August 10, 2011
Yesterday, Wisconsin’s silent majority voted to keep conservatives in control of state government. The outcome of Tuesday’s historic recall elections is a huge setback for Democrats and the unions who control
The election is also a signal to conservatives nationwide that the time for fundamental, structural reform is now. They can pursue such reforms and live to tell about it. The ugly face of union anger will still be on display, but its threats were drained of their menace yesterday by the resolve of voters in a handful of Wisconsin Senate districts.
It’s important also for reform-minded voters and politicians alike to realize that Republican defeat yesterday would have been survivable.
The collective bargaining and government employee benefit reforms, along with the first genuinely balanced state budget in a dozen years, would not have been reversible by the loss of the State Senate majority to Democrats.
Such a loss, however, would have given Democrats the ability to halt any further reform initiatives at least until January 2013—assuming the 2012 elections produce a GOP majority. And it would have given Democrats a bigger megaphone to demagogue every issue and the ability to move cynically contrived legislation through one house.
In those respects, Tuesday’s results spare us an incalculable volume of political trash talk.
Next week, voters in two Senate districts have the opportunity to punish Democrats for fleeing the state last winter and it would be sweet indeed to see their minority shrink further as a reward for their brazen attempt to purge Republican members who actually did their jobs.
From there, it’s on to 2012, with a new and welcome assurance that trying to make government honest may not be a suicide mission after all.