The climax of Theodore Roosevelt’s nomination acceptance speech at the Progressive Party convention of 1912 was his declaration that “We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.” How ironic therefore that Armageddon for the supposedly “Progressive” forces of organized labor should be occurring in the Progressive promised land of Wisconsin next week.
The Wall Street Journal this morning reports the grim tidings for public sector unions in the Badger state:
Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the state’s second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers—fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a person who has viewed Afscme’s figures. A spokesman for Afscme declined to comment.
Much of that decline came from Afscme Council 24, which represents Wisconsin state workers, whose membership plunged by two-thirds to 7,100 from 22,300 last year.
No wonder the unions have gone to the mat against Governor Scott Walker. The Journal notes that the Wisconsin showdown may be the rough equivalent of President Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers in 1981. If Walker wins the recall vote comfortably next week, as polls suggest he might, look for his national stature to soar. He’ll likely end up on Mitt Romney’s short list for VP, just as Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge ended up on the 1920 GOP ticket because of his handling of the Boston police strike in 1919.