Opinion: Columnists

Morning Examiner: What’s at stake in Wisconsin

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Columnists

According to The New York Times Nate Silver, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a 95 percent chance of winning his recall election today. Faced with this news, liberals like Slate‘s Will Oremus are frantically trying to explain why the results will be completely meaningless. Moderates, however, are noticing how momentous a Walker victory would be.

At The American Interest, Foreign Affairs writer and President Obama supporter Walter Russell Mead writes:

Unless the voters in Wisconsin decide to surprise us all tomorrow, the trouble in the Badger State means trouble ahead for public sector unions across the country. A Scott Walker victory would reshape not just Republican politics but Democratic politics as well; leaders like Andrew Cuomo in New York and Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago will be paying attention. If Walker wins handily, more Democrats will see the writing on the wall: Support for public sector unions simply isn’t the political winner it once was. This could presage a larger post-blue shift in the Democratic party for decades to come.

But New York Times columnist and Obama supporter David Brooks sees implications beyond public sector unions:

A vote to keep Walker won’t be an antiunion vote. It will be a vote against any special interest that seeks to preserve exorbitant middle-class benefits at the expense of the public good. It will tell the presidential candidates that it is safe to get specific about what they will do this December, when hard deficit choices will have to be made.

if Walker wins today, it will be a sign, as the pollster Scott Rasmussen has been arguing, that the voters are ahead of the politicians. It will be a sign that voters do value deficit reduction and will vote for people who accomplish it, even in a state that has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1984.

A Walker win would be even bigger than both Brooks and Mead claim. It would show the nation that Tea Party conservatives can govern.

Both Obama and Walker passed very controversial reforms their first year in office. The difference between the two is that Walker’s reforms worked. Walker turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $150 million surplus. Unemployment is down and job creation is up. None of the horrors that liberals described have come to pass. A Walker victory would be a sign to conservatives everywhere that you can cut spending, without raising taxes, and balance budgets.

Not that Walker did not bow to pragmatism sometimes. Unlike Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Walker exempted police and firefighter unions from his reforms. That was not a principled choice. It was a crass political calculation. But if he survives today, it will have been a political calculation that worked, thus allowing the lion’s share of his reforms to survive. Tea Partiers everywhere should be taking notes.

Campaign 2012
Veepstakes: Obama adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that handing the vice presidential nomination to Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.,would be an “insult to Hispanics.”

Obama: At a fundraiser in New York City last night, former President Clinton accused Romney of supporting “Eurozone economic policy”

Around the Bigs
Reuters, US Factory Orders Post Surprise Fall in April: New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in April for the third time in four months as demand slipped for everything from cars and machinery to computers, the latest worrisome sign for the economic recovery.

The New York Times, Europe’s Fade Becomes Drag on Sales for U.S. Companies: As the European crisis intensifies, a growing number of companies in the United States are warning investors that sales in the region are slowing and could get much worse.

The Washington Post, GSA bonuses, travel expenses raise congressional ire: Since 2008, the GSA has given more than $1 million in bonuses to 84 employees under investigation by its inspector general, according to details released Monday by the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

The Wall Street Journal, Big Changes in College Health Plans: Schools are raising premiums sharply or dropping offerings altogether as low-benefit options are disallowed by Obamacare.

The Los Angeles Times, Brown seeks to reduce environmental protections for bullet train: With legal challenges to the California bullet train mounting, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday began circulating proposed legislation designed to significantly diminish the possibility that opponents could stop the project with an environmental lawsuit.

The Los Angeles Times, Californians turn against high-speed rail project: A controversial $68-billion high-speed rail project in California has lost support from a majority of Californians, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found. Across the state, 55% of the voters want the bond issue that was approved in 2008 placed back on the ballot, and 59% say they now would vote against it.

Righty Playbook
The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost says Republicans must fight the ‘radicalism’ charge.

At The Corner, Douglas Holtz-Eakin tells The New York Times’ Paul Krugman, “This is a bad economy. But it’s not a Republican one.”

AEI‘s James Pethokoukis explains why now is not the time for another trillion dollar stimulus.

Lefty Playbook
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein makes The Keynesian case for Romney.

The New York Times Joe Nocera urges liberals not to turn their back on unions.

At The Huffington Post, United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard accuses Romney of enjoying the pain of the unemployed.

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