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There are those who will tell you that Governor Walker’s win in yesterday’s Wisconsin recall election guarantees that Mitt Romney will take the state in November. Indeed some say that it a foreshadowing of Romney winning the presidency. Others will tell you that last night’s results have nothing to do with the November results. Both positions are incorrect. Last night’s win was a significant loss of face for the Democratic Party, public employee labor unions and for the President, but it wasn’t anything close to a “death blow” to their efforts–there is plenty of time until the election in November for Wisconsin to be forgotten. In the end Walker won because even in this liberal state of Wisconsin, voters understood that his conservative policies were working.

Last night Walker’s margin of victory was just under 7% wider than the 5% he won by just a year and a half ago and larger than the razor-thin margin the election polls were predicting at the beginning of the evening. According to Fox, they would have projected the winner earlier, but the exit polls were more favorable to the challenger, Mayor Barrett than the actual vote. To be honest I don’t yet know if that calls into question the remaining exit poll data.

Clearly there are things that Republicans can be happy about from last night’s win.

  • Organization-from the very beginning of this recall effort, Governor Walker invested time and money to build an incredible organization for a “get out the vote effort.”  I am sure the keys to that organization have been handed over to Governor Romney for the November effort in Wisconsin.
  • GOP their best shot and is still standing– Wisconsin was like a proxy war, the national and local GOP  had to withstand the best that the national and local Democrats and the barrage of the national unions.  The GOP won, making them more confidant when they face the same three-headed monster (plus more) in November on a national basis. This does not guarantee a win, but confidence that one has done it before is a good thing.
  • The Tea Party- Even before the recall vote was announced, one of the National Tea Party groups, the Tea Party Express was out there canvassing, raising money and sending me three emails a day.  They were a huge part of the GOP victory last night (and a huge part of my in box).  This should be a warning to establishment Republicans, Democratic Party talking heads, and pseudo conservatives such as David Frum and Jennifer Rubin.  The Tea Party movement is not dead! They won’t win everything (no movement ever does) but the citizens of the United States are still upset about big government spending and high taxes. For the pseudo-Conservatives who like to bash the Tea Party,  its time to get over it or you will be reduced to existing in the same silly box as truthers and birthers.
  • Presidential loss of face- Obama didn’t want to risk losing political capital by campaigning hard in Wisconsin, probably a wise decision.  But taking the other extreme, treating the state as if it had cooties probably hurt him and brought back memories of how he left his Democratic colleagues for dead during the Health Care debate, a big part of so many in his party losing their seats in 2010.  Last week the president was in Minnesota, which neighbors Wisconsin. On his way back to his next campaign stop in Illinois which also boarders Wisconsin,  he could have directed Air Force One to land in Wisconsin, made a two minute speech at the airport and gone home. That kind of campaign stop is standard in a campaign season. Yet he flew around the state. He did however tweet his support of the Democratic challenger the night before the recall vote.  More than one Wisconsin Democrat voiced their disappointment in the POTUS during last night’s coverage.
  • The Unions- this was a significant election for the public unions last night, and they lost in so many ways. Last night their loss in the policy fight with Walker two years ago was sealed in stone (the law that curbed collective bargaining rights of public employees). Even worse ever since the new law public employee union membership in Wisconsin as been tanking (because the state no longer had to collect the union fees directly from worker’s pay checks). The unions expended much time, money and “good will” in their attempt to topple Walker.  They ain’t dead yet.  Knowing that how hard they fought and still lost, they will fight and spend even harder come November. On the other hand the Walker win probably means that more states will take on their public employee unions as the battle to stave off insolvency. 
  • Mayor Barrett– Not only lost another governor’s race but got smacked in the face by a supporter who thought he conceded too early. (H/T Jim Geraghty)

    Winning is better than losing- Last night’s victory by Governor Walker was a victory for small government, and the reining in of the out of control public employee unions. It certainly makes it more possible for Romney to take that state in November, but right now that victory is still a long shot as Wisconsin remains a liberal state. It is a victory that could be built upon nation wide both in terms of defeating Obama in November and states trying to reign in over spending and union entitlements. The real bottom line is that Walker won because his polices were working. Unemployment in state was down and companies are moving into this now business friendly environment.

    This is the kind of example that must be shown over and over till election day, because in the end..its still “the economy stupid!”

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