Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s stunningly easy victory in a recall challenge that was sparked by his efforts to rein in spending and restore a fiscal balance to his state last night left public employee union backers bitter.
“Someone from the NRA should shoot Scott Walker in the head, GTA-style,” said a twitter statement quoted by Fox News, a statement now being perused by law enforcement authorities.
But an emailed statement from Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, whose affiliates lost influence badly with the success of Walker’s state program and affirmation in office, had another perspective.
He was pleased with the success of the election. In fact, he said, “We are winning.”
To him, Wisconsin was a victory, just like “Tunisia, Yemen and other countries where the Arab Spring has taken hold.” Also, like “Greece and France, where voters rejected the failed, Draconian policies of austerity.”
“Last night, Wisconsin took back its Senate. While Gov. Walker remains in office after being only the third governor in American history subjected to the humiliation of a recall, his divisive agenda has been stopped cold,” he told supporters in the emailed plea for signatures on a “pledge of solidarity.”
“Wisconsin made its voice heard. … The work we did together was about much more than just this one election. We’ve laid the groundwork for a powerful movement to push back against Walker-style anti-working family policies everywhere. The energy and momentum in Wisconsin have inspired working people from all walks of life to stand together in solidarity in unprecedented ways.”
He affirmed that Wisconsin is just a small part of “a broader global movement of people” who are fighting “the corporate-driven policies that have favored the super-rich at the expense of good jobs, education and the health of our communities.”
He left out the fact that in Wisconsin, the public employees unions whose influence and financial influence were targeted in Walker’s plan to eliminate a multi-billion dollar state deficit (He’s reported to be almost there), government workers average salary and benefits of more than $80,000 a year, while private sector workers – the taxpayers funding those government benefits, average some $12,000 less.
Said Trumka, “We are winning. We’ve seen it in Tunisia, Yemen and other countries where the Arab Spring has taken hold; in Greece and France, where voters rejected the failed, Draconian policies of austerity; and here in the United States, where members of the Occupy movement continue to shine a much-needed light on Wall Street Greed and ballooning economic inequality.”
He thanked supporters for their effort “for working families” and urged them to sign the pledge stating opposition to “extremist politicians and their deep-pocketed allies will do what they can to move Walker-style attacks on working families, education, health care and voters’ rights across the country.”
Fox News analysts, however, concluded today that unions were “slapped down” by the vote reaffirming Walker’s occupancy of the governor’s seat.
And James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said it is clear that Wisconsin voters support Walker’s reforms, which “prevented unions from hijacking government to serve their interests.”
“Wisconsin’s voters concluded that unions had it right the first time [in a 1959 statement]. Government should serve the public, not the other way around.”
The vitriol over Walker’s win was apparent in the twitter feeds reported by Fox. Another said, “Somebody gone kill Scott Walker man.” That was from @PureeSCRUB. A third said, “Scott walker will die within the next week ive already payed for the hit.”
Fox reported the Milwaukee Police Department and state Department of Justice had begun investigating.
The focal point of Walker’s austerity was to have the highly paid state workers contribute more for their health care and pensions costs. That caused an uproar among the public employee unions, and ultimately the failed recall attempt.
Walker won 53 percent to 46 percent.
Walker said, “Tonight we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country and we tell the world that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions.”
The move is being viewed as a bellwether for national politics, since Walker, a Republican, was affirmed in the state that Barack Obama won by 14 points in 2008.
Republicans already are suggesting the state might be within reach for assumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Walker was challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, now a two-time loser in head-to-head matchups with Walker.
Barrett complained that Walker is a “rock star” to the far right, “and has been able to raise literally millions of dollars from out-of-state contributors.”
On Barrett’s side were out-of-staters Bill Clinton, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Legendary action star and WND columnist Chuck Norris endorsed Walker.
“When I saw [Democrats] also send in the big guns, former President Bill Clinton himself, against Gov. Walker, I knew I had to enter the ring, too,” he wrote. “There’s one primary reason that Clinton came out to Wisconsin to engage in the battle to recall Gov. Walker.
“Democrats, liberals and progressives like him know that as Wisconsin goes on Tuesday, so possibly goes the nation in November. They fear that a win for Gov. Walker will contribute to conservative momentum that will ultimately lead to President Obama’s defeat in his campaign for re-election. And they’re right.”
On Fox News” “The Five” a poster reflecting the results of the election was displayed today. “Dear President Obama. You’re Next. The Tea Party,” it said.
One of the ripple effects was that analysts all of a sudden were citing Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch as a strong political contender for the future.
She was up for recall along with Walker.
“A special congratulations to Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, who overcame much personal adversity, stood by her governor, and embraced her tea party roots,” Sarah Palin said, according to a Washington Post report.
The report said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said people will hear more from Kleefisch.
Trumka said a key victory was a Democrat who replaced a Republican in the state Senate, shifting that body’s power. However, analysts said Walker’s agenda largely already is established in the law, and Democrats would have to go through Walker to change back.
Kleefisch wasted no time in turning the focus on the tea party’s priorities.
“I’m very excited about our chances in November if we have a good night tonight,” she told Sean Hannity.
“My optimism about the country comes in part from the fact that I’m optimistic about the ability of the American people to do the right thing right now. And I say that because of this. What happened yesterday is just another signal – and it will echo throughout the country,” Romney said.
According to Real Clear Politics, left-leaning celebrity Ed Schultz was on a branch all his own.
“Scott Walker could very well be indicted in the coming days,” the MSNBC host said.