Saturday, February 19, 2011

Race for the White House 2012

It has been another week without much in the way of big news related to the upcoming Presidential campaign, as GOP hopefuls continue to carefully test the waters.

That leaves just a little bit of an opportunity to discuss the most significant national political developments of the past few days. While street protests in Cairo are now mostly a thing of the past, we have been seeing all sorts of demonstrations going down in Madison, Wisconsin.

Let me state my opinion clearly: Governor Scott Walker is right, the unions are wrong, and the Wisconsin Democrat State Senators are cowards. The political maneuvering of the "Cheesehead Surrender Monkeys" will only backfire on them, and this is a political and state budget battle they are unlikely to win. Instead, it is just making the newly elected Republican Governor of the state look like a national hero to many, and could perhaps even catapult him into strong contention for a spot on next year's national ticket.

We have seen a stunt like this pulled before in recent years, when Texas legislative Democrats ran from their duties and holed themselves up in an Oklahoma Holiday Inn, rather than cast a vote. Now, all of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats have "escaped to Illinois", as they have fled their responsibilities, and alluded arrest, in order to not be compelled to be present so that a quorum would be had, and a budget bill could be voted on, that the new Republican majority in Wisconsin would pass, to deal with their state's difficult economic condition. Public employee unions are very much opposed to this bill, as it would take away much of their power, and protesters, many of whom are from out of state, have divulged on Madison, angrily demonstrating against the bill. Public schools are being forced to shut down, as teachers also run away from their job responsibilities to join the protests. The Democrat National Committee, run obviously as an arm of the Obama White House, has offered financial and organizational support to these protests, in somewhat of an unprecedented move for a federal entity getting involved in a state manner.

A few weeks back, after the horrible incident in Tucson, we heard so much from the President and media figures about "civility" and "respect." Apparently, that message has not gotten down to the protesters in Madison, as Gov. Walker is depicted on many signs as Hitler or in crossfire sites. Hopefully, as these protests continue into next week, neither union thugs nor anyone else, including conservative counter-protesters will engage in violence.

As a longtime Republican, I have seen my party be on the short end of many votes, both in the U.S. Congress, and the Illinois General Assembly. It is often very frustrating to know you are going to lose on an issue you feel is important, and I can certainly understand a party wanting to stay united on an issue, even if it is a lost cause. However, I have never seen Republican federal or state legislators, skip out on taking a vote and literally run away and be on the lam, rather than voting their conscience, all while drawing a taxpayer salary of course. We all need to realize that elections have consequences and that the people of Wisconsin voted for so many Republicans in 2010 for a reason. The vote should be held, and if the Democrats lose, as expected, they have every right to try to make their position a rallying cry to win future elections.

The actions of Wisconsin's Senate Democrats are making them a bit of a national laughingstock. They say they are prepared to stay out of Wisconsin for weeks if necessary, but I have a feeling that they will eventually realize they have no endgame and will return with their tails tucked between their legs. Since they are probably Green Bay Packers fans, I will take some delight in that. It's all a shame for their families though, who are looking at the prospect of seeing their home life upturned because of some pointless and desperate political stunt.

Kudos though to Governor Walker and the Badger State's Republicans who are standing on principle and doing what they ran on and were elected to do. There is so much wrong with the inflated power of public employee unions, both federally and in states. They hurt our economy and make the government function more poorly than it should. All Americans support so called "working people", but the unions seem out for themselves and their own power, above all else. With people in the private sector suffering so much these days, it is only fair to ask public service employees to sacrifice a small bit as well.

Democrats fear that what is being proposed in Wisconsin will soon spread to other states and that public employee unions could be dealt a very harsh blow. Those unions represent the core of the financial and political support of Democrats nationwide, and if they are hurt, it could have a very significant political effect on the 2012 Presidential election and many others across the country.