If you’ve listened to The KaibCast at all this week, you may have heard about the nasty Wisconsin Supreme Court election. The race has been to close to call since Tuesday, but new developments seem to give the incumbent, conservative Justice David Prosser, the advantage:
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that the votes weren’t reported on Tuesday due to “human error.”
Before the announcement, it was assumed 68-year-old conservative Justice David Prosser’s race against liberal assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg was headed for a recount.
But Prosser’s unofficial 7,500 vote-lead is likely to stand if the new numbers hold up through canvassing in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
Kloppenburg declared victory on Wednesday when unofficial totals showed her with a 204-vote margin out of nearly 1.5 million cast in Tuesday’s election. Prosser’s campaign had been expected to request a recount.
But it waited as each county’s board of canvassers sought to reconcile the totals, making sure the ballots in hand match the number of people who voted.
This election could have far-reaching consequences for Wisconsin and the nation. This race was turned into a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-public union bill. The far left went crazy, pouring millions into the state and flooding the airwaves with vicious garbage.
It was the most expensive state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin history. As of Tuesday, outside groups had spent a record $3.58 million, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York University program that tracks spending on judicial races.
When Democrats thought they were victorious, they warned the race was only a sign of what’s to come. Recall efforts have been launched against 16 state senators from both parties for their support or opposition to the bill eliminating most public employees’ collective bargaining rights.
On Wednesday, two liberal groups, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, announced they planned to pour another $125,000 into ads supporting recall drives against eight Republican state senators who backed Gov. Scott Walker’s bill.
Far from echoing the “days of rage” in Egypt, the Democrat-controlled astroturf public-sector union thug-fest in Madison, Wisconsin was a national disgrace. Unlike the Egyptian protesters, who were pro-democracy, the whiners in Wisconsin were anti-democracy, pretending that November never happened. Sorry, folks, but elections have consequences.
The people of Wisconsin elected a Republican Governor, who campaigned on reigning in the public-sector unions. They also elected Republican majorities to both houses of the state legislature. Thus, a law reigning in the public-sector unions easily passes the legislature and is promptly signed into law by the Governor. This is how a representative democracy works.
But what’s in the law? After the health care debate, we learned that Democrats never read bills before they vote on them, so it’s understandable that the Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature and their union allies would be confused. Luckily Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller actually read it. Here are some key parts of the law that Boyle found:
- Public sector employees would still be allowed to collectively bargain on wages, but not on health-care or pension plans.
- Raises would be tied to the inflation rate, unless the state’s voters deemed the employees worthy of larger raises.
- Public sector employees would have to pay slightly higher rates for their health care and other benefits, but those rates would remain lower than those of the average private sector employee.
- Public sector employees would be required to pay 12.6 percent of their health-care premiums; they currently pay about 6 percent.
- Public sector employees would have to contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to their pensions under Walker’s plans; currently some pay nothing. From 2000 to 2009, public sector employees paid $55.4 million into a pension system that cost $12.6 billion.
- Police, firefighters and other public safety workers would be exempt from the new collective bargaining restrictions.
The new law doesn’t seem so bad after all, and union leaders are claiming they might have gone along with the Governor, if only he had asked them for their opinion first. But last time I checked, union leaders aren’t members of the state legislature and have no say in the matter, other than lobbying their Democrat allies to oppose the bill and debate the issue on the floor. Pathetically, the Democrats ran away to Illinois to unsuccessfully block the law’s passage. Instead of debating the issue, they ran. You can always count on Democrats to cut and run.
The battle in Wisconsin is about more than dealing a blow to public-sector unions. It’s about restoring fiscal sanity to this nation. Other states, like Michigan and Ohio, for instance, are facing similar public-sector union issues.
Let me be clear. I am not attacking the rank and file union members, many of whom would prefer to spend their union dues on themselves or their families. The union bosses are the ones who deserve our ire. They are the thugs.
It is our job, as conservatives, to stand against the public-sector unions. They are part of the big government problem that is shackling this nation. Long shot GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain, speaking to Tea Partiers who came out to counter-protest the unions, said, “Wisconsin is Ground Zero for the rest of the nation, and we, the representative majority, will not be intimidated.”
Mr. Cain is exactly right. We will not be intimidated. We will not back down. Whatever the cost may be, we will fight in state capitols, we will fight in the halls of Congress, we will fight in the blogosphere and in the streets, we will fight in the courtrooms; we will never surrender, because too much is at stake.
Most recently, a liberal judge issued a restraining order to prevent the law from going into effect. The battle is far from over. It has just begun.