So the unions have turned in one million signatures in an effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators. Evidence from Ohio would suggest that at least one-quarter of those are invalid.
It is best to assume that a recall election will go forward. If 46 percent of the signatures gathered turned out to be invalid, it would be one of the biggest political stories of the last 10 years, and would incite a revolution in ballot initiative elections across the country. One of the most contentious political and legal battles in Wisconsin is over its voter ID law. Imagine the uproar if you had to identify yourself to sign a recall petition. But up to 450.000 of those signatures could be invalid and no one will care.
I wouldn’t attempt to predict how this will all turn out, but I do believe that both sides benefit when voters are asked to decide on the true issue, rather than the focus-group, opinion-poll-tested pseudo-issue. Which do you prefer: Gov. Walker’s policies or the unions’? If the unions are chosen, they deserve to win and reap the rewards of victory. After all, union money paid to gather those signatures, union manpower will run the campaigns, and the unions are even picking the opposing candidates.
However, it appears the unions aren’t all that confident in that approach. Time reports:
If the signature-gathering effort is any indication, Wisconsin Democrats want to make the recall debate about Walker’s cuts to the social safety net, not the collective bargaining restrictions that launched mass union protests and a spate of senate recall votes last year. Shiver’s hard-luck story was exactly the kind of cautionary tale Shilts was telling to residents last Thursday. Shilts is a member of a teachers union, but his pitches didn’t stray into labor politics.
If Gov. Walker and his colleagues are to survive, they better do more than stray into labor politics. They have to march through it in force.