I will try not to echo here what has been said in other parts of the blogosphere regarding Walker's victory in the recall effort yesterday in Wisconsin. I do think that there is much truth in the notion that this election is more important than the Presidential election this November. I have listed before my reasons why a conservative victory in November is critical, especially with regard to upcoming Supreme Court vacancies. In terms of what Joe Public will see and hear and be conscious of, Romney versus Obama will be the story of the year.
However, in terms of a true shockwave to the American political system, Walker's victory likely heralds a sea-change.
First, public sector unions have been broken, and decisively defeated. Make no mistake, this effort was an attempt by the public unions to throw their weight around, to punish a politician who dared to challenge them on their own ground, and they lost big. Fifty years ago, public unions were illegal, yet much of modern politics takes as a given that the unions have always been there and are a key constituency. The notion of government working for government workers is no more in Wisconsin, and similar changes will likely sweep other red and purple states in the next few years. Kasich tried this in Ohio but overreached--going after emergency services personnel was a grave error, due to their popularity and the attack ads that practically write themselves. As Walker showed, better to wound the beast than to immediately go for the kill. Show the public that austerity works on a small scale, targeting perks that no one in the private sector can hope for, will open the door for other cuts later, including public services that deserve fair compensation but not necessarily diamond-encrusted benefits. Second, a state that has been purple to blue for decades has looked at two alternatives--the liberal, welfare-state model and the conservative, limited government model--and chosen the latter. The money to fund large, bloated entitlement programs is gone, and is not coming back. See Ace of Spades HQ earlier today--I won't steal all his thunder but the bullet point version is that future tax payers are tapped out, and now current tax payers have to start footing the bill. Like myself, and probably those reading this, they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. The welfare state confiscates wealth in return for providing services--but what happens when the services cannot be funded even with excessive amounts of wealth being confiscated?
There are a couple of lesser points. One is that President Obama has taken a serious hit, and his defeat is much more likely now than it was a year or even a month ago. Another is the credulousness of the media. For months they dutifully repeated liberal talking points that this was a national election, that it had consequences. Today, many old media outlets are downplaying the significance, as directed by White House spokesman Jay Carney who states that this was (paraphrasing) "only a governor's race, and has no bearing on November." This is an ongoing point in the conservative blogosphere, but this is a better weapon than most in that fight because of the abundance of liberal opinion and commentary, disguised as news pieces, that show the flip-flop.
Change is in the air--not the Obama promise of rainbows and unicorns kind of change, but real change, the end of the FDR New Deal model of government. With any luck, the change will come sooner rather than later.