I found myself corresponding with a reader from Wisconsin today, and asked him what local people thought of the confrontation between Governor Scott Walker and public employee unions. He graciously gave me permission to print his reply:
“This is already the main subject of discussion on talk radio. One hose, a former Attorney General, has put the question directly to his audience. I haven’t heard so much as one person, other than a teacher, assail the Governor’s position.
“I see Gov. Walker’s stock rising, Big Time! He became a hero as Milwaukee County Executive, normally a Democrat stronghold, for how he dealt with Milwaukee County’s labor and budget crisis, and carried Milwaukee County with 80% of the popular vote. This will do for Walker what firing the air controllers did for Reagan.
“In Wisconsin, the public has known for years that the public employee unions were out of control. They watched Gov. Doyle give them sweetheart deal after sweetheart deal. Doyle’s re-election prospects were zilch because of all of the corruption. Everyone understands that the unions own the Democrats, and that they are the underlying cause of a large part of this country’s governmental cost problems. The only unions that have been growing have been the public employee unions, and that only because one party has been using them as a political funding mechanism.
Doyle tried to jam another long term contract down the public’s throat again as his last act as Governor between the November elections and when Scott Walker was inaugurated. Fortunately, that very public and widely covered effort a lame duck session of the outgoing, Democrat controlled Wisconsin legislature fell short in Senate by a single vote.
“Wisconsin’s economy has been depressed since 2002. A lot of people have lost jobs and benefits. The State is looking at a major budget shortfall. The construction industry, the last remaining union stronghold in the private sector, is moribund. The manufacturing sector has been getting major concessions from their unions. Wages and tax revenues are way down.
“Walker intelligently publicly announced the details of his proposal before he presented it to the legislature because he knew it would be quickly distorted by the Democrats, media and unions. As a result, everyone knows Obama and the SEIU are lying through their eye teeth.
“Just as importantly, the union thugs have begun to threaten and intimidate the families and staff of the Governor and Republican Senators. Right now, there is something between very little and absolutely no sympathy for these people. They’ve used ‘collective bargaining’ to extort about 3 times the base wage scale in the private sector. This is why Wisconsin threw out the Democrats, en mass in November.
“This is politically driven and everyone in Wisconsin knows it. Even with the main stream media is bleating the union line, public sentiment is coming down hard on the protesters. And, now, with the Democratic legislators getting on a bus and fleeing the state, the backlash has already started.”