered your worst beat-down. The only thing Mr. Tate got right was the “pulling together” part.
Membership in those “vocal minorities” so breezily dismissed by Madison’s elite liberal establishment has grown to more than twice the size of WEAC, the once-omnipotent teachers’ union. And unlike teachers who are enrolled automatically as a condition of employment, Wisconsin’s independent patriot groups are made up entirely of volunteers.
Libertarians and constitutionalists do not vote Republican because we like Republicans; we vote Republican when their candidate stands with us on more issues than the Democrat does – which is just about all of the time. Would you expect a bunch of vegetarians to vote for a candidate from the Meat Party?
The savvy investors at Democrat Party headquarters in Washington knew the score in Wisconsin early; with three weeks to go and less than 3% of likely voters still undecided, Walker was up 6 points over Barrett in a Marquette University poll. 67 of the 72 counties preferred Walker by double digits, and the 58 rural counties were polling 61-34% for Walker. The spread was a bit overstated, since they only polled likely voters…from Wisconsin…living.
With Democrats holding serve only in their three hardened bunkers – Milwaukee, Madison, and vanloads of grifters imported from Chicago – the DNC yanked their funding. The lack of DNC money did not cause Barrett’s defeat; Barrett’s defeat caused the lack of DNC money. When the guys who thought Solyndra and Volt were a sure bet don’t think you have a snowball’s chance in hell, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in two hells.
A recall election is about what someone did, and what Walker, Kleefisch, and the legislature did in just one year was extraordinary. Over a billion taxpayer dollars saved, a $3.6 billion budget deficit turned into a $425 million surplus without raising taxes, eliminating programs, or massive layoffs. Biggest single-year business climate improvement in history, 90% of employers now say we are headed in the right direction, employment up, unemployment down. That’s in year one.
There are 49 other governors in the United States; can you name one who did half as much in twice as long? There’s your moment of clarity.
Democrats – please don’t sulk. You have no one to blame but yourselves; you were the ones who petitioned the state to grant you this premature butt-kicking. You are on the wrong side of taxes, trains, trolleys, concealed carry, state sovereignty, voter ID, the mining bill, ObamaCare, high speed rail, collective bargaining, castle doctrine, economic development, and school choice. You didn’t even try to win votes of the liberty coalition, so don’t bitch about not getting any.
And Republicans – please don’t gloat. You just won a shadow boxing match against a three-time loser who couldn’t even tell us why he was running. Don’t assume that because voters rejected an ill-advised recall we will fall lock-step behind your entire agenda. 2014 is not that far off, so get to work expanding freedom, limiting government, and reforming our failing institutions if you expect another bite at the apple.
And one more thing – don’t confuse broad support for fiscal responsibility with a mandate to impose a social agenda. If you stick to fiscal matters and bind government by the Constitution you swore to uphold, you will be in the majority until the rapture. Just leave us alone and we will take care of our families, our businesses, our schools, our churches, our charities, our communities, and our property. You know the drill: fix a bridge, arrest a bad guy, and go lay by your dish.
The recall is over, the people have spoken, and Walker won – again. Recriminations are pointless; settling scores will not get this state back to work. We are sick of the tantrums and tired of the drama; if “leave me alone to have a normal summer” was on the ballot, both Walker and Barrett would have been scraping for single digits.
So let’s shall, Wisconsin – let’s have ourselves a normal summer. The fraud, intimidation, lies, and insanity will descend upon us again soon enough this November when its time to trundle back to the polls and recall President Obama. Let’s give it a rest until then.
“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website http://www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.
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