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Wis. governor survives recall vote, defeating Dem, union antagonists



Published: Tue, June 5, 2012 @ 10:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers.

The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt by defeating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda.

Democrats and organized labor spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker. Republicans hope the victory carries over into November and that their get-out-the-vote effort can help Mitt Romney become the first GOP nominee to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The recall was a rematch of the 2010 governor’s race. Throughout the campaign, Walker maintained his policies set the state on the right economic track. Defeat, he said, would keep other politicians from undertaking such bold moves in the future.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Walker said many times. “We’re turning things around. We’re moving Wisconsin forward.”

Barrett repeatedly accused Walker of neglecting the needs of the state in the interests of furthering his own political career by making Wisconsin “the tea party capital of the country.” He said Walker had instigated a political civil war in Wisconsin that could be quelled only by a change in leadership.

“I will end this civil war,” Barrett promised in a debate. “That is something the people of this state want.”

Walker ascended into the national spotlight last year when he surprised the state and unveiled plans to plug a $3.6 billion budget shortfall in part by taking away the union rights of most public workers and requiring them to pay more for their health insurance and pension benefits. It was one of his first moves in office.

Democrats and labor leaders saw it as a political tactic designed to gut the power of his political opposition. State Senate Democrats left Wisconsin for three weeks in a sort of filibuster, as tens of thousands of teachers, state workers and others rallied at the Capitol in protest.

But the tea-party supported fiscal conservative remained steadfast: Walker believed his plan would help him control the state budget, and his opponents could not stop Republicans who control the state Legislature from approving his plans.

Walker went on to sign into law several other measures that fueled calls for a recall, including repealing a law giving discrimination victims more ways to sue for damages, making deep cuts to public schools and higher education, and requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Both sides mobilized thousands of people and millions of dollars to influence voters, whom polls showed were more divided than ever. Signs calling for Walker’s removal and those supporting the 44-year-old son of a minister dotted the state’s landscape all spring at a time normally devoid of political contests.

Turnout was strong across the state with few problems reported as some voters waited in line to cast their ballots.

“Typically we wait until 5 in the afternoon, but we were chomping at the bit to just get it over and done with because I think it has been an unjust campaign waged against the governor,” said Jeff Naunheim, a warranty analyst from St. Francis who voted for Walker first thing Tuesday.

Naunheim said the recall was a waste of money.

“I think the Wisconsin voters voted in 2010 to vote Walker in,” he said. “I don’t think he did anything illegal.”

Barrett supporter Lisa Switzer of Sun Prairie said Walker went too far.

“Even if it doesn’t turn out the way we want it to, it proves a point,” said Switzer, an occupational therapist and single mother on BadgerCare, the state’s health insurance program for the working poor. “People in Wisconsin aren’t just going to stand by and let a governor take over the state and cut social services.”


Comments

1howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

All this going on while Mitt Romney is raising big bucks in the home of a Texas billionaire who owns 2 paintings by Adolf Hitler and a autographed copy of "Mein Kampf" These items will be on display in the room where the fundraiser will take place.

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2newsmaker1(127 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Scott Walker is a modern day hero, he cut the deficit, reduced property taxes, did not lay off teachers and increased jobs, He needs to be the President.

If anybody should have been recalled, its Obama. He attacked Business, He attacked the Catholic Church,He goes all around the world, apologizing for being an American. What's wrong with Obama- he's a frecking screwball and needs to be removed.

We need adults in charge

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3Traveler(606 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Its funny unions need democrats in office to get government contracts but democrats nether care or need unions.

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4Knightcap(699 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Just a dress rehearsal for the fall. It was good to see that democrats voted for the best candidate. My fellow democrats are starting to come to their senses and vote for fiscal responsibility. The national debt continues to grow and we have to make the same decision in November. Obama koolaid is wearing off.

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5UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The silent majority are just getting started. We the makers are sick and tired of giving to the takers while they multiply and demand more. The entitled of the inner city of Milwaukee, community organized their welfare class to beat the common folk, but the productive rural and suburban people have had it. We have watched as the subsidized hood rats continue to want more. We are disgusted with feeding the beast as they SUCK up more energy for free. "Long Live Free Enterprise!"

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6theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Anyone relishing the demise of collective bargaining in this country is a fool. Too many voters have never known what it is like to work 60 or more hours a week for substandard wages in poor working conditions but they may soon find out. And don't count on labor law to protect you from that. It was organized labor that got those laws enacted to begin with. Organized labor that made sure those laws were enforced. And it it will be the demise of organized labor that will see those laws repealed. Maybe that's what it will take to wake people up and realize that corporate America doesn't want to just be left alone to do business. They want to own everything, including you. Wisconsin just made that a little more likely to happen.

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7Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

UticaShale,
The problem is that Walker doesn't attack the non-working welfare recipients. He attacked teachers, nurses, policemen and firemen.

The problem is that he spent 32 million in out-or-state corporate money to the unions 4 million in spending.

The problem is that 36% of union members voted for Walker against their own interests because they are Republican. It's hard, but you can't let your party loyalty take you down a path against your own job. Ohioans found that out.

I'm very afraid for this country. I am afraid of the way that the corporate-controlled media has taken over peoples' minds. I am afraid of the hate and anger spewed by the right wing. What are we going to become? A land like colonial India with the privileged living in compounds attended by the poor masses?

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8greene(167 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The UnHoly trinity, Dems, Unions, the Vindy.

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9UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Education, you seem like a good person and are interested in the truth. With due respect, it is exactly the teachers,nurses,policemen and fireman too that are entitled. Many in my family are teachers and nurses, but I will with sadness in my heart say that they have become the problem inadvertently. You see the global economy has produced these same professionals in other countries and they are willing to out compete these same professionals for their jobs and this is what WE and America has exported to the world, free enterprise. If a doctor in Spain has the same qualifications as a doctor in the US and the the Spanish doctor is willing to work in the US for 40% less, this is what is happening. And no, protectionism was tried many times and failed. There is no monopoly anymore on teachers, police, etc. the Unions sadly demand wages at a higher value than the free market. This is why America without monopolies, is just another workplace. This is why corporations have vanished here. If you have a business and you must compete with the world, unless you are Facebook or the only company that makes cars, you will move to a country where you can compete.

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10theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Joefromhubbard, that's simply wishful thinking and history tells a different story. To quote that favorite conservative Ronald Reagan, "...trust but verify..." And the only way to keep unchecked corporate greed, manipulation, and exploitation at bay is through labor law and by extension, collective bargaining. To believe that corporate America will simply do what is in your best interest and maintain hard fought for working conditions obtained by organized labor because of some noble feeling is foolishness at best and dangerous at worst. Organized labor provides autonomy from corporate masters. Take away that autonomy and you become a corporate slave.

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11Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

UticaShale,
The best scoring education systems in the world are unionized public schools.
In Finland, and all of Scandinavia, there are scarce private schools. Everyone goes to the public school, with the union teacher. And they do great.
Singapore has well paid teachers, most unionized, some not.

As a teacher I was always aware that I had a public job, and considered it my patriotic duty to give 100% for the sake of my community in some of the toughest schools in Mahoning County.

With a Masters Degree and most of the way to a second Masters, I never made more than $58,000 but I did work for less than $30,000 for 15 years.

Entitled huh? Yeah, I thought I was entitled to more than spit in my face for yearly kicking back thousands of my salary and hours of my free time to make sure students got what they needed.

I was willing to lay down my life for my charges (in neighborhoods where drive-bys were common), a quality shared with firemen and police officers...and my reward was being blamed for a global economic meltdown. By the way -- those economic problems also exist in low union states like Nevada and North Carolina.

I gave it up this year, because children and young parents hearing the rhetoric but not fully understanding it, treated teachers with contempt.

A young idealistic worker will take my place. Please don't beat her down.

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12walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Education_Voter,
Really? You want to compare teaching with firemen and police? You go into burning buildings or walk down dark alleys to possibly get shot at? I don't see what being in a teacher's union has to do with being spit at or spending your free time to make sure students get what they need. You are paid on a contract basis to educate students during a specified period of time. Plus, you get to work a steady shift, weekends and holidays off, with plenty of vacation time.

So, when you decided to get into education, you didn't know the lay of the land? Doesn't seem fair to me that the person teaching advanced courses such as chemistry, physics, etc should be compensated the same as someone that teaches health class or physical education. All in all, for a career, teachers are now doing just fine. Put in your time, stay out of trouble, pass on your problems, and retire at a decent age. Oh, and maybe you can even do some double dipping at some point.

Remember, those that can, do; those that can't, teach; those that can't teach, teach gym. And, maybe that young idealistic worker that takes your place will be a man!

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13youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Education, first off, Walker left out police and fire from the collective bargaining reform in Wisconsin. If Kasich would have done that, SB5 would likely still be in place. The problem is not the unionizing in the traditional sense, but the corporatizing of labor unions to form "big labor." Big labor doesn't care about the teachers. If they did, they wouldn't advocate things which contribute to the destruction of inner-city schools for example. They are more interested in promoting the democratic agenda of LGBT rights, higher taxes, universal health care, etc. I read one of my mom's NEA pamphlets and there was more pertaining to that than education! Also, the workers' freedoms were being restricted by forcing them to pay dues to advocate these issues. Why are union workers voting against their own interests?? Because for many of them, they ARENT! Unions should advocate for things like working conditions/wages/etc, but that's it. Organized labor has gotten too big for its own good and this result will certainly humble them. Expect more union households to turn Republican as well, because the Obama-style leftist Democratic party is not built on a blue-collar/labor platform.

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14theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

toycannon, you are probably right. The unions have turned a corner. The question is, are the American people ready for what's around that corner as a result? History has been clear. When workers can be exploited, they have been. There is no reason to believe that we have somehow transcended that ethic and collective bargaining has been the equalizer. You ready to work in a sweat shop? There certainly is room for reform as has been the case. But throwing the baby out with the bath water and eliminating collective bargaining is a republican extremist agenda power grab. Always has been the goal of the republicans to eliminate unions. The trouble is, the younger generation voter doesn't know any better and they get their information from biased sources. As is the case with youngspartanrepublican.

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15walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

peacelover,
Please tell me how I'm "full of it" and what "it" is. If we are going to pay teachers more because they have a Master in Education, then the minimum requirement should be M.Ed (which I believe it should be). Teaching is a pretty good gig nowadays and I encouraged my kids to become teachers and one will become one in the next year or two. But, as I told him, it will be unfortunate that he will have to pay someone for the ability to work since he will have to be a member of a union. But, the pendulum is swinging back the other way and maybe Ohio will become a right-to-work state. In any event, professionals should not be unionized like a steelworker.

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16theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Regardless of the media outlet, I frankly could care less what they have to say because I do not need any of them to form the opinions I have. Frankly, we would do much better as a country if more people were able to think for themselves instead of having to be told what to think, but I digress. What really chafes my hide is how we are able to ignore what Wall Street did to this country and then blame public employees for the problems. All while extremists like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie and the rest tell us they want to eliminate our rights and we agree with them. I think that idiocy speaks volumes. We used to talk to each other about our differences. Now, we just want to get into power positions so we can screw the other side.

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17UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Free enterprise, it's what made America great...once.

Thank the stars, the Mahoning Valley has a second chance once again to be prosperous as was its history with steel. Energy by way of capitalism will bring prosperity anew. The entitled, they will be dragged kicking and screaming to work in a free market or they will not eat.

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18VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

What everyone is overlooking is the real story...our States are broke. Our National Government is broke. The reason we are broke is simple. We are spending more than is coming in. With the slump in our economy and millions of people not working, the tax revenue stream our government depends on for income is greatly reduced. But yet, we still have to pay out the same amount of money to pay our bills. Something has to give.

If we cannot get government workers to accepts some concessions, then do the right thing...follow the union contract and lay - 'em off. Keep laying off and cutting back until our spending matches our income. If you want to sell off assets to keep workers employed, fine. Do it. That is how a business is run. Businesses don't keep employees for charity purposes and neither should our goverment.

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19theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Austerity alone is not the answer. The Europeans are realizing this. A combination of austerity measures and stimulus are but the obstructionists like Mitch McConnell would rather sink the country through austerity so Obama loses an election rather than stimulate the economy and take the chance that Obama wins the election. In the meantime, we keep eating our young while the Washington elite throw on the flavorings and tells us how well we like the taste. Sickening. The more the country suffers the better for the republicans. Think about that.

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20VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

That is why concessions are needed. But greedy workers would rather let the government and the economy collapse than accept any concessions.

I ran into an old friend who recently retired as a school teacher. She said she got out just in time and only pays $18.00 per month for her health Insurance. Her husband is also retired and on Social Security. Oh, and btw, she and her husband just got back from vacation out west and are now leaving for their condo on the ocean in Florida. They have been renting it out during the tourist season. They also said not to worry, Obama will get re-elected because he will lower gas prices even further during this summer. Isn't it good to see the poor economy doesn't affect everyone?

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21walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

peacelover,
Yes, I, too have a Master's in Engineering and receive a decent salary. Actually, I am more or less on par with teachers of my age. I, like most engineers, also live frugally because we know the highs and lows of the business cycles. I'm tired of the whining that I hear from teachers that it is somehow an abomination that they should not receive pay and benefit increases and possibly should take decreases. The benefits that teachers accrue under the state system are fabulous but can't be sustained. And, yes, a degree in education is one of the easier degrees to obtain. When I was in college years ago, those students that couldn't make it in the more rigorous fields always ended up trying to get education degrees. This is unfortunate since there are some people who are blessed with the patience and determination to be fine educators. But, in any school, there are only a handful and the UNIONS protect the bozos. You and your kids are wrong. They don't want to go into teaching because "they don't want to be poor". If they go into teaching, they just won't become rich! There is a huge difference. Professionals should be made to stand on the body of their work and be compensated commensurately. Those that can't meet the requirements are told to move on and try something different. Teachers that can't produce just skate by and push their problems off on to someone else.

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221loaf(100 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Why is it I didn't hear this out spending nonsense when Mr Obama and his minnions were buying votes by the bucket full. It is only objectionable if your side losses. Also the union bosses brought dues money from across the country to Wisconsin and spent a heck of a lot more than 4million. Hopefully folks in Ohio will wake up and smell the freedom of right to work.

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23FifthAve(168 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

All this election proved is that 39M bought this election by people OUTSIDE this state!

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24BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

takemymoneyplease:
" Doctors need to sacrifice $$$$$$$$$$ to bring health care cost down along with opening the boarders(sic) for health insurance."

Typical misunderstanding of why costs are so high.
Do you or anyone here know what is in their insurance policy and why it is there?

Here's a link that will explain why we're in the mess we are in:

http://macpamedia.org/media/downloads...

Mandates come from lobbyists colluding with the state insurance commissioner to ensure that certain things are mandatory.

If you're a man why should you pay for maternity benefits?
If you are a teetotaler why should you pay for alcohol treatment?
If you're a woman why should you pay for prostate surgery?

And it goes on:
Tattoo removal, aromatherapy, acupunture, smoking cessation or hair plugs.

Why are you not in favor of Health Savings Accounts, eh?
So you can save up when you are healthy and put that money for treatments not covered.

How about being able to take your policy when you leave a job or leave the state?

Why shouldn't you be able to keep your very own doctor if they truly know you? The bureaucracy certainly won't.

Your doctor's job is hard enough treating you in the first place, why make it harder for him by cutting his fees?

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25BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

takemymoneyplease:
" Doctors need to sacrifice $$$$$$$$$$ to bring health care cost down along with opening the boarders(sic) for health insurance."

Typical misunderstanding of why costs are so high.
Do you or anyone here know what is in their insurance policy and why it is there?

Here's a link that will explain why we're in the mess we are in:

http://macpamedia.org/media/downloads...

Mandates come from lobbyists colluding with the state insurance commissioner to ensure that certain things are mandatory.

If you're a man why should you pay for maternity benefits?
If you are a teetotaler why should you pay for alcohol treatment?
If you're a woman why should you pay for prostate surgery?

Health insurance should be like your car insurance, you pay for the coverage that YOU choose and not what some paper shuffler thinks you should have.

And it goes on:
Tattoo removal, aromatherapy, acupunture, smoking cessation or hair plugs.

Why are you not in favor of Health Savings Accounts, eh?
So you can save up when you are healthy and put that money for treatments not covered.

How about being able to take your policy when you leave a job or leave the state?

Why shouldn't you be able to keep your very own doctor if they truly know you? The bureaucracy certainly won't.

Your doctor's job is hard enough treating you in the first place, why make it harder for him by cutting his fees?

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