Mark Steyn’s analysis of Democrats and unions in Wisconsin
HH: It’s Thursday, and on Thursday when we are lucky, we are joined by Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. You can read everything Mark writes at www.steynonline.com. Mark, what a week. Today, we get news that Mitt Romney, Team Romney out-raised Team Obama by $17 million dollars in May, including three hundred, just under three hundred thousand donations of under $250 dollars, and a poll that shows Romney is ahead in Michigan, and this comes two days after the blowout win of Scott Walker. They can’t be too happy in the White House.
MS: No, I don’t think they can, and they think a lot about money. They’re all about the money. And they’re getting hurt at both ends, because both the little donors, the small donors, and the big donors, the glamour donors, are drying up pretty quickly, and he is having difficulty selling out these fundraisers. I hope, for the President’s sake, he’s got a lot of illegal foreign contributions like he did last time, because otherwise, he’s going to be in a heap of trouble. I may have to make an illegal foreign donation to his campaign myself if this trend keeps up.
HH: Well, later in the program, I’m talking to E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post about Citizens United. But I understand that this is what is the reason that Scott Walker won, is that Citizens United completely subverted the election process in Wisconsin, it was all about shadowy forces contributing lots of money, it was the Koch Brothers, obviously, Mark.
MS: Yes, that’s right, the great shadowy forces. It’s not the total unshadowy forces, which is the big union muscle, and the big union money, which dumped a huge sum of money into Wisconsin and came up empty. And this is, I think this is fascinating to me, because they came in, as I’ve said to you on many occasions, Hugh, when Republicans win, they have to win outside the margin of lawyer, because otherwise, you know, like the whole Al Franken business in Minnesota, those guys are going to sue their way into office, they’ll find a box of votes here and a box of votes there, and next thing you know, the result has been overturned. So when Republicans win, as you said in your book, title, If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat. And I think there’s something kind of desperate when Republicans win a decisive victory, that somehow this has been bought for them by the Koch Brothers. It’s very sad, this spin. They need some new spin.
HH: It is desperate, and I was on Fox on Tuesday night on Hannity’s Great American Panel, and gave my analysis, which was part of the blowback on the Colbert program last night, which is pretty funny. But here is a little tape I want to play for you from last night’s Colbert Report.
SC: Of course, the biggest event in the universe happened last night in Wisconsin, possibly the most significant moment for that state since the discovery of elastic jeans. Yes, all eyes, last night, all eyes were on America’s dairy land, the badger state. Warning, do not attempt to milk a badger. Trust me. Now as you know, Wisconsin governor and only boy in homeroom not to receive a valentine, Scott Walker, faced a recall against Milwaukee Mayor, I can’t remember his name. The recall was sparked by last year’s massive protests over Walker eliminating collective bargaining for teachers unions. Well, the results are in, and Walker crushed what’s his face by seven points. Suck it, people who educate our children. But folks, this Wisconsin election wasn’t about something as trivial as just Wisconsin. Jim?
GVS: All eyes are on the great state of Wisconsin. The recall race expected to set a national trend in this presidential election year.
SV: It’s the second most important election going on this year, and it’s going on right now.
ES: The Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election will have a major impact on every race in America for generations to come.
HH: It’s a precursor election, 1979, Maggie Thatcher swept into power in England, took on the unions, and what followed? Ronald Reagan. I think this is only five months, but I think five months from now, we’ll see, as Reagan followed Thatcher, Mitt Romney will follow Scott Walker.
SC: Exactly. Wisconsin is England, Scott Walker is Margaret Thatcher, the public school teachers are the British mining unions, which makes Barack Obama Billy Elliott. Oh, no. No.
HH: Mark Steyn, what do you think? Barack Obama is Billy Elliott?
MS: (laughing) You know, there’s an element of truth in what he’s doing. It’s basically a lame premise stretched way beyond breaking point. But the fact is, it was only a big deal because you lefty losers, Mr. Colbert, decided to make it a big deal. Nobody cared. This guy, there was only a race because the Democratic Party and its union muscle decided they could drag this guy out of office before his term ended. You decided to pick this battle. Whatever one feels about Mrs. Thatcher in 1979, that was a British parliamentary election that had to take place. This battle, you picked, your guys picked, and they lost. And Obama lost. Obama did, as usual, with his usual leaden touch, he decided he wouldn’t invest his personal capital on so-called Mayor what’s his name, who actually is one of the earliest supporters of Obama, and Obama, as usual, repaid the compliment by tossing the guy under the bus with nary a thought. And in fact, he decided the only amount of political capital he could afford to invest in Wisconsin was one lame tweet. He didn’t even bother phoning it in. He tweeted it in. And so this battle, the defeat of the unions, the abandonment by Obama, this is essentially a Democrat story. You chose this fight, you picked it, you lost it, you own it, losers.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, in the late 70s and early 80s, Great Britain was awash in labor conflict, because they had simply gone too far.
HH: And I’m not going to base all my history on the Iron Lady movie, because it wasn’t in there. But the fact of the matter is, it was brutal, it went on for a long period of time, it wasn’t over in a day, but it had to be done if Great Britain was going to have the economic turnaround that it experience.
MS: Yeah, I don’t believe in public sector unions. I mean, I think you can make an argument, I generally, I’m not in favor of unions generally, but I think the argument for private sector unions is that if you get undercut, if your mill has to lay you off because the even more nasty mill worker across the street decides to undercut you by hiring cheap foreign labor, I can see you might take a view that a union, you need a union to protect your interests. But when you’re hired by the government, when you’re working for the government, there isn’t another government to cross the street to undercut your wages. You’re in a privileged monopoly position as it is. And I think in effect, public sector unions are a, exercise a form of blackmail upon the public purse. And Britain learned that in the so-called winter of discontent before Mrs. Thatcher came to power, the winter of 1978-79. Workers across the country went on strike, corpses went unburied, garbage was rotting in the street. There is a point at which…and it was felt that in effect the elected leaders had ceded control of the country. There was a phrase they used to use, beer and sandwiches at Number 10, which was the procession of union leaders trooping into 10 Downing Street to lay down the law to the prime minister about what was going to happen. Now Wisconsin chose to pick a battle over that, and they lost. And I think it’s great they lost. I would have loved it if they’d lost by a lot more than 53-47. It should have been 70-30. But the fact is that certain states in this country are basically, the public sector unions have a hammerlock on the public purse, and therefore, the continued viability of those entities. And that has got to be rolled back. And what Scott Walker did was he showed other governors around the country that if you take a fight on this, stand on this issue, if you don’t roll over like the terminated Terminator did in California, you can stand up to these guys, and you can win.
HH: Yeah, he’s not the Iron Lady, he’s the Iron Harley driver. Now Mark, I love Colbert. I don’t mind being his target. I think he’s very funny at what he does. But I think we ought to use this. I believe that Romney ought to promise to send him to the U.N. as our ambassador. I think his talents are uniquely suited. I’ve started a petition, I’ve started a website, a Facebook page to send Colbert to the U.N. Do you think the U.N. deserves him?
MS: No, I think that’s true. And actually, you know, in fairness, Hugh, I don’t mind, you occasionally invest in certain things with more significance than they are. I remember someone last election, you remember that big speech on religion that Romney gave?
MS: And you hailed it, I think, as the greatest speech since Lincoln at Gettysburg or whatever…
HH: Oh, that’s what Iowahawk said I did. I thought it was at least as good as FDR’s fireside chats, yeah.
MS: That’s right. And I loved that Iowahawk parody…
HH: It was wonderful.
MS: …where he had you interviewing Fred Barnes, I think it was, you said this was the most consequential speech since Henry V at Agincourt. And Fred Barnes said well, I don’t think it can hurt Romney. It may be worth a couple of points in Ohio. And so I don’t dispute the general, you know, that you are occasionally prone to invest things with more significance than they are.
HH: Primary colors, Mark, paint.
MS: But this was, they chose to invest with significance. The significance is all theirs at this stage.
End of interview.