Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Recall in Wisconsin

Despite massive protests, procedural obstacles, and restraining orders, the Wisconsin GOP hustled Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union bill into law in March. Now, they're paying a steep political price. Democratic and labor activists launched an effort to recall six Republicans who supported crippling the right of public employees to collectively bargain.

They needed roughly 15,000 signatures to secure recall elections for each senator. In each case, "more than 21,000 signatures were gathered." Today, the non-partisan state election officials announced the success of their efforts by ordering a recall election for state GOP Sens. Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, and Luther Olsen on July 12.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Republicans overreached badly in Wisconsin:

They thought it would be easy to take down the public-sector unions, to deprive them of their very essence (the right to bargain collectively on behalf of their members, who on their own would never have such strength and who, as we know from pre-union days, would be abused in one way or another by their employers) -- perhaps just to stick it to them, perhaps as an opening shot against organized labor generally, perhaps to weaken the Democratic Party. But the grand right-wing conspiracy was exposed, backed by the Koch brothers and pushed by Republican business and other anti-government interests, and also by a popular governor who apparently without knowing it put his political career on the line.

It isn't a huge exaggeration to say that they committed political suicide. At the very least, they hurt themselves, and their electoral prospects, enormously. At the polls, they will pay for what they have done. For three of them, that may be less than two months away.


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