The latest sign that embattled GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is going to survive a recall election slated for June 5? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, that state's largest paper and no uncritical fan of his (despite endorsing him in 2010), editorializes "We recommend Walker; his recall isn't justified."
We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.
Walker's rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker's tough stance with the state's public-employee unions. It's inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.
A Marquette Law School Poll in January showed that many people in the Badger State agree. In that poll, 72% of Republicans, 44% of independents and 17% of Democrats said recalls should be limited to criminal wrongdoing. Republican state Rep. Robin Vos has proposed tightening the recall mechanism; he should continue to push for that after the election, regardless of who wins….
While we think Act 10—the law that clipped the wings of most public-employee unions in the state—was an overreach of political power, we understand and supported the need to rein in the state's labor costs. Municipalities and school districts as well as the state needed more control over their budgets, which Act 10 provided.
But Walker's zeal to give governments more control over their destinies was, we believe, matched only by his zeal to deal a harsh blow to a key Democratic constituency. That has made him a national hero to Republicans.
It's time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We've had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation. We urge voters to support Walker in the June 5 recall election.
Recent polls show Walker with a 5 percentage point to a 9 percentage point lead over his challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Observers on all sides agree that this recall is important in terms of sending a message about collective-bargaining rights for public-sector employees. A Walker win, goes this line of thinking, shows that voters are serious about restraining compensation for teachers and other public-sector workers. Maybe, maybe not. Voters in Ohio last fall spiked a law doing just that.
Are public-sector workers overcompensated relative to their private-sector analogues? All signs point to yes. Are states and localities massively overextended due to salaries and benefits accorded public-sector workers? Again, all signs point to yes. Does that mean that states will start reeling in the amount of money they're paying out now, not to mention the future? Not so much. Consider even Wisconsin, where's Scott Walker's two-year budget increases total spending by 3 percent.
Note: Read my colleague Shikha Dalmia's blog post on the MJS endorsement of Walker here.
Watch "3 Lies at the Heart of the Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Recall Election" for more.
Explicit content warning: This video contains images of cravat-wearing hipsters playing protest songs on ukeleles. Viewer discretion is advised.