Are We Really Doing This, Wisconsin?

Kendall Sontag
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Three months and nearly two million signatures later, Governor Scott Walker is finally recalled along with Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch and four Republican senators.  But is it really worth it?  This process promises to further the hostilities in an already divided state, and of course, that’s not to mention the estimated $9 million or more cost according to the Government Accountability Board (GAB).  And for what reason?  Because you lost an election?

Although, it's probably because 94% of company executives believe that Wisconsin is “on the right track,” and 86% rated the business climate as “very” or “somewhat” pro-business compared to 9% in 2010 according to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.   Or perhaps because in Governor Walker’s first year, thousands of jobs were created compared to the previous governor’s last three, which together lost Wisconsin 150,000 jobs.  However, the best reason of all to recall the Governor would be because the CEO Survey in Executive magazine ranked Wisconsin as the 24th best state to do business compared to its previous ranking of 41st.  Makes sense, right?

Now, sarcasm aside, many people are upset about the restriction of collective bargaining rights for public sector employees, but why are we so obsessed about this?  The national unemployment rate is about 9% and millions of Americans are out of a job, yet we’re complaining about public employees no longer being able to demand more taxpayer dollars and having to contribute more to their insurance and benefits.  It's the economy stupid! (Thank you, Clinton.)

And now I'm supposed to believe that public collective bargaining supposedly justifies the divisive actions which continue to plague the state?  Then there’s that wonderful cost of $9 million for the recall of the Governor again, in addition to the cost of the four GOP senators who may be recalled and the $2.1 million for the recalls this summer.  That’s over $11 million that must be cut from the state and local budgets.  I thought saving money was a bipartisan issue?  There were also over 50,000 signatures challenged by the four Wisconsin senators meaning that at least a portion of the signatories have made a mockery of our democracy.  And speaking of making a mockery of democracy, why were only two of the senators who ran away for three weeks, who added to this problem, recalled?  Doesn’t anybody care that eleven people ran out on their jobs?

There’s no way this can be worth it.  Just because some people want to be in power, doesn’t mean that they can act like spoiled children that didn’t get their way for once.  Bill Clinton himself disagreed with recall elections as noted when he was arguing against the recall of former California Governor Gray Davis:

[Recalling the governor] will create a circumstance where nobody ever makes a hard decision again … I don’t want you to become a laughingstock, a carnival or the beginning of a circus in America where we just throw people out whenever they make a tough decision … [A recall] would spread instability and uncertainty among your people and across the country.

Recalls aren't something to be taken lightly or to be a partisan issue.  It's something that should be thought out and the reasons should be clearly identifiable and compelling.  If Scott Walker loses the recall, it could open up a Pandora's Box of recalls to try to reverse lost elections.

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