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Tags: Scott Walker

DNC Turning Down Wisconsin Democrats’ Requests?



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Interesting: The DNC is refusing to kick in $500,000 to help Wisconsin Democrats unseat Scott Walker.

The DNC has $24.4 million cash-on-hand as of late April.

The unnamed Wisconsin Democrat quoted in the above report says, “we’re even in the polls, this is a winnable race.” The polling doesn’t quite bear that out; one poll had Barrett ahead in February.

UPDATE: Wow. No wonder folks who loathe Scott Walker need money:

After refining the dataset created by Verify the Recall, a Wisconsin man began running it against other public records and discovered 571 tax delinquents signed Recall petitions.His findings? The total in back taxes owed by petitioners is more than $17 million. The list of individuals can be found through the website, www.putwisconsinfirst.com

Tags: DNC , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Walker: I Spent More on Healthcare Than Any Predecessor



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With Wisconsin’s recall election season underway today, Governor Scott Walker is up on the air with a new ad:

 

The script:

Narrator: Scott Walker has provided more funding for healthcare than any previous Wisconsin governor. 

Governor Walker: Well, the truth is we added more than $1.2 billion to programs like this. 

Woman 1: Really?

Woman 2: A billion? 

Governor Walker: Yeah, in fact we added more funding for Medicaid programs like BadgerCare than any previous governor. And by becoming more efficient, we’ve been able to help more seniors, working families and our most vulnerable.

 Narrator: Scott Walker.  Investing in healthcare.  Leading Wisconsin forward.

I suppose this disrupts the “heartless miser” attack from Wisconsin Democrats, although it is a little odd to see a Republican incumbent running ads about spending more.

Tags: Scott Walker

How Wisconsin Could Be the First Domino of 2012



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It is easy to overstate the ramifications from one race in June on the national elections to come in November. But if the Democrats’ effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fails, it is not unthinkable that this could be the first domino to fall in a sequence that dooms President Obama’s reelection hopes.

First, almost all of the polling between Walker and his newly-nominated Democratic rival, Tom Barrett, shows a close race, often with a small Walker lead. Barrett may very well get a boost from winning the primary; no Republican should underestimate the scale of the challenge before Walker and his supporters right now.

But what’s fascinating is that the issue that allegedly prompted the recall, Walker’s changes to state collective bargaining rights, have evaporated as a political issue. Only twelve percent of Democratic primary voters picked “restoring collective bargaining rights for public employees,” as the most important consideration in their choice of a nominee; twice that percentage said “beating Scott Walker.”

There’s a lot of evidence that the primary driving issue in the recall is Wisconsin Democrats’ uncontrollable loathing of Walker. Barrett did not mention “collective bargaining” in his Election Night message. Instead, he said “what I’ve heard from Wisconsinites is that they want an end to the political turmoil caused by Scott Walker.” Right on Barrett’s web site right now, the headline is not, “vote Barrett.” It says, “Defeat Scott Walker.”

(Just to clarify, Wisconsin Democrats fled the state, had noisy rallies disrupt the state legislature, saw vandalism in the state capitol building, compared Scott Walker to Adolf Hitler, pushed for recalls of every Republican in the state legislature they could and the state Supreme Court, and now the governor… and they want an end to “political turmoil.”)

Of course, the recall effort is not going the way Democrats had planned. After collecting about 900,000 valid signatures, Democrats held a primary… and their top two candidates collected 619,049 votes between them. Walker, with no real opposition in his primary, won 626,538 votes — suggesting the Wisconsin Republican grassroots enthusiasm runs a lot hotter than anyone expected. Democrats can console themselves knowing that at least once you throw in their lesser-known candidates, they came out with about 670,000 votes.

Still, about 230,000 folks signed the recall petitions and then didn’t vote in the primary, raising the question of how many people signed the petition just to get the clipboard person to go away. Election fatigue is a real factor in this state. Since 2010, Wisconsin voters have been to the polls in April 2011 (a statewide judicial election) July 2011 (state legislative recall primaries) August 2011 (state legislative recall general election) the county primary (February 2012) the state’s presidential primary (April 2012), this month’s recall primary, next month’s recall general election, and then the primary for the Senate and House in August. Oh, and then there’s November’s general election.

Almost all of these efforts have been a giant vacuum on the financial resources on both sides. The good news for Wisconsin Republicans is that they have more to show for their efforts; Wisconsin Democrats, unions, and affiliated groups have spent two years and millions upon millions to win two state Senate seats.

Could all of this add up to trouble for Barack Obama in Wisconsin? Well, every dollar and man-hour spent in these quixotic recall efforts is a dollar and man-hour not spent working on Obama’s reelection effort. At some point, the passions of some of Wisconsin’s grassroots Democrats will burn out and the state’s voters may tune out a lot of political messages between now and November.

If the message of Republican extremism, and the innate goodness and nobility of public sector unions fails, time and again, in a state like Wisconsin… just how much better can an incumbent president running on the same theme do across the country?

Of course, polls show President Obama with a pretty consistent and pretty healthy lead in Wisconsin. But in the past six months, Rasmussen’s polls of likely voters have had Obama’s lead in the mid-single digits. Also note that according to Gallup, self-identified Republicans make 40.9 percent of the electorate (up from 36.2 in 2009). Self-identified Democrats still make up a larger share at 45.3 percent, but that’s down from 48.2 percent in 2009. President Obama’s approval was at 47.4 percent in Wisconsin in 2011, down from 57.7 percent in 2009. Any state that replaces Russ Feingold with Ron Johnson is experiencing a dramatic political metamorphosis.

With a promising Senate pickup opportunity in the state and the former state party chair, Reince Priebus, now running the Republican National Committee, the GOP will be watching Wisconsin with the closest of eyes for any opportunity to nudge it into the GOP column.

Perhaps most importantly, Wisconsin was a state few ever thought President Obama would have to lift a finger to win; he won more than 56 percent of the vote there in 2008. Wisconsin is a “nice to have” state for Romney but a “if we lose it, we’re in big trouble” state for Obama. If Romney’s looking competitive in Wisconsin in October 2012, then Barack Obama is probably in dire straits. Demographically, Wisconsin is 83 percent white, more blue-collar than the national average, slightly less young than the national average, slightly fewer college-educated than the national average, and much more rural than the national average. If Wisconsin looks iffy for Obama in the fall, how much better will he be doing in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa?

Fans of Scott Walker had argued his victory in the recall was as important, or even more important, than the presidential race. With the two races intertwined, is it too much to ask for both?

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Scott Walker , Wisconsin

You Can’t Fight in Here, Gentlemen! This Is a Unity Rally!



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Relax, Wisconsin Democrats. I’m sure it’s completely, totally normal for the party to schedule a “unity rally” to dispel the notion of lingering bad blood after a primary for the gubernatorial recall election, and then suddenly cancels the unity rally “after serious discussion.”

It’s because they want an extra day to work on “voter contact,” really!

It is, in no way, the “[tushie]-covering propaganda” that the Daily Kos folk are saying. Nor should anyone put any stock in the assertions over there:

I don’t know why the rally was canceled, but there has been widespread, unsubstantiated speculation that the front runner in the primary, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, decided at the last minute not to attend. The rumor being spread is that Tom Barrett does not want to be seen in the company of union leaders and union members for fear of having images of his participation in the rally being used against him by the Walker campaign.

Others are speculating that the whole thing is a last-minute dirty trick perpetrated by supporters of Kathleen Falk. Barrett has a wide lead over Falk in the most recent polls. Is it really Barrett who backed out, or did somebody design a set of conditions for the rally that they knew would force Barrett to back out so they could smear him?

Obviously, Wisconsin Democrats are so completely, totally unified, that a unity rally would just be superfluous. Really.

Tags: Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Scott Walker, Looking Okay for Now



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Public Policy Polling has completed its latest survey in Wisconsin, looking at the recall election effort against GOP governor Scott Walker, and the results are generally positive for Walker — though his leads are certainly not large enough for supporters to breathe easily yet.

Overall, Walker enjoys 51 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval. The Democrats will hold a primary to detemine their gubernatorial candidate for the recall election; Walker leads Tom Barrett 50 percent to 45 percent; he leads Kathleen Falk 50 percent to 43 percent; he leads Doug La Follette 51 percent to 40 percent; and he leads Kathleen Vinehout 50 percent to 38 percent.

The sample splits 31 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, and 37 percent independent or other, and the sample split by gender 54 percent women, 46 percent men.

Obviously, turnout for a special recall election could be quite different from that in a “regular” election. But for what it’s worth the 2010 Election Day exit poll in Wisconsin had a sample split 50–50 by gender and split by party as 37 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent or other.

The poll surveyed 1,136 likely voters and was conducted April 13–15.

Tags: Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Walker: My Policies Helped Prevent Public-Employee Layoffs!



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Scott Walker is up on the air, pointing out that he has, in less than two years in office, kept many of his promises and the outlook for Wisconsin is significantly brighter.

Walker: Hi, I’m Scott Walker. In the three years before I was elected, Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs. We promised to help employers create jobs. Today, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate, it’s the lowest it’s been since 2008. We kept our promise to balance the budget without raising taxes, and without massive layoffs, protecting jobs, and eliminating a $3.6 billion deficit.

We promised to hold the line on property taxes, and after years of tax increases, school property taxes actually went down. Because public employees now contribute to their health and pension benefits, we were able to put more money back into the classroom, increase funding for healthcare for our seniors, and keep thousands of firefighters, police officers, and teachers on the job. We can’t go back to the days of billion dollar budget deficits and double digit tax increases. Help me oppose the recall, and let’s use the foundation we’ve built to keep moving Wisconsin forward.

If there is a recall election, it may be held a little later than everyone expected:

Wisconsin’s municipal clerks are supporting a delay in any likely recall elections against the governor, lieutenant governor, and four Republican state senators. Election officials have until March 19th to certify recall petitions and order elections. On that time table, primaries would be held on April 24th.

Diane Hermann-Brown of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association says that creates a problem because of how clerks need to store the data from the April 3rd election. Voting machines used in the majority of the state require a specific type of memory card, which needs to be held for a month before it can be erased. The machines are nearly 20-years-old and extra memory devices are not available.

Hermann-Brown says having a second election in April would likely require ballots to be counted by hand. It could also put a major strain on their already tight resources because of the time needed to set up any election.

The GAB plans to ask a judge for a delay in ordering any recall elections, possibly putting a primary in May and the general election in June. The board will meet March 12 to determine how much of an extension it plans to seek.

Tags: Scott Walker

In Case You Needed a ‘Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!’ Today



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The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt examines Rick Santorum’s thoughts on the devil, Sheldon Adelson’s spending spree to create a President Gingrich, and then these two concluding thoughts . . .

Put Not Your Faith in Always-Entertaining Pundits

At Hot Air, Tina Korbe informs us:

On Don Imus’ radio program this morning, CNN contributor James Carville boldly proclaimed that no Republican will beat Obama in 2012.

He didn’t say, though, that Barack Obama cannot lose. Oh, no. Events could conspire against him:

The only way the president will lose according to Carville is if some event takes place and changes things. He maintained it wouldn’t be the result of the GOP nominee outshining Obama.

“Right now, things are starting to perk up a little bit,” he said. “Who knows? This is the — no Republican can beat Obama. Events can beat Obama. He’s not going to get beat by a Republican. Now events could come in and cause him to lose the election. But that’s it right now. That was not the case three months ago.”

“Events” like, oh, I don’t know, an uptick in foreclosures last month or persistently high unemployment (it’s climbing toward 9 percent again!)

Hey, just as a reminder, James Carville’s last book: “40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.”

ADDENDA: Your “Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” thought of the day, courtesy Ace at the Ace of Spades: If the signatures calling for a recall election are verified and the state goes ahead with the recall election, when the day of the Democratic primary arrives, “It is an open primary so anyone with a Wisconsin drivers license or ID can vote in it. If you so agree please go vote and ‘write in’ Scott Walker in the line provided for write in candidates. If he receives enough votes, there won’t be a recall because he can’t run against himself. It would save the state of Wisconsin the exorbitant election fees. In the neighborhood of $2.3 million. If you agree with this, please pass it on. There is a face-book page and a web site set up to drum up support, and it has been going strong so far. Let’s at least try to stop this dead in its tracks.”

I realize Ash Wednesday is not the ideal day for a “Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” thought, but sometimes you have to enjoy these opportunities as they arrive.

Tags: Barack Obama , James Carville , Scott Walker

One of Scott Walker’s Reforms Kicks in Today



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It’s primary day in Wisconsin for local offices (school boards, city councils, judicial posts), and voters will have a surprising new requirement . . . proof that they are who they say they are:

The efficiency of Wisconsin’s new voter ID law will be tested Tuesday during local primary elections. When you go to the polls expect to state your name, state your address, show your photo ID and sign the poll book, and then a voter will be issued a ballot. There are nine forms of photo ID which are acceptable, including a drivers license, passport, or student ID. There is an exemption to the photo ID requirement for people who can’t leave their homes.

Those who forget their ID can fill out a provisional ballot and have until Friday to show ID to a municipal clerk.

This is another one of those allegedly controversial moves by Governor Scott Walker, and another opportunity for a reform to be enacted, with many cries of an impending falling sky from the Left proving to be over-dramatic, Chicken Little caterwauling.

What are the odds that by the end of the day, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites realize that showing ID at the polls is no significant burden, and a common-sense move to derail any efforts at fraud?

Tags: Scott Walker , Voter ID

Hey, Who’s Up for a Recall Attempt Against Scott Walker?



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In today’s Morning Jolt, a look at Tom Friedman’s latest fantasy, Obama’s vacation plans, and of course…

The Fallout from Wisconsin Finally Settles in Washington

Democrats wait for the day of the big union comeback in Wisconsin the way we wait for the day liberals admit Obama’s been in office long enough to hold him accountable for the economy.

I bet Godot arrives before both of those deadlines.

…Phineas at Sistah Toldjah’s site offers Democrats some advice, although not necessarily with the best of intentions:  “Your plot to seize control of the state senate is dead, and there’s a reasonable chance you could lose next week the two seats you gained this week. In other words, Democrats, union bosses, and progressives, for your $30,000,000 and all your bussed in, slogan-chanting help, and even if you save those two seats next week, you’ll have won nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Bupkis. So go ahead, try to recall Walker next year. Take your campaign to save your corrupt, self-serving arrangements to other states. Spend all the money you can. It looks like a great idea. To conservatives.”

It sounds like they’re doing precisely that: “ Democrats are forging ahead with efforts to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next year, one day after losing four of six recall elections to oust GOP state senators. The Tuesday night losses left Democrats a single seat short of overturning GOP control of the state’s upper chamber, though Democratic officials and operatives on the ground insisted Wednesday that their two wins in Republican-leaning areas exposed Walker’s weaknesses.”

Say, how thrilled will the Obama campaign be to have a separate recall effort sucking up money, energy, time and media attention to climax in August of a presidential election year? Could there be a bigger boost to GOP morale in Wisconsin than watching a Walker recall effort fail? On the other hand, Obama can’t give any signal that he doesn’t want a Walker recall effort to occur; his base is mad enough at him already. Wisconsin Democrats already feel ignored and snubbed by the administration; a directive from David Axelrod to put down their swords and abandon their crusade could trigger an all-out revolt in the Badger state.

Tags: Barack Obama , Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Scott Walker Wins Again



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Walker, Walking Tall Yet Again

The endless fight in America’ Dairyland reaches another chapter – dare we hope it’s the final one? “Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers. The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge. The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices – Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks – concurred in part and dissented in part. The opinion voided all orders in the case from the lower court. It came just before 5 p.m., sparing Republicans who control the Legislature from taking up the contentious issue of collective bargaining again.”

John Hinderacker at Powerline concludes, “This much was, I believe, a foregone conclusion. But the Supreme Court went further, holding on the merits that the legislature did not violate Wisconsin’s open meetings law when it enacted the collective bargaining law. This puts the Democrats’ substantive arguments to rest… It was, in short, a good day not just for fiscal sanity in Wisconsin, but for the rule of law.”

Ann Althouse: “So Judge Sumi, asserting that the legislature had violated the law, herself violated the state constitution. Seeking to check the excesses of the legislature, she fell into judicial excess.”

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection cheers, “This is a sweeping victory for Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker.  (And for my prior legal anaylsis, but that’s another matter.  I’ll be spiking the football, for sure.) This also is a vindication for the legal strategy of not backing down to the unjust, unwise, uncalled-for, unlawful rulings of Judge Sumi, who engaged in clearly unsound legal reasoning which — whether intended or not — took on the appearance of political posturing.”

Don Surber notices, “The Associated Press story began: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court handed Republican Gov. Scott Walker a major victory on Tuesday, ruling that a polarizing union law that strips most public employees of their collective bargaining rights could take effect.” Why, yes, AP is unionized. Why do you ask? Its union is the News Media Guild/Communications Workers of America. It is just a coincidence that the CWA is opposed to this polarizing union law.”

Tags: Scott Walker

A Wisconsin Election of Supreme Importance



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Conservatives may want to spend the next few days helping out Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. As Robert Costa reports, liberals are making an all-out push to replace Prosser with JoAnne Kloppenburg, an environmental lawyer and veteran state attorney, for a ten-year term. The expectation is that Kloppenburg would support legal roadblocks to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that has state unions violently furious.

The election is April 5. Volunteers can help reach Wisconsin voters, categorized by area code, by going here.

A campaign ad for Prosser:

Tags: David Prosser , Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Obama to Governors: Don’t Cut That Spending!



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This short segment in a Washington Post story on President Obama’s interviews with local television stations is revealing:

In some cases, Obama had a message he wanted to send directly to the people in particular states. It was during a Feb. 16 interview with the Milwaukee station that the public first learned of Obama’s view that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was launching an “assault” on public-sector unions.

He told the Miami reporter that Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was “wrong” to cancel plans for a federally backed high-speed train in the state.

The Pittsburgh and Philadelphia stations made news when Obama told them that state lawmakers should be leery of adopting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed education cuts.

Notice the theme there? Here are three Republican governors of three states who face serious budget problems, and Obama — despite a lack of familiarity with the states’ financial circumstances, admitting that he hasn’t “followed exactly what’s happening with the Wisconsin budget” — weighs in on all three, all with the same theme: No, those spending cuts aren’t necessary. There is no reason to enact those reforms. Yes, you can afford that new train. No, you shouldn’t make those cuts.

It’s bad enough we’ve racked up $4.1 trillion in new debt since Obama was inaugurated. But he’s even fighting spending cuts at the state level.

Tags: Barack Obama , Rick Scott , Scott Walker , Tom Corbett

What You Need to Know About Wisconsin’s Recalls



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The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board helpfully lists all of the state lawmakers currently facing recall efforts and the due date for signatures; because a lawmaker can only be recalled after one year in office, some of the 14 Democrats and some of the state’s Republicans are, at least for now, untouchable to recall efforts.

The eight of the runaway 14 who could face a recall:

4th District: Lena Taylor: 13,498 signatures due April 25.

6th District: Spencer Coggs:  11,817, due April 26.

12th District: Jim Holperin: 15,960, due April 25.

16th District: Mark Miller: 20,352, due May 4 (Three separate groups are collecting signatures; this is the last of the three deadlines).

22nd District: Robert Wirch: 13,537, due April 25.

24th District: Julie Lassa: 15,879, due April 25.

26th District: Fred Risser: 19,805, due April 25.

30th District: Dave Hansen: 13,852, due April 25.

On the Republican side, eight lawmakers could face recalls:

2nd District: Robert Cowles: 15,960, May 2.

8th District: Alberta Darling: 20,343, May 2.

10th District: Sheila Harsdorf: 15,744, May 2.

14th District: Luther Olsen: 14,733, May 2.

18th District: Randy Hopper: 15,269, May 2.

20th District: Glenn Grothman: 20,061, May 2.

28th District: Mary Lazich: 20,973, May 2.

32th District: Dan Kapanke: 15,588, May 2.

At first glance, the efforts to recall the Democrats would seem to have a better chance of success, as they have four lawmakers with a recall threshold under 14,000 signatures; by contrast, seven of the eight GOP lawmakers require more than 15,000. But it is worth noting that many of these districts are highly polarized; Coggs’ district was Scott Walker’s worst-performing district in the state, where he won all of 12.5 percent. His second worst was Taylor’s (16.3 percent) and his third-worst was Risser’s (20.1 percent); it’s unlikely that many Democrats will be enraged by their lawmakers leaving the state to impede Walker’s agenda.

To reach the required signatures, recall advocates must collect several hundred signatures each day every day until the deadline, a high bar to meet. I am told by Wisconsin political junkies that the state GOP is focusing on the lowest-hanging fruit, in the districts of Holperin, Wirch, and Hansen. The Democrats are pushing for all of the Republican seats eligible for recall, which some on the right characterize as a waste of resources. The Republican on this list in the most Democrat-leaning district is Kapanke; Walker barely carried his district, 49.5 percent to 48.8 percent. By this measure, the second-most endangered Republican is Darling, in a district that Walker carried with 54 percent; of course, she has the second-highest threshold for required signatures to trigger a recall election.

UPDATE: In the comments, I see some folks wondering how the recall process works. From Katarina Trinko’s piece on the homepage: “After filing a recall petition, organizers have 60 days to collect signatures. If they gather enough signatures, state law requires a period of at least 31 days for reviewing and validating those signatures. If the result is that there are enough legitimate signatures, an election is scheduled for six weeks later.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: One of the groups sponsoring the recall efforts against the Wisconsin Democrats is the American Patriot Recall Coalition. They are indeed the group that filed the papers, and are collecting donations, but, er… buyer beware. The group is also on Facebook.

Tags: Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Walker, Walking Tall Today



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Highlights from today’s Wisconsin-centric edition of the Morning Jolt:

WI Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald Unleashes the ‘Cee Lo Green’ Option in Standoff

. . . That title courtesy Morning Jolt reader Matt F.

Here’s the dramatic turn of events:

With Democrats still in Illinois, the state Senate abruptly voted Wednesday night to eliminate collective bargaining provisions for most public workers that have stood for decades, sending a flood of angry protesters into the Capitol . . .

Some of the Democrats who have been boycotting the Senate for three weeks said they would return to Wisconsin once the bill passes the Assembly. But they had not crafted their exact plans for return, and Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) issued a statement saying they would not return on Thursday after earlier indicating they might.

And did they ever return? No, they never returned, and their fate is still unlearned . . .

Doug Powers, writing at Michelle Malkin’s site: “Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success is just showing up. And if you’re in the Wisconsin Senate, the other 20 percent is having a firm grasp on the rules in order to work around those who don’t show up.”

Meanwhile, Scott Walker takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain why he’s fighting in Wisconsin, in an op-ed entitled . . . “Why I’m Fighting In Wisconsin.” . . . Now all he needs are a series of Frank Capra films.

Tags: Scott Walker , Unions , Wisconsin

Dissecting These New Wisconsin Polls...



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It’s entirely possible that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to control his state’s spending, and end collective bargaining on non-wage matters by public sector unions is not winning the battle of public opinion. If this sort of thing were easy and popular, it would have been done a long time ago.

But the circumstances for Walker may not be as dire as two recent polls suggest. Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit and Ed Morrissey dissect the national poll from the New York Times. In particular, Ed notes:

First, the partisan split in the sample gave a ten-point advantage to Democrats.  Their sample for this poll had a D/R/I split of 36/26/31, an absurd sample for political polling.  In December, Rasmussen’s general-population survey put Republicans ahead, 36.0% to 34.7% for Democrats.  A recent poll by Gallup showserosion in Democratic affiliation all through 2010.  In 2008, Barack Obama won the popular vote by seven points nationwide, and the NYT/CBS poll assumes that the electorate has grown more Democratic in 2011.

Next, 20% of the poll’s respondents claim to come from union households.  However, only 11.9% of American workers belong to a union, according to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month and noted by none other than the Times itself.  Union membership fell to a 70-year low as a percentage of the workforce, which in itself is a rather damning statement about the view of collective bargaining by the vast majority of American workers.  How exactly did the survey manage to comprise itself of almost twice as many union-household respondents for a poll on union policies as union members in the workforce?  Interesting.

I would note that the new poll out from Public Policy Polling has a few features that look odd as well. The sample looks okay in partisan breakdown (although perhaps the percentage of independents is a bit high) but has an interesting skew on gender: 54 percent women, 46 percent men.

In 2008, the exit polls in Wisconsin – you know, the actual people who voted, not a pollster’s assessment of who is a likely voter – was 51 percent women, 49 percent men. In the 2010 midterms, it was 50/50.

At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson notices that the PPP sample has the same portion of folks who voted for Democrat Tom Barrett last year (47 percent) but either they have fewer Scott Walker supporters (from 52.3 percent to 47 percent), or a chunk of Scott Walker supporters have developed amnesia. He also notes the PPP sample is 32 percent union households, but the 2010 exit poll data indicated only 26 percent of Wisconsin households include a union member.

This is not an overwhelming skew to the sample, but it is there, and when the headline is that “Walker would lose rematch with Barrett in Wisconsin,” that narrow margin in favor of defeated Democrat Tom Barrett may be largely attributed to a sample that includes more women and is more heavily union members than any future Wisconsin electorate.

Tags: Polling , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

‘In Wisconsin, Leaders Don’t Run Away From Tough Problems.’



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The Republican Governors Association is putting up an ad, touting Scott Walker and hitting the runaway Senate Democrats:

 

 

Tags: Scott Walker

Scott Walker’s Office: ‘I’m Sure the President Just Misunderstands These Issues.’



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Watch Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker work the sarcasm in this release:

Today President Obama again weighed in against Governor Walker’s proposal to balance the state’s budget deficit by having state government workers contribute a modest amount toward their own pensions and pay 12.6 percent toward their healthcare premiums.

In response to the President’s comments, the Governor’s Press Secretary Cullen Werwie issued the following statement:

I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts.

Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.

I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.

Surely he simply misunderstands the issue? I’m afraid the pattern of his other comments suggests he is acting like a union boss.

And stop calling us “Shirley.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Scott Walker

Walker Gives 24-Hour Deadline



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Governor Walker’s office sends along this bit of news:

One component of Governor Walker’s budget repair bill is debt refinancing, which will save taxpayers $165 million in fiscal year 2011.  According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if Senate Democrats refuse to return to Wisconsin and cast their votes in the next day the option to refinance a portion of the state’s debt will be off the table. 

Along with this notice Governor Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, released the following statement:

Senate Democrats claimed they fled the state to slow down the process so the public had enough time to learn about the budget repair bill.  If that was their true intention, they have been successful.

Now they have one day to return to work before the state loses out on the chance to refinance debt, saving taxpayers $165 million this fiscal year.  Failure to return to work and cast their votes will lead to more painful and aggressive spending cuts in the very near future.

This is the Senate Democrats’ 24 hour notice.

I hate to quibble with the man of the hour, but if Senate Democrats cared about saving taxpayer money, would they have fled across the state line in the face of the budget repair bill? Haven’t all of their actions and statements demonstrated that saving taxpayers money is nowhere near their top, or even middle priorities?

Tags: Scott Walker , Wisconsin

Trumpka Ducks Question on Comparing Scott Walker to Hitler



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How hard is it for Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, to say, “No, as much as I disagree with him, oppose his agenda, and wish he were not in office, Scott Walker is not Hitler”?

It’s too much to ask, apparently. From Meet the Press:

MR. GREGORY: I want to, I want to get to a break. Richard Trumka , I want to ask you one thing, again, about the tone of the debate . You’re one of the leading labor voices in the country . Do you condemn the hyperbole, the overstatements, comparisons to Hitler and dictators? Do you think that’s wrong on the part of pro- unionsupporters?

MR. TRUMKA: We want to — I — look, we ought to — pro, anti- union , it doesn’t matter.

MR. GREGORY: It’s inappropriate.

MR. TRUMKA: We should be sitting down trying to create jobs. When — and look, if you think that the argument that you’re doing in Wisconsin is winning, as you said, Kim , the polls show that every – Wisconsin , vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. His popularity has gone down. They’re saying to him, “Sit down and negotiate. Don’t do what you’ve been doing.” So he’s losing. If that’s the argument you’re going to do this year or next year, it’s a loser for, for anybody who advocates it.

Boy, that post-Tucson new tone of civility is fantastic, isn’t it?

Tags: AFL-CIO , Scott Walker

Scott Walker: Thank You, Assembly Democrats, for Showing Up to Work



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The Wisconsin state assembly has passed the much-debated legislation — literally, more time was spent debating this bill in the chamber than any other in recent memory — and now the attention is on the state senate, which is still short 14 members.

Madison — Governor Walker issued the following statement on the Assembly passing the budget repair that will balance Wisconsin’s budget and prevent thousands of workers from being laid off.

“Day after day Assembly Republicans and Assembly Democrats showed up and did the jobs they were elected to do.  After an unprecedented amount of debate, they continued to do their jobs by casting their votes.  Republicans should be commended for their willingness to cast a vote that will fix this budget and future budgets.  Democrats should also be commended for coming to work every day and giving their constituents a voice at the State Capitol.  Now all the attention is on the Senate.  The fourteen Senate Democrats need to come home and do their jobs, just like the Assembly Democrats did.”

Tags: Scott Walker , Wisconsin

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