Following Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reforming his state’s collective bargaining laws and breaking the stranglehold unions held on taxpayers (saving them $476 million so far), union bosses across the country laid siege on the dairy state’s capitol and declared war on Walker and his fellow Republicans.
In 2011, union bosses and other outside groups spent tens of millions of dollars in a failed attempt to recall six Republican state senators and are spending millions more now trying to recall Scott Walker.
The millions union bosses are now spending—paid for by union members throughout the country—has Democrats getting nervous that the money spent might strain union coffers too much prior to the November elections.
Unions have made ousting Walker a top priority and are poised to spend heavily in Wisconsin. But Democratic strategists and some senior political experts within the labor movement believe the initiative should have been launched before the November presidential election.
Labor officials are also looking at investing resources in Indiana, a red-leaning state, to battle controversial right-to-work legislation backed by Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).
But the Wisconsin fight will consume far more resources. This is a stomach-churning prospect for Democrats and their allies because the labor expenditures could come just months before the general election, when money will be needed for more important battlegrounds such as Ohio and Florida.
As union bosses continue to pour money into Wisconsin, union members nationwide may begin to wonder if, in fact that is money well spent—especially since, Scott Walker’s poll numbers are still ahead of his (potential) Democratic rivals.
According to a new Marquette Law School poll the governor leads Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a likely candidate, 50 percent to 44 percent. He leads former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, the only declared Democratic candidate, 49 percent to 42 percent margin, former Rep. David Obey 49 percent to 43 percent and state Sen. Tim Cullen 50 percent to 40 percent.
After a year of union and left-wing attacks, most Wisconsinites know the issues well by now. As a result, as union bosses dump more and more money that would otherwise be earmarked for other Democrat races, it is not likely to affect Walker’s poll numbers too dramatically, which may prove to be a win-win for Republicans around the country and in Wisconsin.
“Socialism has no place in the hearts of those who would secure the fight for freedom and preserve democracy.” Samuel Gompers, American Federation of Labor, 1918