What do you want with your Wisconsin cheesecake? Fine port wine or sour grapes koolaid?
….because the Washington Post has your choice today.
Without the thumb of the state tilting the scale by coerced collection, union membership became truly voluntary. Result? Newly freed members rushed for the exits. In less than one year, AFSCME, the second-largest public-sector union in Wisconsin, has lost more than 50 percent of its membership.
It was predictable. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) instituted by executive order a similar reform seven years ago, government-worker unions have since lost 91 percent of their dues-paying membership. In Wisconsin, Democratic and union bosses (a redundancy) understood what was at stake if Walker prevailed: not benefits, not “rights,” but the very existence of the unions.
So they fought and they lost. Repeatedly. Tuesday was their third and last shot at reversing Walker’s reforms. In April 2011, they ran a candidate for chief justice of the state Supreme Court who was widely expected to strike down the law. She lost.
Hold on to those union membership metrics above when people are given true economic freedom to choose. Mr. Dionne brings the Sour Grapes Koolaid offering:
In its way, this would be a just outcome: Voters used state Senate races to signal their dissatisfaction with Walker’s overreach and thus put the retained governor on notice.
Exit polling showed the same electorate that backed Walker giving President Obama a seven-point lead over Mitt Romney, which underscores the problem for conservatives who want to give the Wisconsin outcome an excessively ideological spin. Roughly one Walker voter in six picked Obama over Romney, and this was a group of classic swing voters, made up disproportionately of moderates and independents.
This fact, though, should also register with the left. For years, progressives have engaged in a fruitless, false-choice argument as to whether victory comes primarily from mobilizing loyalists or from winning over middle-of-the-road voters. The obvious truth is that the center-left cannot win without pursuing both strategies simultaneously.
Barrett was clearly aware of this. He closed his campaign appealing to moderates with calls for comity and an end to Wisconsin’s civil war. The strategy worked as far as it went — late-deciding voters backed Barrett overwhelmingly. But the obstacles in his way were too large.
The big difference between the two is Mr. Dionne’s notable lack of reference to human behavior when given economic freedom. Human desire for economic freedom is fundamental and has been with us since the dawn of mankind. These freedoms are universally sought, lousy political ideas and rhetoric are not.
Mr. Dionne likes to point to a single tilt in one Senate seat as proof of people’s disdain for Mr. Walker’s ‘anti-labor’ bend. Hah. What Mr. Dionne is ignoring is that the single Senate tilt had the full brunt of union dues putting their thumbs on the political scales Mr. Krauthammer alluded to. He also ignores the fact that -overall- the left and unions lost most of their battles when the ledger is tallied. The people of Wisconsin -not just a single district- spoke. Multiple times.
So, in summary… if the unions had such compelling ideas and they were so popular…. they still lost with the economic scales tilted in their favor? Give me a freaking break.
Mr. Dionne opines about the collective bargain initiatives in Ohio in his article as proof that the left just needs to change political tactics. Sure those got reversed… and Mr. Dionne wants to point to that as a template for victory going forward?
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
Sure, Mr. Dionne…please beseech the unions to use the Ohio initiative. You see dying vestiges of union influence in a very union dominated state as a sign of promise. I see the smouldering flickers of a funeral pyre where the union carcass lies.
Don’t believe me? Look to Indiana and California. Guess what? Others are sick of it, too. Where are people moving to? States with robust economic growth….and I assure you they don’t ingest the poison you prescribe, Dr. Dionne. It’s that economic freedom elixir I mentioned earlier, Mr. Dionne.
Oh, and one more thing Mr. Dionne:
If Mr. Walker’s budget saving initiatives are ‘anti labor’ (your words)… then I will now refer to your advice to the unions as ‘anti freedom of choice’.
Seems fair to me.