(Hat tip – IOTW)
Wisconsin governor determined to survive recall threat
by John Gizzi, Human Events
HUMAN EVENTS talked to Walker in an exclusive interview late last month, as well as to other members of Walker’s administration last week. Walker has fast become a hero to conservatives in his first year in office because he has pressed ahead relentlessly to enact fiscally prudent reforms to reverse a state budget deficit. At the same time and in equal measure, his forceful initiatives have elevated the former Milwaukee County Executive to something of a national hate figure for the Left.
An early morning stroll on Pinckney Street near the state capitol building here gives even a casual visitor a clear picture of this political warzone. “RECALL WALKER” bumper stickers and yard signs dot the left-wing neighborhood. A poster in an office window features the embattled Republican governor Scott Walker superimposed on a promo ad for The Godfather blares: “Walker: Morally Bankrupt.”
Walker’s place in the governor’s mansion is imperiled. National public employee unions, eager to make Walker an example that will keep other reform-minded governors in line, are pouring resources into the recall movement. They understand that if Walker survives and prospers, budget-busting public employee unions around the nation will face the greatest challenge in their relatively brief, but fabulously expensive, existence. The Left in general invested so much time, money, and emotion against Walker during the “fleebagger” incident—when Democrat lawmakers literally fled the state to shut down democracy—that his continued survival in office is an open wound, upon which every Walker success is a sprinkle of salt.
Liberals who howled at the nightmarish evil of “Koch Brothers money” supporting Walker are curiously silent about international leftist billionaire George Soros funding anti-Walker websites and organizations through his Open Society Institute. One of these Soros operations, the “Wisconsin Values Budget,” urged closing a $3.6 billion state budget deficit with a billion dollars in tax increases. (As it is in most states, there are no rules or limitations on fundraising in recall elections).
In the first anniversary month of his inauguration as governor, the former Milwaukee County Executive has drawn widespread ire from liberals for propelling through the legislature landmark measures that would require most public employees in the Badger State to pay a greater share of their retirement benefits and that cut back on collective bargaining in the public sector. For those same reasons, Walker has become a symbol of positive reform for Republicans and all who want to see government powers limited and government spending brought under controlled.
That is why his success in any recall election should be so important to conservatives around the country. He will face not only the massed opposition of the state public employee unions and every liberal organization in Wisconsin, but also the almost limitless resources of Big Labor nationwide and the propaganda that will be poured out by the liberal media who view Walker’s defeat as a great run-up to the reelection of Barack Obama in November.
The vicious animosity toward Walker became even clearer to me outside the Hilton Hotel, when I encountered a group of young people collecting signatures for a petition requesting an election recalling Walker. One of them, Elena Thistle, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, told me she became politically involved “when I took part in the protests outside the Capitol last year [as the legislature was enacting Walker’s reforms].”
“Walker took away worker’s rights,” claimed Thistle, in giving the reason she wants the governor recalled. “This is bad for jobs and bad for the environment.” When I asked how it is bad for the environment, she explained that by bringing up an unrelated controversy: how the governor “refused federal funding for a high-speed railway. We needed it so people would drive their cars less frequently, and he’s making public transportation unsustainable.”
“Welcome to the People’s Republic of Madison,” was how State Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen greeted me later in the day.
In back-to-back interviews, Van Hollen and State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald agreed that the governor’s political enemies will most likely get the 540,208 signatures they need to submit by January 13 to put a recall election on the state ballot this year. Both, however, voiced confidence in the eventual triumph of fellow Republican Walker.