Editorial: Wisconsin Votes For Limited Government

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Editorial: Wisconsin Votes For Limited Government

Posted 08/10/2011 07:08 PM ET

Politics: Unions’ failure to recall four Republican state senators shows that their days of power through intimidation are over. If this was a rehearsal for 2012, the White House should start making other plans.

The natives are still restless, the pitchforks sharp and the Walker revolution safe. Portrayed by union leaders as an aberration fueled by a generic voter wrath against incumbents, the GOP grab of both houses of Wisconsin’s legislature and the governor’s office in 2010 was predicted to fade once voters realized “workers’ rights” were at risk.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the polling booth, that shrine to the secret ballot so anathema to union leaders. Voters decided they liked a limited government that said there are things we just can’t afford. They also liked the idea that taxpayers had rights and could and should control how their money is spent.

It didn’t help the union cause when the city of Milwaukee announced it will save at least $25 million a year — and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 — from health care benefit changes it didn’t have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in a 2009-11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for public-sector unions.

Nor did it help the unions that Wisconsin, under the business-friendly leadership of Gov. Scott Walker and a Republican legislature, accounted for more than half the jobs created in the U.S. during June. Walker’s office reported that 9,500 jobs were added that month and 39,300 since he took office in January. So far this year, the state’s unemployment rate has remained at least 1.5 points below the national average.

The ability to continue feeding at the public trough while holding elected leaders hostage is a top union priority. Government is the only area of union growth and constitutes the largest source of union dues that flow to the campaigns of liberal and progressive Democrats.

Had the recall succeeded, the liberal media would’ve had a field day, touting the Tea Party’s demise while giving the Democrats hope to hold the White House in 2012 and perhaps even retake the House of Representatives. But rather than the tsunami of 2010 receding, a second wave for 2012 seems to be building.

Countering the union onslaught, the Tea Party Express went on a nine-city, get-out-the-vote tour in Wisconsin that ended with a rally Monday night in Green Bay. As Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer noted before the vote, “If these conservatives don’t have the support to do the right thing in Wisconsin, then this will happen in states around the country.”

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