Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Walker Wins (Wednesday LINKS)

Scott Walker's victory in last night's Wisconsin recall election will be the subject of opinions columns, radio shows, and talk show panels for at least the next two weeks.  We can also expect that the discussion of Wisconsin as a swing state will last throughout the remainder of the election, regardless of what polls may show.  The true meaning of this election is hidden behind a lot of partisan grand-standing, but that should not diminish its significance.

First, it is open season on public sector unions in red states.  The defeat of the recall was a bat signal to all other Republican governors that it is ok to go hard on the offense.  The unions of Wisconsin attempted a political hit job on an elected representative whose primary offense was executing policies he had promised during his original campaign.  By all appearances, this was a misguided effort and resented by the voters of Wisconsin.  Before anyone takes too great a joy in that, please keep in mind that budgets have been balanced on the backs of public sector employees across the nation, including Howard County.  The pension system is unsustainable, but it is unfortunate to see the villanization of these workers that seems to come with any promotion of Scott Walker's victory.  This was not some noble battle against an evil enemy.  It was a choice of priorities.  Scott Walker made politically motivated decisions that paid off for him in a political fashion.  A significant portion of the Wisconsin middle class will pay that burden.

Second, Citizens United was seen in all its "glory" over the past 12 months.  As the Center for Public Integrity reports via the Huffington Post: "While Barrett has received about 26 percent of his $4 million in campaign donations from outside the Badger State, Walker has drawn nearly two-thirds of his $30.5 million contributions from out of state, according to campaign filings released May 29."  The $63.5 million of outside dollars spent by candidates in this election dwarfs the previous record of $37.4 million.  Nevertheless, many of the exit polls report that voters had made up their mind on who to vote for well before this money had been spent.

Finally, Wisconsin went for Obama in 2008 and many are predicting that the Walker recall election has pushed the state back into swing status.  However, if you look at the exit polls, President Obama still maintains a 51/44 lead over Mitt Romney, with 14% of those voting for Scott Walker also intending to vote for Barack Obama.


The day after Peter Schmuck harkens back to the 2005 Orioles (who broke my heart into a thousand pieces), the 2012 O's put together an 8-6 win in the 10th inning over the Red Sox in Boston.  It was a sloppy sloppy ugly game, but there was a lot of hope here.  Small ball hits with runners in scoring position and well-played bunts. 

The Columbia Flier reports that Greg Fox got his tookus handed to him at last week's final budget session.  I empathize with local reporters when it comes to deciding how to frame Fox v. Council disputes -- is it partisan or is it personal?  In effect, whenever Greg Fox disagrees with the rest of the Council, he has the entire Republican Party behind him, and the Council's actions are automatically viewed as partisan.  When he agrees, Greg Fox is being bi-partisan or seeking "compromise".  It's a pretty nice place to be.  Lindsey's article displays that frustration more than anything else.  Greg has enjoyed a favorable prism that may not be consistent with his past positions.  The 4-1 partisan divide has cloaked the hundreds of intra-party compromises that make up the majority of Council work and refocused attention on whatever Greg may see as appropriate at any given time.  In this case, it was an amendment to the fire tax submitted less than seven days before the final vote, which had not had full vetting before the Fire Chief or the County Finance department.  It was a compromise, but that doesn't necessarily make it good policy.

Lindsey McPherson also writes that CSX has terminated agreements to buy land along Race and Hanover roads "all but eliminating the possibility of the company locating its proposed intermodal facility there."  That'll do, Elkridge.  That'll do.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB goes bricking at the Lakefront.
That's all for today.  Sorry for the no-show yesterday.  I was travelling for work and had an early morning meeting to attend.  Happy to be back in Murra-land.

Have a fantastic Wednesday doing what you love!