Republicans in Wisconsin are taking a lot of comfort from the fact that they still have a majority (one seat) in their state Senate, following yesterday’s recall elections against six Republican senators who voted earlier this year for Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to strip most collective bargaining rights from teachers and other public workers.
Republicans, who held on to four of the seats but lost two other recall races to Democratic challengers, are spinning the results as a big win for Walker and his conservative, antiworker, antipublic education agenda. But the truth of the matter is that Walker’s power grab has cost his party two Senate seats and continues to reenergize teachers, workers and others who recognize the value of public schools and the crucial role that teachers play in them.
Walker and his supporters contended they were trying to solve their state’s budgetary problems, but in reality they were pursuing an ideological agenda to attack public education and public service. In addition to restricting teacher bargaining rights and other pocketbook issues, Walker presided over major cuts in public education funding, much as Gov. Rick Perry did in Texas.
Walker and Perry are two peas in an ideological pod. Later this year, Democrats in Wisconsin will try to recall Walker. Unlike Wisconsin, though, Texas voters don’t have the ability to recall elected state officials, even those distracted by presidential ambitions.
One Democratic state senator in Wisconsin survived a recall election last month, prompted by Republican opposition to the Democrats’ decision to flee the state to try to stop Walker’s legislation. Two other Democratic senators face recall elections next week.
-From Education Week