The Monday column from Clark Judge:
Did I Hear It Right? The Battle of Wisconsin is Over? The Governor Has Won?
By Clark S. Judge, managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc. <http://www.whwg.com> ; chairman, Pacific Research Institute <http://www.pacificresearch.org>
At a private Washington dinner last night, one of the nation’s most prominent political scientists and pollsters said that the battle of Wisconsin is over. Governor Scott Walker has won.
The remark came amidst a flurry of wide ranging discussion and passed almost unnoticed, until one guest interrupted, “What did you say a moment ago? Walker has won?”
“Sure,” the professor and pollster replied. “We are seeing polls out of Wisconsin that show the public has clearly turned in favor of the governor.” He cited one by the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. But he could as easily have pointed to other samplings of both national and local opinion. [# More #]
For example, the Rasmussen poll (http://tiny.cc/eydja) has found 48 percent of voters around the nation supporting Governor Walker, only 38 percent supporting the public employee unions. Meanwhile, former pollster to both Democratic president Bill Clinton and numerous Republicans, Dick Morris, has reported similar results among Wisconsin voters (http://tiny.cc/v03w6).
On Thursday, Morris posted on his blog results from a survey taken in the prior two nights: “By 74-18, [Wisconsin voters] back making state employees pay more for their health insurance. By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions. By 54-34, [they] support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member. By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.”
He continued: “[If the collective bargaining issue is] related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, [Wisconsin voters] support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.”
Morris concludes: “[If Governor Walker] emphasizes the positive intent that lies behind the proposal (i.e. giving schools the flexibility and freedom to implement education reforms), he will find a solid public majority behind him.”
The stakes in this standoff could not be higher, and both sides know it. In a front page article (http://tiny.cc/g81wg), Sunday’s New York Times quoted a Wisconsin county executive and independent state assemblyman: “With collective bargaining in the public sector, it’s, ‘You can’t make me,’ ” he said. “It’s hard to change anything unless the union lets you.”
In the same article, the Times reported that, “a longtime welfare worker and union activist in New Castle, Ind., said a big problem with ending collective bargaining was that workers who had ideas to improve government agencies or services became scared to stick their neck out and make suggestions to their bosses.”
In other words, both men acknowledge that public employee unions currently control almost all of what government can do in their respective areas. The unions can press “suggestions” on public officials. They can effectively veto reforms. More than do the people as a whole or their elected representatives, they control public institutions. Is it any wonder that the radical-leftist, Soros-backed moveon.org jumped into this battle over the weekend, organizing a high profile, pro-public-employee-union rally in Washington, D.C.?
We have been warned of such subverting of popular government before, at the very beginning of our nation. In Federalist Paper #10 (the most famous of all the seminal essays written during the ratification of our Constitution, at http://tiny.cc/h41lc), James Madison warned of the “violence of factions,” which inject “instability, injustice, and confusion… into the public councils….” That sounds very much like what the unions have been doing in Wisconsin, doesn’t it?
A faction, he said, was “a number of citizens… united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” Again, Madison could be describing the public employee unions in Wisconsin, couldn’t he?
Madison warned that, “Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain [public office] and then betray the interests, of the people.” Doesn’t that speak to the situation in the Badger State and the AWOL state senators?
So the polls are showing that tolerating factions opposed to the public interest is not in the American people’s DNA. The public employee unions have overplayed their hand and riveted state and national attention on something they would have better left in the shadows.
If, as Dick Morris suggests, Governor Walker connects his collective bargaining proposals to plans for improving public services (including the quality of schools), that political science professor and pollster of last night’s dinner will surely prove right.
Walker will win. Hands down.