April 27, 2012
Sixty-Million Dollar Union Assault on Wisconsin Governor WalkerBy Gary Larson
Tora! Tora! Tora! No, it's no sneak attack. Nationwide unions spearheaded by the public employee unions, teachers' unions in the vanguard, have Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in their cross hairs. They aim to shoot him down - figuratively, but of course! -- in June 5 recall elections.
Led by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEI) and Wisconsin-based and other states' teachers unions, their low-level attack is aimed at sinking Gov. Walker and his Republican majority in the Wisconsin Assembly, thus to reclaim power over how taxpayer dollars are spent.
The campaign seeks to dissemble facts and distract from - or rather, ignore -- real issues, mainly fiscal. Put simply, unions want a return to golden oldie days when they, through their Democrat marionettes, pretty much ran things at the Capitol in Madison.
To win, vituperative anti-Walker forces are putting up an estimated $60 million in ad dollars, all derived from union brethren from all parts of America. Call this solidarity. Last year union activists unleashed 3,000 recall petition carriers across Wisconsin, apparently not content to await the next election.
Tempers would have cooled by then, and salutary effects of Gov. Walker's budgetary reforms might be more fully felt. More than 900,000 Wisconsinites signed on the recall petitions to trigger recall of a duly-elected Walker, his lieutenant governor and four Republican legislators.
Among signatures collected were at least 29 journalists and 25 circuit court judges, besides rank and file dittoing Democrats doing their union thing. They did so, apparently, shamelessly. To put that number, 900,000 signatures, into perspective, Gov. Walker tallied 1.1 million votes to be elected in 2010. This suggests a razor-thin margin, either way, to come June in the recall elections.
Unions' all-out campaign to unseat him, to regain a majority in the Assembly, is a sort of masterstroke at jury disqualification. In short, forget the facts, toss the bums out. It is a battle about to become increasingly bloody. Consider a few of the squalid moments that led to this rare recall election:
Near riots in Madison last February. . . union folks, teachers mostly, occupying the Capitol. . . chanting hateful slogans. . . closing down schools. . . taking bogus "sick leave " to protest . . . state senators on union orders fleeing the state. . . attempts at intimidate all who disagreed with unions' special interests. . . death threats for Walker and fellow Republicans. . . talk of boycotting Wisconsin businesses not bowing to union demands. Why, even threats were floated of a statewide general strike to close down the state to get unions' way (again) with state's taxpayer dollars.
Oh it was a mob-like circus,and ordinary taxpayers, well, they could go to Hades, or feed the Union Beast with ever-increasing tax loads, if only Walker would get the hell out of the way.
(Want more examples of the unions' anti-Walker nuttiness? My article, "Thuggery in Wisconsin Union Battle," relates acts of union goons and some Democrat Party faithful to regain power, apparently at any cost, in Wisconsin.)
Polarization, thy name is Wisconsin politics. A close race it will be, an even split is forecast, in spite of Gov. Walker's and the new Republican majority's considerable accomplishments in a such a short span. Such as wiping out a $3.6 billion budget deficit (without raising taxes) and assisting local governments and school boards balance their budgets. In short, bringing fiscal sanity to the state.
In a recent NBC/Marist poll, 48 percent of Wisconsinites approved the job Walker is doing. Incongruently, in light of fiscal facts, 48 percent of Badger State residents polled disapproved. Among Republicans, 91 percent gave him high fives and 84 percent of Democrats did not. (Is the pope Catholic?)
(Aside: In the solitude of the voter's booth, away from intimidation, thoughtful and informed Democrats might express their approval to Gov. Walker's reforms to save their state from economic ruin. Or is this simply a pipe dream?)
Independents in the poll were split down the middle - 47 percent approved of the job Walker is doing, 47 percent disapproved. Six percent couldn't decide. "No Opinions" might have masked quiet approval of budget-hawk Walker's ways. (One can always hope good sense quietly prevails, although comedian Al Franken's win in next-door Minnesota defeats hope of good sense pervading in the electorate.)
To woo independents, Big Labor will stir the cauldron with $60 million in advertising, i just one state, in one election. Wow! Their campaign will toss tons of muck upon the wall to see what sticks. (Okay, so I cleaned up an old analogy.)
Stirring animosity for Walker and the new majority GOPers will be the same ol' strategy: Vilify 'em, dehumanize, ignore real issues, change the subject. Same as before, union strategists will try to stir the base (that, in more ways than one) to portray Walker as Hitler-like, for limiting what they (and union-friendly news media) like to call "rights."
Don't be fooled. It is a cover story to regain their do-not-touch superabundant taxpayer-paid entitlements, once called "fringe benefits" quite beyond the reach of the mere private sector.
While media might revel in the $60 million to come, they have not (yet), to their credit, uniformly assailed Gov. Walker, at least in frontal editorial attacks. Oh yes, snippy blind-side attacks have put the shiv in his back, but that's to be expected from liberal media. Such as, say a front-page piece recently in the neighboring Minneapolis Star Tribune.
It sought desperately to link a Walker-supported self-defense law in Wisconsin (a "home castle law") with, of all things, the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. (See "Echoes of Trayvon in Wisconsin Shooting.") Reporter Richard Meryhew puts the whammy on an "embattled Republican Gov. Walker" for a bill enacted by the Wisconsin Assembly on a yawning, bi-partisan basis. Oh well. Such stretches are "in" as news media types go to bat, not very subtly, against Gov. Walker, on behalf of their union kinfolk.
Consider this anti-Walker spin on the Associated Press regional wire, by Madison-based Todd Richmond, on April 21, as found in the Wisconsin State Journal. Note the words I've emphasized in Italics to denote the artful spin job:
Gov. Walker "...quietly reinstated a program to give merit raises and bonuses to some state workers even as he preached cost-cutting and pushed through a law reducing most public workers' pay and eliminating their union rights."
Catch his drift? Just one in the huge spin bag of journalists' twists. Most reporters, members of the Newspaper Guild, are in sync with their union brothers' and sisters, and ever faithful to the Party line. Call this bias a Sad Fact of Life.
Wisconsinites will be hit by a barrage of adverting of all sorts spelling out doomsday if Walker and his R colleagues are elected again. In the end, the outcome of the election will be determined by independent voters. (And may God bless them with good sense!)
We can only hope, but certainly not trust, independent voters will think straight, not be befuddled by hateful, dishonest, fact-twisting propaganda, nor succumb to the smoke and mirrors and bogus assertions of "rights" for entirely selfish union ends.
If Big Labor loses in Wisconsin, after a drain of $60 million dollars of members' dues extracted, involuntarily in most cases, from paychecks, it means their ideological kin, President Obama and his pals for a more socialistic America, are in even deeper do-do come November.
So the $60 million question in Wisconsin becomes: Will John Q. Public see clearly the issues, and what's at stake, to make the right call on June 5 in Wisconsin? As it is said, we live in such interesting times.
Larson is a Minnesota-based retired newspaper and business magazine editor, and a regular contributor to American Thinker. If any wants to contribute to Gov. Walker's camapaign, forms are available at https://donate.scottwalker.org/s/?gclid=CJLFytCj0K8CFSQCQAodt3aXIw.
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