Walker won, you see, because he represented the taxpayers, not the special interests, like the public-sector employee unions. And he won because he was trying to save money for the taxpayers, not milk them, like the public-sector employee unions.
The recall vote was spurred by Walker’s successful push to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions and require them to contribute slightly more for their health coverage and pensions. He also eliminated unions’ ability to collect dues via payroll deductions (and union memberships have been dropping as a result).
Union members and their supporters went ballistic, occupying the Statehouse and acting like hooligans while Democratic legislators ducked their responsibility and fled the state in hopes of stalling the reforms by preventing a quorum of the Legislature from meeting.
But Walker hung tough and withstood everything the left threw his way.
His reforms paid off, too. They had saved Wisconsin taxpayers an estimated $1 billion already by this month. In fact, they were so successful that they were neutralized as an overt campaign issue to a large extent. Even more remarkably, polls show Walker’s pro-taxpayer reforms were supported by a majority of union members — not public-sector union members, mind you, but those who belong to private-sector unions. Those who like other taxpayers have had to help foot the bills for the public workers’ salaries and cushy benefits.
Walker’s reform proved so popular with so many that his opponents could not even persuade President Obama to throw the weight of his office into the recall fight. Instead, his support was limited to a brief tweet. What courage!
The public-sector unions obviously had a great deal at stake on Tuesday and suffered a crushing defeat. It is hoped that the outcome will embolden other governors to follow in Walker’s footsteps and not shy away from battles on taxpayers’ behalf.