The Truth About the Wisconsin Jobs Picture

At National Review, Christian Schneider has an informative piece on why Wisconsin’s job numbers have yet to reach Scott Walker’s promised 250,000 new jobs during his first term, and the truth should challenge the assumptions of Walker’s liberal haters. In particular, he notes that Wisconsin still has the fifth worst business climate in America, thanks to high personal and corporate income taxes. In other words, Walker and the legislature haven’t gone far enough in the direction that liberals blame for our woes…not that they’ll adjust either their positions or their invective accordingly.

However, that’s not to say there isn’t criticism Walker deserves. For one thing, this is why politicians should be very wary of pledging to deliver certain numbers by a particular date. It doesn’t matter if some wonk worked it all out on paper for you; there are always variables you can’t foresee and intentions that won’t pan out. Aren’t conservatives supposed to be the ones with the Hayekian appreciation that economies are too dynamic for total centralized comprehension?

For another, this is also why if Walker thinks he can gain anything by moderating, as he’s been signaling, he’s dangerously mistaken. Not only have his foes not given Walker any credit for not being as hard-right on taxes as he could be, now he also has moderation’s negative policy fallout to deal with.
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Scott Walker Stands Victorious as Wisconsin Embodies the Best of Democracy

They tried fleeing the state to indefinitely halt the legislative process. It failed. They poured all the hate they could into their demonstrations and propaganda. It failed. They tried intimidating legislators. It failed. They tried pressuring businesses into supporting them. It failed. They tried persecuting a judge. It failed. They tried demonizingRepublican financial contributors. It failed. They tried smearing the governor’s professional ethics and personal morality. It failed. They tried lying to the public about budgets and benefits. It failed. They tried flouting the law by judicial fiat. It failed. They had teachers commit fraud and indoctrinate their students. It failed. They tried hiding data that undermined their case. It failed. They even managed to get Voter ID out of the way to simplify election fraud. That failed. In total, they cost taxpayers over $9 million.

The motley alliance of union thugs, partisan sycophants, education establishment snobs, left-wing fanatics, and brainwashed college kids that came together to preserve government-employee unions’ stranglehold over Wisconsin took the best shot they had against Governor Scott Walker.

Well, their best just. Wasn’t. Good. Enough.

After more than a year of liberals justifying demagoguery and mob agitation with insipid chants of “this is what democracy looks like,” the state of Wisconsin reaffirmed its trust in Walker in a glorious display of actual democracy—not the shout-down-the-Special-Olympics kind, but the cast-votes-and-count-‘em-up kind.

Though the sore losers will never, ever admit it, June 5, 2012 may go down in history as the day Wisconsin proved America’s slide into fiscal ruin isn’t inevitable, that special interest groups aren’t invincible, and that greed and misinformation don’t have absolute dominion over the public consciousness.

Above all, Wisconsin proved that courage is still viable in American politics—that principled action to serve the long-term interests of the whole over the selfish desires of the loudest or the most well-connected doesn’t have to be a political death sentence.

Granted, the Wisconsin Left has by no means been destroyed (nor has the moderate wing of the GOP). The Democrats and their supporters won’t grow morally from the experience, and the unions are still a force to be reckoned with. But their veneer of invincibility is gone, and it’s never coming back. The conventional wisdom of American politics is being rewritten as we speak.

As conservatives go forward with their economic and social agendas, we also need to take measures to make sure the Left can’t put Wisconsin through this insanity again. In particular, we need to fight to reinstate Voter ID, reform the recall process so it can’t be exploited to punish policy decisions, and do somethingabout classroom indoctrination.

Be proud, Wisconsin. You showed America what democracy looks like at its best.

Wisconsin Schools Are Doing Great. GOP Messaging? Not So Much

Today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released the following graph, based on data that the kind souls at the Wisconsin Education Association Council tried to hide from the public, on the condition of our state’s public schools:
Reforms Working.png
In all four categories – teacher layoffs, class size, retention of extracurricular activities, and retention of fine arts and vocational programs – the teachers union’s own data shows that a higher percentage of school districts are doing well (in two cases, a drastically higher percentage) under Walker’s much-demonized collective bargaining reforms than not only the average for the previous decade, but for that category’s best year in the previous decade.
Add that to what we’ve known for over a year about the benefits teachers will still enjoy under Act 10, not to mention the recent revelation that Wisconsin taxpayers still pay them more than do taxpayers of the surrounding states, and the whole point of the recall collapses. But a narrow majority of voters still say they’d vote Walker out of office.
How can that be? Simple: because the Republicans are doing a lousy job of informing the people. The Left is relentlessly pushing Big Union’s lies through the schools, through the press, and through thuggery, and what advertising the Walker Campaign and the GOP have done in response barely even begins to compensate for the dishonesty.
Why isn’t the above chart in full-page newspaper ads across the state? Why aren’t the success stories from around the state on television every night? Why aren’t graphic comparisons of public and private-sector benefits on billboards throughout Wisconsin? I fear our party leaders are putting far too much faith in talk radio and social media to do the educational heavy lifting for them, content that they can get away with simply fundraising, rallying the faithful, and preaching to the choir.
That’s a recipe for disaster. The people we need to reach, the people who will make the difference come Election Day, aren’t listening to Charlie Sykes or Mark Belling. They don’t have Twitter feeds for conservative reports to show up in. They aren’t glued to the blogosphere. The only way Republicans can get the truth to them is by taking it to where they’re going to be: the commercial breaks of American Idol, the pages of their local paper, the airwaves of their favorite music stations, the billboards along the highways they take to work.
Comforting though it might be for conservatives to think otherwise, talk radio is not equal time. The blogosphere hasn’t created a fundamentally more informed populace. And Scott Walker’s personal goodness will not be enough to save his job in independent voters’ eyes. If we lose this thing, Wisconsin’s Republican elite will have nobody to blame but themselves.

New at Live Action – Is the WI Pro-Life Community to Blame for Planned Parenthood Arsonist?

My latest Live Action post:

Francis Grady, the 50-year-old Wisconsin man who set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, is pleading guilty to his crime, bringing the mystery that began Sunday night to a relatively quick close:

The criminal complaint indicates police say Grady used a hammer to break a window, and poured gasoline from a plastic bottle to start the fire.
After being arrested, the complaint states Grady admitted to officers, “I lit up the clinic.”
His motive for what he did? He said “because they’re killing babies there.”

Talking Points Memo reports that authorities are now investigating whether Grady had any prior involvement with the Wisconsin pro-life movement:

Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said investigators in the case learned that Grady may have been involved in past protests at the office. The information was so far unconfirmed, Peterson said, but it is being looked at closely by the team of local and federal investigators handling the case.
“There was some indication that surfaced at some point that he has been involved in some of the demonstrations,” Peterson told TPM. But the chief described the information as coming from “someone who didn’t have direct knowledge,” so there was still more work to be done.

If Grady was passionate enough about abortion to attempt arson at an abortion clinic, then I’d be more surprised if he didn’t attend a pro-life demonstration or two. But the significance of that would be what, exactly? Whenever you attend any decent-sized rally or protest, odds are you’ll have in-depth interaction with only a few people.

Read the rest at Live Action.

Mitt or Rick?

We’re now less than a week away from the Wisconsin Republican primary, and I’m still undecided. As it stands, this is more or less my current thought process: 
  • Romney & Santorum will probably be roughly equal on defense, abortion, taxes, marriage, judges, and immigration.
  • Romney will probably be somewhat better on spending/entitlements, though whether he’ll be aggressive enough remains questionable.
  • Santorum is right that he’d campaign much more effectively against ObamaCare (though I trust both to repeal it). ObamaCare and RomneyCare can be sufficiently distinguished to neutralize the issue for Mitt, but Romney himself needs to do it – and so far, he hasn’t.
  • Both candidates are gaffe-prone & have trouble refuting false narratives, though I’m unsure which will be a bigger liability: “Santorum as theocrat” or “Romney as corporate fatcat.” 
  • I fear Romney’s over-sensitivity to polls, but I also worry about Santorum’s “compassionate conservative” leanings.
I’m leaning towards Romney, but the great speech Santorum gave right here in Fond du Lac over the weekend – in which he showed undeniable passion and command of the issues, and made a strong case against Romney’s ability to campaign against ObamaCare – have stuck with me. Maybe in the next few days, one of them will do something magnificent – or idiotic – enough to make the choice clearer.

Hopefully the former. But I’ll take the latter at this point, too.

New on Media Trackers – Wisconsin’s Unique, Union-Backed Recalls

My debut article for Media Trackers:
Wisconsin may not be the only state moving to control costs by reducing the political influence of public employee unions, but nowhere else has the fallout of reform been so volatile.
Eight state senators have been targeted for recall elections—six Republicans who voted to restrict collective bargaining, and two of the fourteen Democrats who left the state to delay a vote on the measure (a recall against a third Democrat, Dave Hansen, has already failed). Pro-union activists hope to oust more politicians, including Republican Gov. Scott Walker, as soon as they become legally eligible for recall.
Only in Wisconsin is the possibility of overturning the last election being seriously entertained. Recalling state officials has been tried just thirty times in American history, and our state’s current battle accounts for a striking 30% of that total, despite Wisconsin recall requirements being no easier than those of most states. No other state comes close to so many recalls in the same year. California rates a distant second with three recalls in 1995, in a fight instigated by the GOP to punish two Republicans and a Democrat who undermined the party’s narrow, just-won majority in the Assembly by voting to give Democrats the Speakership. With a few twists and turns along the way, Republicans ultimately won.
What makes Wisconsin different? Why aren’t unions threatening to undo election results in other states?

Good Job News for Wisconsin

Well, what do you know:

Using seasonally adjusted data, the 12,900 private-sector jobs created in June marks the largest one-month gain in Wisconsin since September 2003. The state’s net new job gain for June is 9,500 jobs, more than half of the nation’s net gain of 18,000 jobs for the same month.

Somehow, I don’t think we can expect any gratitude – or apologies – to Scott Walker or state Republicans from those who’ve been heralding Wisconsin’s complete capitulation to the rich.