Reflecting on the recall vote, Mr. Walker points to the strong turnout and four GOP victories as an indicator of where the electorate stands on his reforms. Viewing Wisconsin through the prism of the rotunda rabble-rousers, he cautions, would be a mistake. “You can get a pretty skewed perspective,” he says, here in the capital. Beyond Dane County, where gray-beard professors and union heavies roost, Republicans, he tells me, are winning the battle for Wisconsin.
That’s a sentiment heard more and more around the state. “So it turns out that the sky isn’t going to fall on all local governments,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently editorialized, praising the governor for offering tools to municipalities for dealing with the administration’s fiscal cutbacks. Mr. Walker has also helped bring thousands of new nonunion jobs to the state, which, he informs me, has surged to 24th from 41st in Chief Executive magazine’s most recent ranking of best states for business.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin public-employee unions are fretting, especially the teachers unions, as incoming dues diminish. This week, the Wisconsin Education Association Council announced it will lay off about 40% of its staff. Coupled with the millions of dollars lost in the recall effort, it’s a damaging blow. In coming months, once Wisconsinites see that their school districts are increasingly solvent and their property taxes low, Mr. Walker expects many more on-the-fence voters to rally to his side. “People will pop themselves on the head and say, ‘I get it,’” he predicts.