Democrats will do worse than nominate Tom Barrett in the recall election, thank God

A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it … gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. — Milton Friedman

I support Scott Walker for re-election as governor. He is the most transformational Wisconsin governor since, well, Tommy Thompson. His opponents do not realize that there is never going to be a total reversal of Act 10 public employee union reforms. The people of Wisconsin will never again see public sector unions the same.

If Walker must have a Democratic opponent in his summer’s recall election, Democrats could do worse than Tom Barrett. I hope they do and they probably will.

The partisan in me hopes the Milwaukee mayor stays out. Many Democrats know he gives the Democrats the best chance of reversing the 2010 election results. So far, only The Kathleen and The Other Kathleen have announced their candidacies. Does Barrett get into the race the day after the April 3 mayoral election? That would seem unseemly, it would seem, but there’s not much time. The Dem primary is May 8 — just seven weeks from now.

Here are three reasons Barrett would be a strong candidate: 1) statewide name I.D., 2) he is no union pawn, 3) Democrats sorely need their own reform movement.

No longer can Democrats prosper as a political party dragging the dead weight of public sector union privilege behind them. Kathleen Falk looks both desperate and callow for selling her soul to the government union bosses.

Will Tom Barrett run? He was a most reluctant candidate two years ago. As I’ve noted before, he could sleepwalk to re-election as mayor. The office of governor is a different kettle of fish (to coin a phrase). Yet, he is bringing in former Obama chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a fundraiser on March 28.

Liberal writer Jonathan Alter writes about Emanuel in the April edition of The Atlantic magazine. Perhaps “fawns” is a better verb than “writes.” Still, Alter draws a revealing portrait of the man’s first year in office. (Here’s the link, but buy the magazine!)

Ye shall be known by thine enemies

“So far, almost everyone — except members of the Chicago Teachers Union, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and their backers — likes Rahm’s performance,” Alter writes.

The new mayor, struggling to restore Chicago as the premier convention and trade show destination, enacted a modest reform at McCormick Place. Once even mom and pop exhibitors were forced to pay a union member to “stand around and watch,” in Alter’s description, while they unloaded their humble displays from their own station wagons. The mayor changed that, although the unions still rule the floor.

In a system that graduates only 57% of its students, education is the new mayor’s biggest challenge. Rahm (as he’s most often called) criticized his predecessors’ deal with the teachers union. Bill Daley and schools chancellor Arne Duncan (now U.S. Secretary of Education) gave the union “hefty” pay increases and a shorter school day in return for some union love. Says the new mayor, “I know what the teachers got and I know what the politicians got. But I don’t know what the kids got.”

Mayor Emanuel got legislation giving districts greater authority to fire teachers, reform tenure, pay for performance, and lengthen the school day and school year. He’s also a big fan of charter schools. His new school chancellor, Haitian-born Jean-Claude Brizard, worked with school reformer Joel Klein in New York City.

Alter writes, “For now, the mayor has the public behind him and is willing to weather a strike.”

Alter concludes by describing Rahm’s “north stars”:

● The safety of our streets

● The strength of our schools, and

● The stability of our finances.

What? No bike paths?!

Why Tom Barrett can’t get elected governor

The major downside to a Tom Barrett candidacy is the same as his strength: public sector labor bosses hate him. Barrett tried to take over Milwaukee public schools; despite a Democratic governor and both houses of the Legislature, they could not beat the teachers union. Barrett has also used Walker’s “tools” to balance his budget. He actually wanted greater pension and health insurance leverage vis-a-vis his police and firefighters, although those unions are specifically exempted from Act 10 reforms.

“With Emanuel set to appear in Milwaukee for Tom Barrett on March 28, it is clear that Barrett is poised to become Obama’s pick to unseat Walker,” claims The Badger Democracy blog.

In “Why would Tom Barrett run for governor … again?” Badger Democracy says it “examined the role Rahm Emanuel played in Free Trade policies (NAFTA), union busting, and privatization from his years with Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to the Chicago Mayor’s Office. Does Tom Barrett represent the energy and power of this recall movement? How many times has Barrett marched with teachers and firefighters? How many times has Barack Obama actually stood with Labor in Wisconsin …?”

Blaska’s Bottom Line: next time someone asks why can’t Republicans elect a moderate, turn the question around on them. Why can’t Democrats elect a moderate?

Madison Teachers Union likes the status quo

Gadzooks! Madison’s school board elections are two weeks from this Tuesday. Let’s be clear: a vote for Arlene Silveira or her running mate, Michael Flores, is a vote for teachers union boss John Matthews and the same ol’ same old.

Of course, the Dane County Democratic party has endorsed Silveira and Flores. (Who knew school board was partisan?) But they were only following the home office’s lead at Madison Teachers Inc.

Their opponents, Mary Burke and Nichelle Nichols, respectively, are no Republicans. (Burke was a cabinet officer under Gov. Jim E. Doyle.) But they are change agents.

A year ago during “The Troubles”

New Media Meade shot some of my favorite video from the entire protest season: the guy with the bullhorn calling out "G-g-g-g-governor Goofy." Truly school of the absurd. Try not to break out laughing at the overweening self-importance of Bullhorn Man, as captured by Meade for the Althouse blog.

Free Justice Prosser

If I could say it any better than Marquette Law School prof Donald Esenberg, I would. What were they thinking when the Judicial Commission charged Justice Prosser? Besides which, the three-judge panel appointed to conduct the hearing merely recommends a course of action to (trumpet blast) the state Supreme Court, six of whose seven members were a) involved or b) direct witnesses.

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