The battle for the future is happening now in Wisconsin.
Scott Walker is running for Governor of Wisconsin for the third time in four years. He was first elected in November 2010, 52.3 to 46.5 percent, sweeping in his wake a Republican House and Senate in the state legislature.
When he signed Act 10 which reformed public sector unionism the government union bosses went ballistic and paid gatherers to collect the 540,208 signatures necessary to recall Walker. In Wisconsin a recall forces a new election and Walker ran for re-election 19 months after his first election against Democrat Tom Barrett. Walker won with 53.1 percent of the vote becoming the first American governor to survive a recall election. Now, Walker is running for a more-traditional re-election campaign and the polls suggest the race is up for grabs.
Every single part of the Left???s coalition has a stake in driving a stake into the political career of Governor Scott Walker.
His Act 10 legislation did the following:
1. No longer could local governments withhold union dues from workers and give it directly to the unions.
2. Being a union member and/or paying dues is strictly voluntary.
3. Unions could no longer negotiate over pensions. Too often in the past weak politicians promise huge pensions and the taxes and spending explosion that results happens long after the responsible politicians has died or retired.
4. Unions may only negotiate wage increases up to the rate of inflation. Beyond that the pay hike must go to the vote of the people. The people as taxpayers pay the bills, they should have a say.
5. Every single year the union members must vote on whether they want to continue their union. If they hold no vote or vote no, the union dissolves.
And 6. Unions cannot negotiate over work rules. Strict work rules have greatly reduced the productivity of public sector workers. This measure alone saved local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in flexibility.
So, the union bosses are quite angry. But taxpayer and local government managers, even Democrats, are very pleased with their greater flexibility and ability to mange their workforces. So the campaign against Walker this time around is all about other things. Yes, secretly the money is largely coming from union bosses around the nation, but they are pretending to focus on other issues.
While the unions were focused on Act 10 Governor Walker and the Republican legislature passed laws to one, prevent voter fraud by requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, two, expand the number of children who have parental school choice to attend private or public schools, three, stopped funding Planned Parenthood, four, passed a ???shall issue concealed carry act??? that has allowed 537,000 Wisconsinites to get concealed carry permits, four, passed the ???castle doctrine??? making it legal to protection your family with a weapon in your home, five, passed more than one billion in tax relief, and made reforms in Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment insurance.
Democrats recruited Mary Burke whose family ran a bicycle factory and who had for a time worked in the family business.
Burke held up her jobs plan which she bragged was better than Walker???s because she was a graduate of Harvard business school. However, several Wisconsin news outlets and the popular website BuzzFeed.com uncovered rampant plagiarism in several of Burke???s policy plans including a jobs plan, veterans plan, and a rural communities plan. The Burke campaign tried to blame consultant Eric Schnurer and dismissed the cases of plagiarism as ???extremely limited.??? Despite the spin, more and more examples of lifted passages from other sources surfaced. Burke can no longer say her plan is better because of her Harvard business background ??? she didn???t even write it.
Poll show the race tight. The Democrats picked well, avoiding a state legislator who would have had to defend his or her votes with the state Democrats caucuses against all the Walker reforms. Had the unions thought Walker???s reforms unpopular they would have chosen someone with a record of opposition. Nor did the Democrats choose a mayor as most mayors are cheerfully using the Walker reforms to balance their local budgets without tax hikes. They did, in Burke, get saddled with an amateur who has allowed her campaign to be run by Washington based political consultants who wrote or borrowed her economic plan for Wisconsin or plagiarized from previous Democrat campaigns in other states.
Grover Norquist is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform.