Much as Mitt Romney seems to be pulling away from President Obama, Scott Walker is pulling away from Tom Barrett, the Democrats’ choice to oppose Walker in the recall election coming up on June 5. Walker beat Barrett in 2010, so this will be a rematch. Given the success of Walker’s policies, it is hard to imagine how Barrett can do much better this time, no matter how big a money advantage the Democrats have.
With Walker gaining ground in the polls, the Democrats are getting desperate. So now we have an “independent” filmmaker releasing heavily-edited footage that he shot in 2011 of Governor Walker chatting with a supporter. Somewhere in the conversation, Walker uses the phrase “divide and conquer” in connection with unions. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is trying to make something of it, and Barrett pretends to be “flabbergasted” that Walker could use such a phrase. I suppose if he heard Barack Obama talk about bringing a gun to a knife fight, he would keel over in a dead faint.
Ann Althouse thinks the video was edited in a highly misleading way. Ann is very smart and I hesitate to disagree with her, but as far as I can tell–like many brief, casual conversations, this one wasn’t particularly coherent–Walker did seem to be suggesting that at some point it might be possible to try to pass right to work legislation. But his focus, he says, is on public sector unions:
“So for us,” the governor continues, “the base we get for that is the fact that we’ve got – budgetarily we can’t afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there’s no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out. . . . That opens the door once we do that. That’s your bigger problem right there.”
He goes on to talk about curbing liability lawsuits and government regulations.
I am in favor of right to work, as I assume Walker is; he introduced right to work legislation twenty years ago. But it is not a live issue in Wisconsin, and won’t be any time soon. The live issue in Wisconsin is public sector unions, which were driving the state and its municipalities into bankruptcy until the Republican legislature and Governor Walker curbed them with legislation that is very moderate, compared with how public sector unions are treated by other states and the federal government.
So this is another non-story, except that the Democrats, who seem to be growing increasingly desperate, are trying to make something cosmic out of it. Remarkably, Yahoo News, which gets more viewers than any other news source on the internet–half of its stories feature bikinis–weighed in, in predictably left wing fashion, with this headline, intended to suggest that the brief video clip of Governor Walker somehow shows that his intention has been something other than getting Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order:
This is, I think, a useful reminder of what we are up against. The establishment desperately wants Barack Obama to be re-elected and gains made by conservatives in states like Wisconsin rolled back. Its news organs have no standards whatsoever; no story is too silly, no lie too transparent if it advances the Democrats’ cause. It is going to be a very nasty six months from now until the election.