The plan to eliminate most collective bargaining for public employees may be the issue that sparked this year's recall campaigns against six Republican state senators, but neither side is talking much about that issue now as the elections approach.So the shocking outrages the touched of the protests don't move the voters, and the recall elections are like normal elections, asking voters whether they'd like their next helping of legislation to be conservative or liberal. In which case, let's relive what was, I think, the most trenchant commentary about the recall elections: "Isn't that a crime?"
Instead, Democrats are telling voters Republicans have gone the wrong way with the state budget by cutting schools by nearly $800 million and providing tax breaks to businesses and investors. Republicans are touting their ability to honestly balance the state budget and keep a lid on taxes.
"Both parties have decided that (collective bargaining) doesn't have any traction," said Michael Kraft, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
ADDED: David Blaska says:
The national Weekly Standard finds that only Milwaukee and Kenosha laid off teachers because they rushed to do contracts before the Walker collective bargaining reforms became law....Blaska links to Deke Rivers at Caffeinated Politics, who initially supported recalling Republicans and now says:
Maybe that is why Democrats in the nine recall districts aren't talking about collective bargaining....
It's just not a winning issue for them. Keep in mind that only 14 percent of Wisconsin's workforce is unionized. The 7.6 percent who are unemployed are even less sympathetic to a public employee with enviable job security paying a little something for a pension that enables them to retire in their 50s.
I can be as partisan as anyone, but I also like the game of politics to be played with some reasonableness. Had I known that not a word would seemingly appear about the collective bargaining issue in the Democratic campaigns this summer I never would have supported a recall effort.Exactly. Recall elections should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances.
All of the concerns that Democrats seem intent on talking about these past weeks are ones that should have been left for the 2012 elections....
Blaska also points to Arnold Shober, professor of political science at Appleton's Lawrence University:
"For the Republicans, they do not want to remind people that public school teachers are unhappy, because most people have (a) good feeling about teachers," Shober explained in an email exchange. "For the Democrats, they don't want people to be reminded that public employees can retire in their 50s and enjoy a second lifetime supported in part by taxes. Thus, collective bargaining is not really a winning issue for either party."If they don't want to talk about it, that means there shouldn't have been a recall campaign in the first place. We're back to ordinary party politics and... isn't that a crime?