Elections have consequences. The tidal wave of opposition to the Obama Administration’s tax and spend policies has cost the Democrats dearly. The most visible shift was the loss of control of the House of Representatives. The Democrats kept control of the Senate but the Collins-Snowe RINOs are no longer enough to reach cloture and move bills to the Senate floor. Also in the Senate there are twenty-three Democrats and only ten Republicans facing the voters in 2012. This does not include the retirements announced so far. As if these circumstances were not daunting enough for the Democrats, the more immediate problem facing the Democrats is the loss of control of governorships and state houses. Look at Wisconsin.
Last week the Democratic state senators in Wisconsin fled to Illinois to deny the senate a quorum for voting on legislation that would limit public employee union collective bargaining rights. In keeping with the new era of civility called for by President Obama in the wake of the Tucson shootings, protestors stormed the state house calling Governor Scott Walker a Nazi and hoisting signs with Hitler moustaches. Obama denounced the proposed Wisconsin legislation as union busting. Organizing for America, the political arm of the Obama 2008 campaign, helped bus in protestors and has been providing tactical support. The Democratic National Committee has actively supported the protestors. Jesse Jackson appeared on cue to assist with inane rhymes and inappropriate historical analogies. On television teachers can be seen lining up to get bogus doctor’s notes to avoid paying a price for missing work.
Governor Walker promised to rein in the power of the public sector unions during the recent campaign. He also promised to eliminate the Wisconsin budget shortfall. Walker won. He is doing exactly what he said he would do. Why all the fuss? It is because Indiana, Ohio, and several other states (and localities) are watching. Union supporters are already attacking Governor Kasich’s collective bargaining proposals in Ohio. Protestors are planning rallies against the Governor’s proposals. Democrat legislators in Indiana are fleeing to Illinois and Kentucky to avoid voting on measures designed to alter collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.
Public opinion polls show that the Republican governors are holding a winning hand. Obama officials are walking back their comments about union busting. They are also downplaying the role of Organizing for America in the protests. The DNC is also backing away. They picked the wrong fight. Real change is coming at the state level. Balanced budget requirements and public outrage at the union sweetheart deals are driving the debate.
Ironically the party of “hope and change” is the party of the status quo. In Democrat circles change means more benefits, not less. At the national level chronic deficit spending is possible. Just print more money and/or see the Chinese loan sharks. Governors do not have this luxury. Like a household, states must live within their means.
Tax increases, budget cuts, or both? The election cycle of 2010 showed clearly where the public stands.
Democrats are in a state of denial. Serious changes are coming down the track at the national, state, and local levels. It is much easier to shape change from within the tent than it is on the outside looking in. All politicians should show up for work and do the jobs they were elected to do. Otherwise, recall the fugitive politicians and elect legislators who will do the bidding of the general public, not just the special interest groups who funded the campaigns of the people they would be replacing.
Thanks to a guest contributor for the above comments. I couldn’t have said it better!!!