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Posted at 8:21 AM ET, 02/28/2011

Friday question answered

By Jennifer Rubin

On Friday, I asked how the Wisconsin labor standoff is going to turn out and how will it impact the 2012 Republican primary race.

A number of readers predicted that Gov. Scott Walker will prevail. Iowahawkeye writes:

Walker's already won. He's already won because the only way he loses is if Wisconsin chooses to nullify its own election and reward the ex-patriot senators. He's already won because he said he was going to do this, while running for office, he won the election, now he's doing it. He's already won because if you are a public sector unionist, you are not in an existential war with government or corporatism; you are in an existential war with the public.

StatistQuo agrees: "It will stalemate for another couple of weeks until the Democrats capitulate. Astroturf demonstrations and foul mouth demonstrators will make public opinion turn on them. (Even if the MSM does not report union hijinks accurately.)

Rodomontade, however, has the most insightful and complete analysis:

As for the outcome of the standoff, Gov. Walker is clearly aiming for victory rather than compromise. The polls, the collapse of resistance in the Wisconsin House, and the White House's distancing from the controversy all suggest that he'll get it.

As for the GOP primary race, I think this further discredits those who would be inclined to govern as big government conservatives a la George W. Bush. Fiscal conservatism has become nonnegotiable in the GOP. Because it is quickly becoming a litmus test, those who fail the test suffer far more than those who pass it gain.

This hurts Huckabee and Santorum, who would presumably run with a greater emphasis on social issues. Mitch Daniels's comments during the crisis did him no favors either. Romney, with the RomneyCare albatross weighing him down, would like to change the GOP electorate's emphasis on small government as well.

Pawlenty probably helped himself a bit -- but not enduringly in my opinion -- with his support of Gov. Walker. Other candidates taking hard lines avoid losing ground. Perhaps governors gain a little as a group because Wisconsin showcases a governor's potential prominence and effectiveness compared to other officials.

In sum, the Tea Party ethos will get another boost. Candidates who stand on principle and who understand both the substance and the optics of battling defenders of big government will do well; candidates who've raised taxes and spent gobs of the taxpayers' money (e.g. Mike Huckabee) or who've gotten outfoxed by their Democratic opponents (e.g. Daniels, who gave up on right-to-work without accomplishing his legislative goals) will fade in the 2012 primary race. The Wisconsin standoff has highligted how critical is a chief executive with moxie. The party faithful would dearly love to get Gov. Chris Christie (who fits the bill on this score), but if they can't get him they will look for the next best thing. After they figure out who that is, of course.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 28, 2011; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Next: Who's the hooligan?


Wisconsin should copy Virginia, Indiana, etc. and ban all public sector unions.

AFSCME should not exist.

They should also make WI a Right To Work state. Nobody should be forced by law to pay dues to union thugs just to keep their job.

Posted by: TominColorado | February 28, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I get so sick of hearing about Christie-yes he has been tough on fiscal issues. But his praising of Michelle's let's move initiative, support for Cap & Trade, and refusal to sign on with the other 26 gov's legal challenge to Obamacare disqualifies him IMHO.
I wish Ms. Rubin would address those issues.

Posted by: cajunkate | February 28, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Here's an article that illustrates how Christie promotes himself, and in this case falsley. He brags that NJ has led the way in fiscal issues but Daniels and other govs have been years ahead of him. Does anyone doubt Christie's press operations wasn't behind this article?

Posted by: cajunkate | February 28, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I predicted in the Friday Question that cooler heads would prevail. Interesting from today's NY Times:

“Cooler heads prevailed,” said Jim Palmer, the executive director of the 11,000-member Wisconsin Professional Police Association. “They had said they were going to clear the place out, and then they thought the better of it. Now it’s clear that law enforcement professionals are running the show.”

(rather than the Governors political appointees)

I think that in the matter of the bill, cooler heads will also prevail.

The union is backed in to a corner, with the governor charging with his bayonet aimed for their hearts. It's an existential threat. For the state Senators, this is a political exercise. For the unions it's life and death.

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and fiscal conservatism is a litmus test, unless you want to shovel another 100 billion in to the wars, build a 35 billion dollar tanker aircraft to fight the Soviets of 1979, or build a superfluous fighter jet engine in your district.

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

A warning to my tea party brethren. Do not be goaded into a violent confrontation with the pro union anti taxpayer protesters. The union thugs are losing the national argument no matter how many fake and misleading polls msnbc and the dems want to cite. A breakout in violence will let them categorize the tea party erroneously as extreme violent, and haters. Obama spoke 4 weeks ago in Tucson about civility, why is he not calling for civility now? Why is he not trying to turn down the flame of confrontation in America? The only way the left changes or wins this argument is by some violence. Let conduct are anti protests if we must away from the pro union thugs. Support your cause through educating the Educationable with logic on the issues. Phone or email the republican and democratic governors showing support for Gov. Walker. The disgraceful abandoning of their posts by the wisc. 14 resonates with most Americans and everyone knows it , even the left. Do not give them an excuse to reframe the argument with a violent confrontation, which is what a lot of them secretly hope for.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | February 28, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"The party faithful would dearly love to get Gov. Chris Christie (who fits the bill on this score), but if they can't get him they will look for the next best thing. After they figure out who that is, of course."

Why Jennifer, in almost biting off your tongue last week, you know her name is Sarah.

Posted by: SteveG5 | February 28, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Member8, you confuse weapon systems with wars.

Asking men to fly combat aircraft that are serviced by 1950's technology tankers (i.e., a 707 with a fuel reservoir) is grotesque.

Fighting wars on behalf of a medieval people in AfPak? You have a point.

In regard to Wisconsin, you apparently have never lived in a small town in the midwest. No one is going to indenture themselves to a bunch of drum-pounding underachievers who are throwing hissy fits because they can't buy this particular governor and legislature.

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | February 28, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Ha! I hereby nominate the aptly named addiehaskall to the the official spokesman of the Tea Party!

"Support your cause through educating the Educationable with logic"

Expertly argued!

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Just the fact that taxpayer dollars are being used by Public Unions to campaign
for "their candidates", is enough to Make your blood boil.
Maybe taxpayers should sue the states for
this money and demand that unions Give the Money back!
I'm surprised taxpayers aren't up in arms
over this.
Most middle class taxpayers are Not union;
most middle class taxpayers don't have anywhere near the salary/benefits/pension
that public employees have;
Yet, our taxdollars are being used by Unions to campaign for their candidates.
There has to be something ILLEGAL about this, and maybe taxpayers need to pursue getting that money back!

Posted by: ohioan | February 28, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"In regard to Wisconsin, you apparently have never lived in a small town in the midwest. No one is going to indenture themselves to a bunch of drum-pounding underachievers who are throwing hissy fits because they can't buy this particular governor and legislature."

Actually I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, but point taken.

Of course, the demonstrators can't buy this particular governor. Only Koch Industries can buy this governor.

Question: Why should only the teachers be stripped of collective bargaining rights? Why shouldn't firefighters and police officers lose them as well, if stripping them is so necessary?

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Why should only the teachers be stripped of collective bargaining rights?"

Member 8,

Perhaps the proper question is why should college educated professionals be in a union at all? Did school boards exploit defenceless teachers in the bad old days like they were coal workers in a company town? Why can't these highly educated professionals offer their services to local school boards for individually negotiated wages just like accountants, lawyers, engineers, or architects do with their employers? And why shouldn't school boards be free to offer outstanding teachers higher pay than other teachers?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 28, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

No the question is why you would like to see collective bargaining rights removed from teachers and not from police and firefighters.

Is it at all possible that if Walker wins this round, he'll come back for more later and go after the firefighters collective bargaining rights? And then the polices?

And, if you're not too tactical to offer an opinion here, should he come back for those things?

BTW, here is Ronald Reagan lecturing the Polish government on how being in a union is a basic right:

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Member 8,

Sorry. I thought the answer was obvious. Unions are a necessary and desirable counterweight for sweated labor, assembly line workers, and other menial jobs where employers have historically had an opportunity to exploit the relatively interchangeable and therefore defenceless worker. One might reasonably argue that police and firefighters fall into this category because the job frequently requires as much brawn as brains.

For educated professionals, however, unions are inappropiate and unecessary. Why any educated professional would want to give up his opportunity to work for the highest possible wage mystifies me.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 28, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Breaking: Key GOP Wisconsin Senator Reportedly Pulls Support from Union-Busting Bill; Defiant Protesters to Occupy Capitol Despite Walker's Promise to Remove Them

It would be premature to say the tide is turning towards the unions in Wisconsin, but it appears that for tonight at least, the momentum is on their side.

According to reports via Twitter, Republican state senator Dale Schultz has withdrawn his support for Governor Scott Walker's union-busting bill. Last week Schultz, a veteran lawmaker who's served in the senate for 20 years, offered a "compromise" proposal in an attempt to break the deadlock, but it was rejected by Walker and panned by the protesters. Update: this has yet to be confirmed.

Two other GOP members would have to join Schultz and break ranks with their party in order to kill the bill. Journalist Micah Uetricht reports via Twitter that a huge sign at the capitol reads, "we need 3 courageous senators," and protesters are now changing the number to 2 to deafening cheers.

Earlier, Scott Walker had ordered that the capitol be closed and the protesters removed at 4pm CST but they said they wouldn't leave, setting up a standoff.

But the hour came and went, and now there are multiple reports via Twitter, yet unconfirmed, that police have announced that protesters would be allowed to spend the night in the capitol. Micah Uetricht reports that an earlier pizza embargo has been lifted, and food has arrived on the scene.

By Joshua Holland | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at February 27, 2011, 5:19 pm

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is still officially undecided, according to his chief of staff. He is a RINO from a district that Obama carried by 61%. Of course he is going to vote no, as did a few Assembly Republicans. Why a guy with ten years experience as a state senator doesn't know enough to keep his head down and his mouth shut at a time like this is beyond me. He must be a compulsive blabber like Gringrich or Biden.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 28, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Officially undecided" does not exactly sound like Koch fedayeen. Should a compromise bill become Madison consensus, Walker's opinion of him will be closer to mechablim.

There are more than one RINO in the state Senate, many of them have a lot of public school teachers, cops and firefighters in their districts.

Perhaps the bill situation has developed not necessarily to Walkers advantage.

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Member 8,

I see you have time to channel Hirohito, but not to explain why college educated professionals require a union. Interesting.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 28, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Inagua1, I see you have not yet typed the words, "I think Governor Walker should pass a bill stripping police and firefighters of collective bargaining rights."

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"I see you have time to channel Hirohito, but not to explain why college educated professionals require a union."

BTW, I will take a stab at this one. Any people whether they have degrees or not should have a union if they decide to have on, as is their right (artfully articulated by Ronald Reagan in the link above).

When the cast of Friends said to the producers, 'pay us one million dollars per show each or we walk', that was a union, and that showed the benefits to the little guy of collective bargaining. Everybody won.

People can be abused and mistreated whether they have degrees or not.

Also unions don't just represent workers in the workplace. They also provide the only representation most working people have in government. The Kochs have an army of lobbyists and own many politicians. I'm just little old me. If government wants to do something bad to me, who is going to stand up and represent me? Why should David H. Koch have representation in Washington when I don't? That's what a union can sometimes do.

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

In collective bargaining with public sector unions, who represents the 'tax payer'?

Posted by: pmtodebush | February 28, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Good public school teachers, of whom there are many, should make at least double what they do now; and poor teachers should be asking if you would like fries with that burger. Teacher unions contribute hugely to this unfortunate situation. That there are some people like Member 8 who might not feel confident enough in their abilities to compete in the job marketplace without assistance is obvious. That they represent a very a very small percentage of the American workforce is encouraging.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 28, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site.", Inagua1.

What I feel is of no consequence.

However, since Walker has won hands down and it's all over - just one question; where are those state senate Democrats? Might they call Walker's bluff on Tuesday? Tuesday is 2.5 hours away as of this moment...

Posted by: member8 | February 28, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Member 8,

I hope you do not take it as a personal attack when I observe that you have either confused me with someone else or you have a reading comprehension problem. I predict that Walker will win; I never said it was all over; I recognize the possibility that my prediction might be wrong.

Posted by: Inagua1 | March 1, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

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