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home : opinions : good, bad, ugly February 5, 2016

5/11/2012 6:46:00 AM
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly for May 11

The good

As distasteful to us as the entire recall process is and has been, it was nonetheless encouraging to see the strong, perhaps record-breaking, turnout at the polls this week.

As of this writing, the state Government Accountability Board estimates that about 30 percent of the eligible electorate, give or take, voted in the recall primary. That's a hearty number for any primary.

But it should serve as especially good news for Gov. Scott Walker. With more than 626,000 votes, Mr. Walker tallied almost as many ballots as his four Democratic competitors combined. While that might look like a dogfight looming - and it will be - it's nonetheless impressive given that he had only token opposition. While Democrats had every reason to turn out Tuesday, Republicans did not, and some who did likely crossed over.

That bodes well for Mr. Walker. Still, his camp can take nothing for granted. The turnout has to arise again, and this time those who stayed home have to come out, or it could be right back to high taxes and steep deficits.

The bad

Speaking of the Democratic winner, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett has challenged Mr. Walker to a series of four debates, all on the issue of jobs.

Far be it for us to offer Mr. Barrett campaign advice, but that might be a bad idea. Under Mr. Barrett's leadership, Milwaukee's unemployment has risen by 28 percent, while Milwaukee area private-sector job losses are at the center of the state's job woes, acting like an albatross around the rest of the state's neck.

Anyway, whatever happened to collective bargaining, the very reason for the recall? Why wouldn't Mr. Barrett want to spend at least one debate talking about that?

Oh yeah, we forgot. Because curbing excessive and luxurious collective bargaining privileges actually worked, saving more than $1 billion so far and allowing the state to eradicate the Democrats' $3.6-billion structural deficit.

When you look at it that way, no wonder Mr. Barrett wants to talk about anything else, even if it's his own dismal record as mayor.

The ugly

Tuesday night was an ugly defeat for former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, though she tried to put a pretty face on her third statewide loss.

So just how could she lose so badly when powerhouse unions pumped $4 million into her campaign and provided ground troops and phone banks to boot?

According to Ms. Falk, she lost because she had less name recognition than Tom Barrett, somehow forgetting she ran those two previous statewide races and, in fact, only lost by a sliver to attorney general J.B. Van Hollen in 2006.

That argument loses all credibility when you consider that Mr. Barrett crushed her in Dane County, where she served as the elected executive for 14 years.

Could it be that the reverse was true, that voters knew Ms. Falk all too well, as the extraordinarily extreme liberal who had sold her political soul to public-sector unions?

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