Democrats: Organized labor has decided the election for you
The Fix, ladies and gentlemen, is most definitely in.
The white smoke is wafting over the Vatican on WEAC hill in Madison. The holy chrism has been daubed. Habemus papam.
The Big Labor bosses have crowned the next governor of Wisconsin, and it is Kathleen Falk. The teachers union (WEAC) has endorsed Our Lady of the Swamps. What’s more, the former Dane County executive has promised WEAC and the state employees union (WSEU) that she will do their bidding. Her only question: How high?
As those who lay siege to the Capitol (Saturday is the one-year anniversary) might chant: Whose governor? The union bosses’ governor!
The former Dane County executive has mortgaged her soul for a chance at the brass ring. She has put up the For Sale sign on whatever maneuverability an effective governor must have. She has met the unions’ demand that she veto any state budget that does not restore to the government employee unions all the goodies they lost under Walker, including:
• The government as union dues collector
• No more annual certification votes by membership
• Restored bargaining over work rules, fringe benefits, and pay.
For the unions’ backing, Kathleen Falk is willing to hold the entire state of Wisconsin hostage. It is the corrupt bargain of 2012.
Let’s hear, however briefly, from the adult in the room: “I said I could not make that promise and I did not think any serious candidate for governor could or should make that commitment,” Sen. Tim Cullen told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “It’s a $60 billion document.”
No wonder Cullen dropped out of the race. Yes, union rights for government employees that exceed anything enjoyed by federal employees trumps roads, health care, the environment, education, and everything else a state budget funds.
No, the Scott Walker recall petitions have not yet been verified. The Government Accountability Board has not declared a recall election for governor. Doesn’t matter. Wisconsin’s most powerful union is all in on “The Kathleen.” One wonders when its 100,000 members made that decision – or was it made for them? Ya’ think?
Blaska’s amazing predictions
What it means #1: There will be only one A-list candidate on the Democrat(ic) ballot.
Herb Kohl, Russ Feingold, and Dave Obey are not getting in. WEAC would have bided its time if there were any chance they would get in. Barrett has already told the unions he has too much integrity to kowtow to the unions but he won’t get in. He never really wanted it in 2008.
What it means #2: One other candidate has announced: The Other Kathleen, aka Kathleen Vinehout, a state senator from that political power base of Alma, in Buffalo County. It is possible this Other Kathleen did not get the memo. She is B-list at best. Prediction: she drops out.
What it means #3: Other B-listers will not get in: not Sen. Jon Erpenbach, not former congressman Steve Kagen, not U.S. Rep. Ron Kind. Peter Barca, maybe. But without the teachers union? Has a Democrat ever run for governor in the modern era without it? Even Ed Garvey got the teachers union endorsement.
(Even Fighting Ed Garvey says the Falk bargain is appalling: “… the equivalent of pouring ice water on the uprising.”)
It is possible we’ll see some C-list candidates: Doug La Follette and the odd vanity candidate.
Why the whole recall is absurd
Reason #1: Falk’s corrupt bargain with the unions demonstrates why the whole recall business is a fool’s errand. Recall the governor, turn out enough senators to flip that house (now 17-16 Republican) the other way. Doesn’t matter. The State Assembly will remain 59-39-1 Republican. It takes both houses of the Legislature to overturn Act 10. That explains the gambit to hold the entire state budget hostage unless it includes Act 10 repeal.
Assembly Republicans will say “bring it!” every day.
Reason #2: Organized labor represents only 14% of wage earners in Wisconsin – less if one factors in self-employed entrepreneurs. That’s down from 20.9% 20 years ago, according to the BLS. Nor is it clear that all of the industrial unions – who know a thing or two about job uncertainty – have that much sympathy for secure government employees.
Be afraid, be very afraid
Sen. Cullen said he bowed out of challenging Scott Walker because the recall race will be “expensive and nasty.”
The “nasty” part was reinforced by the startling news that Kathleen Falk has taken on One Scot Ross as her campaign mouthpiece. One Scot runs (or ran) One Wisconsin Now, a truly nasty piece of business. Anything that Democrat Party spokesman Graeme Zeilinski was too embarrassed to say got farmed out to One Wisconsin Now.
Blaska’s drinking contest: toss one back every time One Scot utters the cliche “extreme right-wing agenda.”
Cullen also blames Minority Leader Mark Miller for sabotaging negotiations during the Flight to Illinois that could have yielded significant concessions from the Walker people. Jessica Van Eggeren’s interview is a must read.
Who shall rule, the special interests or the people?
Who knew? Scott Walker is a progressive! So states a provocative read in the Washington Post, “Who’s progressive in Wisconsin?” A fair-use quotation:
“… collective bargaining in the public sector is inherently contrary to majority rule. It transfers basic public-policy decisions – namely, the pay and working conditions that taxpayers will offer those who work for them – out of the public square and behind closed doors. … Even worse, to the extent that unions bankroll the campaigns of the officials with whom they will be negotiating – and they often do – they sit on both sides of the table.”
Don’t bother …
Writing Scott Walker in the Democrats’ primary, if there is one. Won’t work. He can’t run against himself.