It is vital that every one of us help Governor Scott Walker today.
In Madison, Wisconsin, we are witnessing a profound struggle between the right of the people to govern themselves and the power of entrenched, selfish interests to stop reforms and defy the will of the people.
In 2010, Wisconsin Republicans ran on a clear agenda of reforming government to gain control of spending. This agenda included many reforms to state government employee pay.
These reforms were desperately opposed by the Democrats and union bosses during the campaign and a full and vigorous debate on the merits of these reforms took place in the months before the election.
Then came the moment for the people of Wisconsin to make their choice – Election Day. And thanks in part to this bold agenda, the people of Wisconsin chose to switch control of the governorship, assembly and senate to Republicans.
The people of Wisconsin sent a clear message. They elected leaders that promised to change the way government operated in Madison. The will of the people was expressed through the ballot box, exactly how it is supposed to work in a representative democracy.
The showdown in Madison is precisely the crisis between elected self government and organized self interest seeking to impose their will through intimidation which led Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, during the coal miner’s strike of 1984-85, to warn, 'No government or no people can surrender to that kind of mob violence or intimidation, because if we did democracy would be finished.'
Callista and I helped launch the Scott Walker for Governor Campaign with a huge event in Milwaukee. During the following year I campaigned with him and heard him make the case for reforming the government unions.
At an event in October 2010, I remember Scott vividly describing the stakes, saying we can no longer function as a society “where the public employees are the ‘haves’ and the taxpayers who foot the bill are the ‘have-nots.’”
When the people of Wisconsin voted last November they knew exactly who they were electing.
Governor Scott Walker's union reform proposals today are precisely the union reform platform he campaigned on for all of 2010. Furthermore, the Governor's proposals were validated by the Republican state legislative successes.
It is in this context of fairly won elections in which Wisconsinites consciously chose reform over the status quo that the government employee unions and Democratic Party have decided they would side against the people.
Government employee union leaders know they are losing the battle for public opinion and that reform is coming. A Clarus Poll found that 64% of the American people do not think government employees should be represented by unions.Newt includes a link to some facts about Wisconsin and a video of him on Fox News.
A victory for the forces of reform in Wisconsin would provide enormous energy on government reform efforts to balance budgets in Ohio, New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. It will also extend to other issues like meaningful education reform.
However, a defeat for Walker and the reformers would embolden those who seek to preserve the status quo. Yesterday, borrowing a play from their brethren in Wisconsin, Democrats in the Indiana House fled their state to prevent a vote on a measure that would make Indiana a right to work state.
That’s why it is vital for all who voted in favor of reforming government, wherever you live, to support Scott Walker and the Wisconsin reformers.
The most important way you can help is by articulating the case for self government and government reform to your friends and neighbors.