Ohio vote will embolden Wisconsin unions

Ohio’s voters spoke Tuesday, and Wisconsin Democrats and union leaders will be dancing with glee.
The lop-sided rejection in Ohio of Gov. John Kasich’s move to contain collective bargaining for public employees will add fuel to the bonfire already burning in Wisconsin, where the unions suffered a devastating defeat earlier this year at the hands of Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature.
If there was any question that the left-of-center coalition will proceed with a recall attempt against Walker, the Ohio result – a three-to-two margin against the new Ohio law – erased it. Their petition drive will kick off this month.
Unions across the country poured some $30 million into the Ohio referendum, and they will pour millions into the Wisconsin recall. For the union leaders, rolling back these state initiatives is more important than the 2012 presidential elections. Union dues, which have been severely reduced in Wisconsin, are the life blood of the union movement.
Their funds will go first to defeating Walker in 2012 and second to keeping President Obama in office. Unions are not all that happy with the political payoffs from the Obama Administration any way.
The pro-union cadre will also be emboldened by the lop-sided win Tuesday in a special election in LaCrosse by Democrat Jill Billings. She beat her Republican opponent 72%-28%, a trouncing by any measure.
That increases the likelihood that the Democrats and unions will go after Republican state senators as well as the governor. They will out there collecting signatures across the state, so why not carry another petition sheet? The Republicans will then respond with recall efforts against Democratic state senators.
All this means 2012 will be another year of political chaos in Wisconsin. It will be all politics all the time.
Policy making, like job creation, will be secondary.

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