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Scott Walker, Triumphant

All the major networks have called tonight’s Wisconsin recall election for Scott Walker.

Walker’s story is fascinating. His rise to the governorship was itself a remarkable achievement. A college dropout and an Eagle Scout, son of a small-town Baptist minister (First Baptist Church of Delavan), Colorado-born (but you wouldn’t know it from his Packer love). He met Ronald Reagan when he was a teenager on a trip with Boy’s State, and decided to go into politics. He ran for General Assembly five years later at 22, lost. He married a 36 year old woman when he was 25, moved to a better district, and won. And he kept on winning.

Walker still disguises his oddball nature and the cussedness of his character with scads of Wisconsin nice. It’s that combination which makes him a formidable opponent, one stubbornly convinced of the rightness and the essential nature of his views. Those people tend to win if their timing is right.

Confrontations between the people and organized labor aren’t new, but they have a way of translating to the national conversation. A single sentence arguably made Calvin Coolidge president: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” It hit a nerve then, as it has now. I have seen conservative crowds give applause for presidents and political figures all over the country, but I have never seen them applaud as they do for Walker.That applause will only get louder now.

Thus, on the eve of today’s recall election, came comments like this:

“We’re in a battle for freedom in this country,” Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native and chairman of the Republican National Committee, told about 75 Walker supporters yesterday in Germantown. “We’re not only in a battle for the state of Wisconsin; we’re in a battle for the future of America.”

In most cases, I’d dismiss this approach as overheated rhetoric – Walker’s reforms are nowhere near as severe as they’re made out to be, and they are less exportable than some might like. But branding this as the most important election of the year is not entirely wrong. Walker’s confrontation writ large is not with public sector unions, but with the dying Blue social model. It is one of the longest-lived coalitions in American politics, but one the White House is already letting slip – the marriage decision was a clear sign of that. Tonight’s Walker victory may prove to be its death knell.

As Walter Russell Mead writes:  

“A Scott Walker victory would reshape not just Republican politics but Democratic politics as well; leaders like Andrew Cuomo in New York and Rahm Emanuel in Chicago will be paying attention. If Walker wins handily, more Democrats will see the writing on the wall: Support for public sector unions simply isn’t the political winner it once was. This could presage a larger post-blue shift in the Democratic party for decades to come.”

Timing in politics can mean everything, and Walker’s is impeccable.

This, by the way, is how I recommend celebrating. I’m not really a blend guy, but the name makes it appropriate:

IMG-20120605-00128.jpg

  1. Noesis Noeseos
    “And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?   Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’   He chortled in his joy.

    – Lewis Carroll

  2. Jimmy Carter

    We must ride this tsunami.

    Pay attention GOP!

  3. James Gawron

    Ben,

    The Taxpayers of Wisconsin to the Public Employee Unions, “DROP DEAD!”  I could hear them say it in Florida it was so LOUD!

    Regards,

    Jim

  4. gnarlydad

    Hi Ben, a quick question:

    If you’re right and the progressive crowds see the writing on the wall, where do they turn for big money in the next few decades? Without union thuggery and cash, do they have any hope of mounting a winning coalition against well-heeled conservatives? Sure, Hollywood and Academia will always be there for them, but will it be enough?

  5. Foxfier

    *happy dance*

  6. wilber forge

    The outfall of wailing and renting of garments from the Union side will continue. Perhaps the Union Religion will have to reform. To date, have heard of no one refer to Unions as a Religion, something to ponder.

    False Gods and all that.

  7. Ben Domenech
    C
    gnarlydad: Hi Ben, a quick question:

    If you’re right and the progressive crowds see the writing on the wall, where do they turn for big money in the next few decades? Without union thuggery and cash, do they have any hope of mounting a winning coalition against well-heeled conservatives? Sure, Hollywood and Academia will always be there for them, but will it be enough? · 8 minutes ago

    I think we’re already seeing it: a return to the privilege/cronyist approach the party had for most of the early 20th Century. Jay Cost has literally written a new book about this.

  8. Jerry Carroll

    I said the spin would start right away. From the NYT:

    “But it’s unclear that Mr. Walker’s victory will translate into a clear benefit for Mr. Romney in the fall. Wisconsin voters said in early exit polls that they would vote to re-elect Mr. Obama to the White House if the voting were taking place today.”

  9. Adam Freedman
    C

    Hooray!   It’s a remarkable achievement — in a reliably blue state, in the midst of anti-incumbent fever, and a national union campaign to demonize him, Gov. Walker seems headed for a big win.  Independent voters aren’t buying what the unions and the democrats are selling.

  10. Sumomitch

    This is huge; I remember Reagan firing the striking air traffic controllers, and how that changed the whole assumptions of the country about private enterprise, unions and the federal governments role in the economy. The recovery started there, even before the Reagan tax cuts could take effect. Animal spirits.

    One man with courage can change everything in politics. What is amazing is how rare a virtue it is, but I suppose it twas ever thus. Now, at least the mission is clear for the remaining states: public employee unions collective bargaining rights must be limited to salaries, and, above all,  dues must be voluntary.

  11. Mel Foil

    I’d summit it as a saintly intercession by (Saint?) Andrew of Breitbart, but all things considered, it was just simple logic–not a miracle.

    Much delayed correction: “Summit” should be “submit.” A good reminder for me that spellcheckers aren’t mind readers. It could’ve started out as “sugmit”…who knows?

  12. Keith Rice

    This is exciting news,  but it begs the question: Why were they statistically tied entering election day, as well as in early exit polling?

    The answer is that many people are afraid of The People’s Party and will not verbalize any opposition. I think that with the increasing militancy of the Left we will see more and more polls giving Dems a greater percent than what they’ll get from the ballots.

  13. MBF

    I live in a 75% Democrat ward in Milwaukee County. I just cracked some champagne.

  14. Justine Olawsky

    Like! Like!  A thousand times like to every glad sentiment expressed in this comment thread!

    With the big exhale came the tears.  Blessings upon every sane Wisconsin voter.  You’ve done all Americans proud tonight.  Hurrah for Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch!  Happy, happy day!

    (Truly, politics should not mean this much; but, with government this big, it sure does.)

    Upward and onward to November!

     

  15. John Marzan

    why are they citing those flawed WI exit polls that indicated this was a close race?

    Jerry Carroll: I said the spin would start right away. From the NYT:

    “But it’s unclear that Mr. Walker’s victory will translate into a clear benefit for Mr. Romney in the fall. Wisconsin voters said in early exit polls that they would vote to re-elect Mr. Obama to the White House if the voting were taking place today.” · 20 minutes ago

  16. Cal Lawton

    Mr. Obama, I can see your retirement from here.

  17. drlorentz
    Highlama: This is exciting news,  but it begs the question: Why were they statistically tied entering election day, as well as in early exit polling?

    I wondered about this too. The reason is unclear. I have my doubts about the objectivity of the polling. Polls can be a form of agitprop. From what I read, the vote was 60/40. This is a landslide, well outside any reasonable margin of error.

  18. Rick B

    Please don’t tease with the liquor!  I wish my fridge still looked like this:

    beer.jpg

    Most of the necessities of life, I think.  Though I would rather replace the bottle of Kru vodka (excellent choice if you don’t know it) with a nice Aberfeldy 21 year or Aberlour.  The latter is more of an after dinner scotch.  The Aberfeldy, a perfect Speyside with a sweet smidgen of pear/orange blended into a nice mild spice finish.  After I get to Houston and start a regular Ricochet meetup, you and Ben will need to make it for scotch and cigar night.  Unless I see you while Peter is here in Austin.

    Oh, and go Scott!! We seem to have a lot of those “Scotts” lately.  Tim Scott, Scott Walker, Rick Scott.

  19. Jimmy Carter
    Justine Olawsky:

    (Truly, politics should not mean this much; but, with government this big, it sure does.)

      · 12 minutes ago

    Exactly.

  20. John Marzan
    Conn Carroll @conncarroll

    14m

    how can anyone take @ppppolls seriously ever again? they are Daily Kos SEIU hacks. End. of. story.

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