Thursday, May 31, 2012

Across the St. Croix

The recall election for Scott Walker is coming to a conclusion. I would expect additional polling to come out in the next day or so, but the average from Real Clear Politics shows that Walker is comfortably ahead of his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. And, for what it's worth, the wise guys at Intrade put Walker's reelection chances at better than 90%. As I write, the number is 95.3%, but it fluctuates and if you happen to click the link, chances are it will be different.

It's fairly easy to understand what's happening, although sometimes you need a guide. If you are looking for a professional pundit's view, here's some advice -- don't listen to E. J. Dionne, who made this howler of an assertion:

At this point, preferring Barrett, an affable moderate liberal, to the conservative firebrand Walker is reason enough to vote the incumbent out, but the broader case for recall is important.

Now, your mileage may vary in terms of Barrett's affability and moderation, but to call Walker a firebrand is ridiculous. If anything, he's a bit boring on the stump, as anyone who has ever listened to a Walker speech could tell you. He has passed a number of major changes, but the word "firebrand" connotes someone who is militant and uncompromising in both actions and rhetoric. Scott Walker is no John Brown. If anything, he's kinda beige.

You can read the rest of Dionne's screed at the link, which rehashes the same arguments you've heard a million times concerning Walker's supposed evil ways. Either you'll find it compelling or you won't.

My own view hasn't changed much. Walker has changed the landscape in Wisconsin. There's no question of that. Even before all the drama began, I thought it would be an interesting to compare how Wisconsin and Minnesota compare in 2014, when Walker and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton will theoretically face the voters. Add in what's happening in Illinois these days, and we should have a good basis for comparison.

I'm pretty confident in making at least two predictions:

  • Wisconsin will be sitting in better shape than Minnesota in 2014, primarily because of Scott Walker's reforms; and
  • About the only thing Mark Dayton will have accomplished is ramming through a stadium for a billionaire
I also expect that Illinois will be coming hat in hand to the federal government for a bailout, which will not be forthcoming.


CousinDan 54915 said...

Do you think Wisconsin will be able to buy parts of IL and MN to help solve your budget crises? I've always sort of liked Stillwater.

Mr. D said...

Do you think Wisconsin will be able to buy parts of IL and MN to help solve your budget crises? I've always sort of liked Stillwater.

Start small, go with Taylors Falls. But if I were Wisconsin, I'd definitely consider buying Galena.