Wisconsin has seen great political turmoil over the last two years. It is considered ground zero for the struggle between the ideals of the left and right in American politics. This showdown matters on many levels. And not just for the citizens of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin voters in 2010 elected a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in their state legislature. Governor Scott Walker campaigned actively about reducing the state deficit, opening up free market policies for business and addressing the impact of unions. In 2011, Governor Walker and the Wisconsin legislature took direct action to address his campaign commitments of fiscal restraint and union negotiating policies. This action spawned a fury from the left including massive protests in the Capitol by thousands of union and left wing activists.
The fallout from the fury led to a public campaign to hold a recall election for Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican legislators. Wisconsin voters became engaged and in many regards disgusted with the demand for a recall election. Both sides of the political spectrum activated their action groups including unions, tea party patriots and other conservative and leftist groups. A victory by Governor Walker will validate his actions and undermine the ideals of the left.
A curious side step by President Barack Obama. Obama did not actively campaign in Wisconsin for the Democrat candidate for Governor, Tom Barrett. Apparently, Obama's political advisers looked at the low polling numbers for Barrett and chose to keep his distance from a perceived loser. Obama actually flew over Wisconsin Sunday preceding the recall election for a Minnesota fund raiser. A Fox News analyst mentioned that Obama may not want to be associated with the negativity of the recall. In true form, Obama is keeping his distance to keep it clean for his re-election run in the fall.
Now, why does this recall matter to America? This is a battle of ideas. Governor Walker's actions completely support capitalist, free market principles. This recall election will serve as a precedent for other conservative Governors to tackle union policy and collective bargaining. His victory will be a signal to the left and the White House that their big government policies are on notice and at risk for the 2012 general election. Wisconsin has been a hot bed for liberal policies ever since Republican Tommy Thompson stepped down as Governor in 2001.
Another key factor is the test. Yes, the Wisconsin recall is a test to see if the right can effectively activate their base of voters in a left leaning state. A state that has carried Democrat Presidents for many years. What you have seen is a collective effort by key conservative based groups to get out the vote. In my view, it will showcase what can be done when the right gets it right. A combined effort by the Republican National Committee, Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity and other conservative groups are on the ground and engaged with voters. This collective effort can serve as a template for the right to roll out a full fledged national effort to take back the White House and the U.S. Senate.
Congratulations to Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch! A well deserved win for the citizens of Wisconsin. Let's take this message and energy national to win in mass in November!