It is a winning strategy for the right to stir up resentment among insecure, nonunion workers against their neighbors who have better benefits and more secure jobs. But Walker and his billionaire backers don't offer them anything--just an ideology that says we need more tax breaks for the very rich, but we can't afford to continue giving public employees good health care and retirement benefits and job security in their public-service jobs.The tax breaks for the rich part is gratuitous leftist clap trap that had nothing to do with the recall campaign against Walker, so I'll just ignore that. The core of the argument is that the workers who can use political power to get above market wages should do so, too bad if the taxpayers are on the losing end of the proposition. They should all be in unions as well.
Fortunately, this is a fantasy, as private sector union membership has been in steady decline for decades. Ultimately, state workers shouldn't get better benefits than their private sector counterparts. This is especially true of retirement and medical benefits as these costs have a way of ballooning while not directly being tied to the efficacy of the work performed. To suggest that its somehow right for state workers to lord it over the taxpayers because they have organized into unions is to pave the way for dictatorship. When government workers feel unaccountable because they can elect whom they choose, we are on the road to dictatorship. I am not exaggerating, this is a scary path. This is why Walker's impressive victory tonight is so important for the nation.
John Nichols at The Nation offers his delusions, attributing Walker's victory merely to money and spinning a solid defeat thusly:
Yet, against overwhelming odds, Wisconsin's recall movement fought its way to a dead heat, losing only narrowly in its effort to remove a "right-wing rock star" whose reelection became the top priority of the Republican party, the conservative movement and the 1% billionaires who made Walker's reelection a national priority.
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What could Democrats and the unions have done differently. They could have taken a portion of the millions they did spend on television ads attacking Walker -- whose negatives were already high and who was taken regular media hits regarding a criminal investigation of his aides and donors -- and spent it on early advertising to make the case for collective bargaining and the recall election. Democrats and their allies do a lousy job of framing debates, and that was certainly the case in Wisconsin.
Dead heat? Walker won in Wisconsin by about the same margin that Obama won nationally in 2008. As to the message, the Democrats ran away from the collective bargaining issue when their own polling indicated that it was a big loser with the voters. This was an election with very high turnout. Voters frankly just rejected the idea that unions shouldn't be reined in.