In a gubernatorial recall, winning or losing matters greatly | FREE WHITEWATER

In a gubernatorial recall, winning or losing matters greatly

Consider the following assessment, from the online Governors Journal and repeated in an editorial from the nearby Janesville Gazette (1.4.12):

Note however, how Governors Journal concluded its story: ‘Even if Walker is removed from office, he still wins the debate. Any setback will be temporary. Pension reforms are a reality.’

Consider that if you’re still contemplating whether to sign a petition.

Well, I have considered that statement, and it’s unpersuasive. (I will leave aside the motivations and nature of Governors Journal, and address only the statement.)

It matters enormously whether Walker wins or loses. There are very few Republicans who think it doesn’t matter, as though victory could be had as well (and more cheaply) with a Walker defeat.

Winning or losing will determine the course of the debate.

If Walker wins, his influence in the GOP will grow; if he loses, he’ll be pushed aside by other national GOP politicians who’ve won their elections (without having been through a recall attempt). Other Republicans won’t defer to Walker, or mimic his approach, if loses in the recall. They’ll push their own ideas, in their own names, to the fore.

It’s also false to think that this recall is simply about pension reform. Like Walker or not, he’s not known principally (and never will be) as a pension reformer — he’s known as someone who took on public employee unions through a reduction in their collective bargaining rights. (Walker denies that they’re collective bargaining rights at all.)

Walker’s program is far greater – whatever one thinks of it — than making public employees pay more toward their pensions. He could have done that through other means, but he chose a particular and far-reaching method. Not all reform programs are identical, or even equally sound.

Walker may win or he may lose, but it makes a difference. Pensions may be reformed, but how that’s done makes a difference.

It’s disingenuous to assert otherwise.

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