Seizing on any opportunity they can find, liberals in Wisconsin have embraced the fictitious “war on women” and twisted it into “Scott Walker’s War on Women” in an attempt to convince voters to oust the governor well before the end of his term. The imaginary war apparently resonates well with focus groups and in polling ahead of the June 5 recall election. Unfortunately, it is a distraction from the real fight: the Left’s War on Wisconsin.
For close to sixteen months now, out-of-power liberals have waged an all out political assault on Wisconsin. It started with the massive protests in Madison, orchestrated by liberal groups that specialize in creating astroturf masquerading as a genuine grassroots uprising. If it weren’t for the professional protesters and labor bosses, there would have been no massive march on the state capitol, no widespread death threats against Republican lawmakers and staff, and no defacing of public property in the name of free speech.
The protests and successive round of recall elections launched in their wake are not so much about the specifics of Governor Walker’s policies as they are ongoing attempts by the Left to reassert political power in a state that rejected liberal candidates in 2010.
When labor bosses rallied their political teams to protest common sense collective bargaining reforms, they were fighting to defend plush pension and healthcare packages that were costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars they could no longer afford. Championing that kind of government spending was a war on Wisconsin.
When labor bosses opposed giving local governments the flexibility to achieve cost savings while lowering property taxes, they were essentially holding taxpayers hostage and threatening the stability of local governments across Wisconsin. Labor bosses were waging a war on Wisconsin.
When progressive leaders joined forces with unions to kick off a round of recall elections because they disagreed with votes cast by some conservative lawmakers, they were slapping voters in the face and telling them they elected the wrong people. The progressive leaders were waging war on Wisconsin.
Beyond the politics, the policies that wage war on Wisconsin go back years. Big spending governors in both the Republican and Democratic parties managed to grow state government to an impossibly bloated size prior to Walker’s election. To maintain the pretense of following a constitutional mandate for a balanced budget, outgoing Democrat governor Jim Doyle resorted to accounting gimmicks that would have impressed even an Enron executive. The real budget deficit stood at $3.6 billion in a state where job losses had totaled 150,000 under the leadership of a liberal governor.
Thanks to the policies of the Left, at the end of 2010 more Wisconsinites held government jobs than manufacturing jobs. Major employers were threatening to leave the state after liberals in the legislature pushed through a series of tax increases that put Wisconsin employers at a competitive disadvantage. The future was grim and the central economic development plan of the Left was to build a high-speed passenger rail line between Milwaukee and Madison at a taxpayer cost of nearly $1 billion.
Reckless spending, wasteful projects, massive job losses, and employers looking to flee the state are among the consequences of the Left’s war on Wisconsin prior to 2011.
The political actions of the Left ranging from outrageous rhetoric and death threats on conservative lawmakers, to recall election after recall election signal a desperate gamble and perhaps a sort of final electoral battle to decide who will win the war on Wisconsin. Whatever their choice, citizens of the state should know that there is a difference between a “war” fabricated to win an election and a real political war where the outcome will define Wisconsin for a generation to come.