Protesting Governor Scott Walker May Backfire on Liberals


Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest: Scott Wa...

Image by mrbula via Flickr

There’s turmoil in Madison, Wisconsin, as some public school teachers and others protest the efforts of Governor Scott Walker to curtail excessive state spending on state employee benefits. From a distance, this looks like a bad play by liberal Democrats.

  • Teachers who have left their jobs to protest at the state’s capitol may be breaking the law and may pay a price for doing so.
  • 14 Democrat legislators who have left the state in order to prevent a vote on the Governor’s proposals may not last long in their elected positions.
  • The antics of protesters in Wisconsin have brought national attention to the debacle, and these protesters are at risk of a backlash in public sentiment across the nation.
  • With the substantial visibility of Governor Walker’s boldness, and the prospects for his success, other states in fiscal trouble may be emboldened to adopt similar measures.

These probably would not be welcome effects of the protest movement in Wisconsin, among those actually protesting. But there is an even more significant possibility they may not have anticipated.

  • Governor Scott Walker has been propelled to national attention and has become a symbol of broad national support for greater fiscal responsibility and bolder leadership to achieve that end. Protesters have generated greater interest in Governor Walker as an icon of conservative politics. A figure who was unknown outside Wisconsin only a week ago is now a national icon. If he succeeds in Wisconsin, he may be a compelling candidate for national leadership. He may even be scrutinized as possible presidential timber. Imagine that! With every ounce of continued protest, the governor’s critics run a greater risk of showcasing the governor’s achievement if he prevails.

If the governor of Wisconsin prevails, his example may galvanize a cadre of conservative politicians to step up with ever bolder measures. The conservative movement could be on the cusp of new energy, so far unprecedented. That would truly be significant, given the already substantial inroads that have been made by conservatives among the electorate.

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