Intrade Has Walker’s Chances over 90%; NY Times in Panic Mode
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  • Jim.

    Unions are another case of “good ideas applied in the wrong situation”.

    Why do they exist? So good solid workers don’t get cheated by management. So far, so good. This is a sentiment I can support — and I suspect, the rest of America with me.

    But if they apply their power in the wrong way– sheltering those who are not good solid workers (instead of working to build them up to “union quality”), insisting on an unsustainble share of the pie (especially public budgets and retiree payouts), they are a force for destruction, not for good.

    Collective bargainers, and Americans generally I believe, are going to regret winning some of the Union battles of yesteryear that are costing them the war today.

    Republicans take note: would you rather deal with a Union local, that at least knows some of the facts on the ground — that at least knows the industry — or would you rather deal with the Federal bureaucrats that workers will now turn to for support?

    Remember how the Unions stood with the side of right and freedom against the Communists. That battle has been won for now, but Obama’s election proves it could flare up again at any time.

  • stan

    ‘Cause Reagan certainly wasn’t a candidate from the doctrinaire right. Oh, wait.

  • Richard F. Miller

    One key element in what “post-blue” will look like is its incorporation of the de-centralizing tendencies of the information technology. Thus, if one wants to be on the “right side of history” at least for a while, think about proposals, politicians, and policies that subvert or weaken top-down control.

    In the top-down control period, shifts invariably meant switching out elites during times of transition: Napoleon for Louis XVI, the Stalin for the Czar, and so forth. Now, power will shift based on lateral connections: it’s the guy who puts together the law firm with information technology with paralegals in foreign countries–the ABA and all their little committees and chairs will mean less and less.

    Applied to Wisconsin, it’s easy: as soon as union dues, hitherto required by law, became optional, union membership dropped like a rock. People concluded (perhaps) that using the money to buy an Ipad was more empowering than kicking in one’s mite to finance the platform and perks of senior Union management.

    Usually, one applies the metaphor “containing the seeds of its own destruction” to explain institutional failure. But it just might be that American federalism “contains the seeds of its own renewal.”

    Hope so.

  • Mark Michael

    Comment 3 note that Act 10 made automatic collection of union dues of those state workers optional, and that resulted in a plunging of union membership. That’s the behind-the-scenes real reason the union leadership & D Party professionals have been so fierce in trying to undo the Walker election and R takeover of the WI legislature in 2010.

    I believe the NEA was hit hard by teachers who decided to no longer have union dues deducted from their paychecks: something like 2/3rds dropped out of the union so far.

    In those (few) states that require workers to actively choose to have their dues automatically deducted, only a few do: 7% is my recollection. I suspect that Wisconsin will settle to that level in a few years also. If it does, that marks the end of an important cash cow for the union leaders and for the D Party in Wisconsin.

    Here in Ohio, I’ve berated my state legislators for not first passing a bill to end the automatic deduction of union dues. Instead, they went for the whole thing – and got repudiated at the polls last November (SB 5).

    It’s hard to imagine that the unions would put that on the ballot for the voters to decide all by itself: “Gee, vote to force government workers to pay dues automatically rather than deciding to send them in themselves!” The issue is a high percentage of union dues goes for political activities, and many union members don’t want their dollars to go there, even if they are nominal D’s.

    They’re not that political. They wouldn’t mind having modest dues that only support the administrative overhead of the unions being deducted, but not the large amounts going to the D pols. Ironically, I believe labor laws already require states to give the workers that option, but no one enforces that federal law. (I could be wrong about that. I never understood why an R president such as Bush did not insist his Labor Sec. enforce that law on the states, since it would surely reduce the warchest size of his adversaries.)

  • thibaud

    Funny how this earth shaking transition has exempted the most powerful public sector unions of all, public safety workers. Tweaking pensions for the others is hardly a massive change.

    As to the political fallout, this doesn’t change the central dynamics much at all, given how few Americans still belong to unions overall, much less belong to public sector unions.

    The nation remains split on the core fiscal issues, as symbolized by that wonderfully ironic Tea Party rally cry, “Get the government out of my medicare!”

    Americans stand united in their patriotic wish to cut OTHER PEOPLE’s benefits and raise OTHER PEOPLE”s taxes.

    The election will still come down to the unemployment rate + Team Obama’s ability to get high turnout from a few hundred thousand well-targeted single women, hispanics, gays and under 30 voters in a handful of counties in central Ohio, northern Virginia and front range Colorado. Unless Romney wins all three of those states, he loses.

  • Bill Kurtz

    I’m curious about the observation that the majority “isn’t looking for candidates from the doctrinaire right, either.”
    But isn’t that what the Tea Party demands the GOP offer?

  • Michael Brazier

    Jim – the bureaucrats in the federal Department of Labor gain their power to work mischief from the same laws that turn labor unions into destructive parasites; chiefly, the Wagner Act, which makes it possible for unions to force membership as a condition of employment. Where that act is not in force, union locals have to provide real services to their members, and understand the industry those members work in; if they don’t the members walk away. Where the Wagner Act is in force, union locals pay much more attention to influencing governments in their favor than the needs of their members; the bureaucrats can withhold their favors, while the rank and file can’t withhold their dues.

    It follows, therefore, that to deal with union locals who understand local conditions instead of with federal bureaucrats, one must support right-to-work laws, not oppose them.

  • Jablonski

    I dunno. I think the left should double down on the rage and the papier mache puppets. That’s sort of the 1-2 punch for winning over middle America, I’m told. By leftists.

  • Mike

    The existence of unions is premised on the notion that workers need to band together in order to fight exploitation by the company’s owners. But… when the “company” is the the Government, how does that argument work? We need protection from government exploitation?? But, hey, I thought the government was our friend, and that giving it more power and more money and more control was going to create paradise! So, how come the government’s own workers don’t believe this?

    I smell one of those Hegelian paradoxes coming on…

  • George Meany did not agree with Walter Reuther. Meany helped with the war on communism. Reuther did not.

  • Tulsa Jack

    “Doctrinaire Conservatives.” If by that snotty comment you mean patriotic Americans of all races, religions, and backgrounds who value freedom, respect the Constitution, and insist on equal liberty and justice for all, then count me in. That’s not an ideology, your pathetic ism-of-the-day. These are the fundamental principles of the United States, best expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, for which so many of us have fought and died. Those who don’t understand that, understand nothing.

  • jim

    Like the Instapundit guy says, by way of Han Solo: don’t get cocky. I remember reading articles about the death of conservatism forever and ever in the wake of Obama’s election.

    Just get out and vote, if you are in Wisconsin.

  • James

    Jim said: “Republicans take note: would you rather deal with a Union local, that at least knows some of the facts on the ground — that at least knows the industry — or would you rather deal with the Federal bureaucrats that workers will now turn to for support?”

    And the difference is??

  • Unions became a net negative when they went beyond protecting workers from exploitative management, to become another vehicle for outsourcing one’s responsibility to manage their value in the marketplace and secure their economic future.

    Many of us in the private sector have realized the folly of trusting authority and treasure to professional union leaders … who are “graded” by how much they can get from management, without regard to how much they can offer from the rank-and-file in terms of productivity and efficiency … and have left unions behind.

    Only in the public sector … where the tight feedback of the marketplace is all but absent, with institutional inertia and politics being the dominant forces … have unions maintained their strength.

    That is in large part because of the legal equivalent of money laundering that has gone on between politicians (particularly Democrat) and union leaders, laundering our tax dollars through mandatory dues collection and recycling them into campaign cash, leading to higher salaries and better benefits (sometimes provided through the union) diverting even more tax dollars into the money laundry.

    This is why the unions are basically “all in” in Wisconsin … if they can’t re-institute mandatory dues collection, the spin cycle slows greatly, and possibly stops as more and more of the rank-and-file realize what’s being done with their dues, and take back control of their future.

    And the rest of the nation is watching … and waiting to see if they can put the brakes on their own spin cycles, before they hit the point of insolvency.

    That is why tomorrow in Wisconsin is so important to the future of this nation … it is the bellwether for whether or not We the People stop listening to the Progressives’ Biggest Lie of All — that their elite can solve our problems FOR us, better than we can ourselves — and take back control of their future.

    As the People go, so goes the nation …

  • ECM

    What stan said–what was the point of inserting that unverifiable comment? ‘Balance’?

  • If only Jerry Brown were paying attention too!

  • Charles

    Jim, how does one ascertain whether a civil service employee is a “good solid worker”?

    The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. My late Mother was the personnel officer for a large unit of the U.S. Treasury Department. She constantly bemoaned the impossibility of ridding the Department of incompetents.

    The situation hasn’t changed at any level of government. Most people would not work hard if they did not have to. That’s obvious, isn

  • Charles

    isn’t it?

  • Bobo from Texas

    I’m very much looking to boatloads of Red Hope&Change! tomorrow.

  • theBuckWheat

    We used to have sufficient prosperity to give in to union demands for higher total compensation. But there are only so may jelly beans in the jar. We cannot take out more than we can put in without reaching the bottom. And that is what Wisconsin government unions are demanding that we do for them.

    Sorry, it is not right to pay government workers more than private sector workers in the same jobs, no matter that some compensation is deferred and comes in the form of pension payments years later.

  • Koblog

    The problem with public employee unions is who they “negotiate” with for their wages and benefits.

    Elected politicians who will be gone in a few years willingly give away billions of public dollars (i.e., money that’s not theirs) to get reelected to the next higher office, then move on.

    Public employees should not be unionized. It was Jerry Brown’s greatest mistake to allow unionization of public employees the first time he was Governor of California and he’s now reaping the whirlwind of deficits, based on those same public unions. He simply does not have the right to negotiate away the public tax dollars that way.

    And if public employees complain they aren’t making enough money, there’s always the private sector.

    Even FDR knew public employees should not unionize.

  • Ed

    I’d like to thank the unions for spending millions of dollars that have turned WI into a competitive state in November. The state’s left is going to be burnt out but the right won’t and will now have had plenty of GOTV practice.

  • aaron

    I wonder if private sector jobs and economic activity will spike up since this has caused so much uncertainty.

    If Walker wins strongly, businesses may have the confidence to invest and expand in Wisconsin.

  • Brown Line

    The funny thing is that what’s happening in Wisconsin fits right into Thomas Franks’ “what’s the matter with Kansas?” thesis. In brief, Franks claimed that Kansas (i.e., middle America) was seduced by matters detrimental to its interests, so that the ruling class could exert control. So, “Kansans” were interested in religion, say, or social issues, rather than economics – meaning, the left and its grab-bag of entitlements and other goodies.

    In Wisconsin, it’s the left that’s appealed to principle, to “solidarity” and “workers’ rights”, so that the ruling class – here, government unions and the leftist allies – can retain power. By and large, the pro-Walker forces are voting their pocketbook: they’re tired of being screwed, and they’re not going to take it any more.

    I think Franks would rather rip out his eyeballs than admit it, but he was right. Only, he forgot that in 2012, the class that’s doing the fooling and ruling is him and his political fellow-travellers.

  • Born Free

    And what would the “doctranaire right” want, besides and end to the “Alinsky left”? Sometimes, in the American interest, you have to pick sides. Could you just try to man up for that eventuality?

  • Rich K

    If a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise? Not if the NYT says it doesn’t, at least to a liberal bent american voter.

  • Oh Right

    Reagan was a union president and one of the most successful union bosses in American history, and then pee’ed all over them as President. But he sure was charming, wasn’t he?

  • traye

    Who would be someone in national office that is from “the doctrinaire right?” I just do not remember a time in my life where “the right” in power said “no, we shall not move.” Instead it has been to the left “ok, we will give on this as long as you promise to give on that in the future.” The left says “sure, sure, sure.” Then does the Lucy football move.

    Remember Reagan and taxes for future spending cuts? TWICE

  • Government unions make about as much sense as government grocery stores.

    Workers need to be protected from the taxpayers? Huh?

  • steve clark

    I bet the NYT also has not pointed out that once state and local government entities were not required to fork over union dues withheld from paychecks, and members had to voluntarily pay their dues, public sector union membership in WI has plummeted 70% in the last year.

    That says a lot about how workers perceive the value of what their unions deliver.

  • thibaud

    Marquette U’s latest survey shows that voters have a significantly more favorable view of both public unions (40% favorable) and private unions (44% favorable) than of the Tea Party (only 32% favorable).

    The majority clearly do not have any interest in being ruled by either greedy union goons or starve-the-government Tea Party loons.

  • Scott

    Industrial and trade unions were very important “equalizers” to level the power between management and workers early in the 20th century.

    How on earth does one equate the despicable working conditions of, say, meatpackers as chronicled in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, to white collar government employees working 8 hour days in air conditioned offices? The comparison is absurd.

    Further, when today’s industrial or trade union representatives sit down at the bargaining table, both the union and the company are negotiating within the constraints of historical financial performance. That means if an industrial union is a terrific negotiator and persuades company management to agree to demands that ultimately lead to poor financial performance by the company, then when the union contract comes up for renewal the firm will be in a position to negotiate less generous benefits as it strives to restore is competitiveness. And visa versa. If the union negotiates a very weak deal which enables the firm’s profitability to soar, then the union will be in a position to ask for more generous benefits for its union members the next time the two sides sit down to negotiate. In other words, the competitive discipline imposed by market forces dictate how negotiations go for both sides. Or at least they should.

    But government services are a monopoly (generally). Governments don’t have to compete in the market so they are not subjected to the same kind of disciplinary market forces that make companies be competitive. If the public sector employees overreach in negotiations, there’s no profitability yardstick the other side can use to make them more realistic. Instead, they just send the taxpayer the bill for more generous compensation regardless of how efficient and effective their performance is in delivering those government services.

    To add insult to injury, union dues is forcibly collected from union members and is mostly used to finance election campaigns to elect politicians who will grant public employees even more generous compensation. It’s a system that breeds corruption, inefficiency, and disdain for taxpayers who foot the bill.

    I don’t mean to disparage individual public employees themselves. Many do great work and they did not create the system. But the system as designed can only lead to taxpayer abuse and corruption. It’s an inherently flawed structure that needs serious permanent reform.

  • Charles on June 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm asks the eternal and pertinent question, that is, how do you tell whether a civil service employee is a good solid worker?

    The only way is through periodic and meaningful performance evaluations, and the ability to refocus efforts, and to clean house when needed.

    Unions simply hate the “meaningful” part of that. Union leaders themselves are never focused on doing a competent job for the public sector entity — they are ONLY focused on fighting an ongoing “us versus them” battle with management over benefits. Secondly, those same union leaders are acutely aware that large percentages of their members are essentially drones who have absolutely no real incentive whatsoever to perform well, but who are instead merely fixated on keeping their jobs regardless of their usefulness. But the union leaders protect them because theat is the source of their power. They ALL want the free ride to the pension! Meanwhile, there are governmental managers and politicians who make it their business to protect “public service” unions and their members.

    The managers do so because the number of employees they have is a reflection of their power within the bureaucracy, often to the detriment of the public good.

    And the politicians do so because they garner support for their elections from the union leaders, often to the real detriment of the public good.

    Sounds like Charles’ mother was a very smart woman — she obviously realized how few public sector employees do the real, and very important work of government; and, further, she realized how many public sector employees — even if they began their careers in all earnestness — become drones who are just along for the ride.

    I worked for a bureaucracy in State government in NJ, and I attest to how bad it really can be at times. Government does perform necessary and meaningful functions, but collective bargaining on a governmental level ends up working against the public good.

  • thibaud

    Based on all the polling data we have, if Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remains significantly below the national average into November, then it’s highly likely that the voters in Wisconsin will favor the incumbent in both the governor recall race and the presidential race.

    In other words, the Walker election isn’t really very consequential at all.

    It merely reflects what we always knew about US politics, which is that changes, for good or ill, in voters’ personal economic situation will always be the most important influence on electoral outcomes.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “Sometimes, in the American interest, you have to pick sides.”


  • Michael Brazier

    thibaud: since Walker and Obama hold opposite views on policy questions which are obviously relevant to the voters’ economic situation, anyone who would vote for both of them would be demonstrably a cretin. No one of normal intelligence can suppose both that Walker’s policies have helped the economy of Wisconsin, and that Obama’s policies have helped the economy of the USA; to endorse one is to reject the other.

    I must therefore suppose that in your opinion, the people of Wisconsin are highly likely to be too stupid to come in from the rain, at least when they enter a voting booth … or, more probably, that you’re trying to minimize the implications of Walker’s winning this election for Obama’s chances in November. Either way – pull the other one, it has bells on.

  • Ron Dahlke

    The problem is not unions. Had it not been for unions a long time before most of you were born, the wages and benefits you enjoy today, would like the slave labor wages, with few benefits that existed before unions came along.

    Scott Walker is a Republican fascist (corporate power over government through paid stooges like Walker, to do the bidding of the corporations who pay to keep his rich-serving body and stoney heart in office.

    When the working poor and their families and children have little money for their hard work, because too much of it ends in the hands of those who do little for all the wealth they accumulate. The working poor reduce buying in their local private sector
    economies, causing hundreds of thousands to lose their jobs and pride.

    The above is essentially found in the Judeo-Christian Bible.

  • william


    If union dues were buying union members overly lavish pay and benefits, then why would so many stop paying when given the chance?

    Wouldn’t that be against their interests?

  • Kris

    [email protected]: Well then, how fortunate that the people of Wisconsin are in the process of giving the boot to that “fascist stooge” Walker, he of the “rich-serving body and stoney heart”!

    “The above is essentially found in the Judeo-Christian Bible.”

    I’m having some trouble finding it. But then again, I suspect you have some trouble finding the tenth commandment.

  • Goldwaterite

    “The progressive left pulled out all the stops…”
    Add to your list the fact that “Rev” Jesse Jackson has equated Scott Walker with George C. Wallace. True desperation.

  • rigdum_funidos

    i find a higher percentage of intelligent comments here than elsewhere. but there are always exceptions, like Mr. Dahlke who cannot resist using the word fascist. If he had more space he would be taking us to task for what we did to the Indians. The real fascists [by which I mean people who wanted total control of their people and who worked well with crony capitalism, like Mussolini and Hitler], are now mostly on the left and not the right. and those fighting for individual liberty and freedom from government are mostly on the right. Those who think our $16 trillion deficit is not relevant to our future, or deny that we must make severe cuts to many programs, [these are generally called Democrats] are ruining the country just as Wisconsin was being ruined before being saved by Walker et. al.

  • Mike C.

    Does the author really believe that readers of the NY Times read nothing else?

  • Renfield

    @Ron Dahlke

    The free market and personal liberty, not unions, generated middle-class prosperity in the United States. Private-sector unions played a significant role at one time—long ago—before so many were taken over by mobsters, and before they protected every loafer and incompetent in their ranks.

    Private-sector unions had a golden goose and killed it.

    Public-sector unions should NEVER have come into being.

    I have several bibles, but haven’t been able to locate “the above” in your post.

    And if Republicans are really stony-hearted fascists, then, OK, Democrats are really traitorous Communists. Now what?

  • thibaud

    @36 – nice try, but the latest RCP averages for Wisconsin are solidly in Obama’s favor: Marquette’s latest shows Obama up by 8 points, WPR shows him up by 6 points. Both of these polls are of likely voters, btw, and both show a sharp departure from a month ago – in Obama’s favor.

    Split ticket voting has a long history in the US. Voters can distinguish between local issues, like giveaways to their city or state’s public sector unions, and national ones, like the idiocy of the shut-down-the-gum’mint Tea Party berserkers.

    The Tea Party is significantly more unpopular in Wisconsin than either public or private unions. To the extent that the national GOP is under the sway of the latter, it makes perfect sense to split one’s vote and deliver a slap in the face to both overzealous public sector unions AND Tea Party wackos.

  • bossfan

    I’m most surprised that over half of the public union employees affected by this issue have left the union in only 1 year. If they supported the union, wouldn’t they at least stick around for awhile? Are the public employee unions that incompetent they can’t earn their members money? Why haven’t union supporters discussed this aspect?

  • suibne

    of course, the hilarity of this kind of blatant apparatchik reporting can be lost on no one. but the NYT’s, the paper, cannot fix itself. It is done. it is living on the fumes of a bygone elitist liberalism that flourished when new york still had the aura of the biggest apple in the universe. the times, both cause and effect of a different, less credible world, is the apple annie on the corner now. slim got the apple but i’m afraid annie is still down in the dirt and will stay there until the bones are the only thing left.

  • Lanny Ziering

    Talk about denial: the main story on the front page of the NY Times website begins with the following line: “Labor unions, which had pushed to recall Gov. Scott Walker in the wake of his efforts to curtail collective bargaining rights for state workers, appear to have succeeded in bolstering turnout among union households.”

    At the very same time major media outlets are reporting that Walker will win the election.

  • indipete

    Public sector “unions” achieve their agenda not through collective bargaining, but through political actions. That makes them PACs.

  • irish19

    Both CNN and the JournalSentinel (Milwaukee) have called it for Walker. He’s currently winning by roughly 3:2 as are the other Republicans. The NYT is saying he “narrowly” won. ‘Nuff said.

  • sub

    The NYT is a pathetic partisan rag, populated by aging hippies and brainwashed journalism school progressives. The opinion of its editors is lampooned behind closed doors, ridiculed, reviled. As it should be…..

    Ron Dahlke – I’ve not read anything more disconnected from reality in a while. Thanks for the laugh. Maybe you should look up what the word “facist” means before you toss it around so stupidly

  • CebVA

    As the effects of liberal/statist policies march across nations and states, the people realize that philosophy does not work. Bankrupt nations, states and cities can no longer pay their bills and the benefits must stop. No amount of taxation can save Greece or California or the US. It is time to regroup and this election shows the electorate understands.

  • Nixonfan

    Walker took the big risk and won. Are there any other GOP governors out there with the guts to follow him?

  • BlackSaint

    Unions picking the Politician they want to bargain with for Salary and Benefits paid by the Tax payer,s is the very definition of corruption!

    It is so corrupt one can smell the stink and see the corruption and pus oozing out of the slimy skin of the Union thugs and Politicians from a mile away.

    It shows how low we as a people and this Nation has sunk that anyone could even argue the point!

  • Kala

    Walker was elected as “doctrinaire right” he operated as “doctrinaire right” and won the recall with the support of the “doctrinaire right”.

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