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.

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

2 Responses to Protesting Governor Scott Walker May Backfire on Liberals

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    Dear Sturm Von Zorn,

    1. I say teachers there may have broken the law. I’ve heard this reported in national news. But I don’t know whether laws governing the behavior of public servants who teach in public schools prohibit them from incentivizing students to join them in protesting, take days off to protest (leaving their classes unattended), and obtain specious notes from doctors who are on hand as political sympathizers. If these kinds of actions are not against the laws governing public school teachers, then they probably should be.

    2. What the Dems did by leaving the state is not, properly speaking, a filibuster—though it had the same effect as a filibuster. If I’m not mistaken, they didn’t have enough votes for a filibuster, which is why they fled the state. (The remark about botox is ad hominem and betrays a willingness to rant about irrelevant and unsubstantiated allegations. This is not the sort of debate that is welcomed at this blog.)

    3. By “antics” I mean the whole zany parade of activities by the protesters.

    4. I haven’t said that Walker is a bold explorer of new paths. It’s true that other state leaders around the country have achieved similar successes. But Walker’s activities have been more public on the national scene, and this is the point I was making in the original post. You say that others have made similar changes “without the same uproar.” My point, exactly.

    Why do you say it’s clear that I support your governor? I’m a Californian, not a Wisconsinite. I am intrigued by what has transpired there, and I’m embarrassed for your state that some of your state senators acted with such immaturity. I’m also interested in the national debate sparked by the whole affair. My post is about how the protest movement may backfire. This doesn’t entail that I agree with Walker’s policies. Of course, I haven’t expressed disagreement, either. Maybe that’s why you’ve concluded that I’m “on his side.”

    Thanks for commenting about this. It’s allowed me to clarify the aim of my post.



  2. In response to your bullet points of bad play by liberals:

    1. What did the teachers do that was illegal?

    2. Tell me why when the 14 Dems leave state to FILIBUSTER (something the conservatards do all the time) they are considered AWOL? Republicans merely say filibuster and go home to their botox injecting wives. The Dems actually worked at their filibuster in a unique fashion. Questionably advisable? Perhaps. AWOL? Not a chance.

    3. By “antics” I assume you mean the 2+ million dollars damage to the capitol building (didn’t happen), destruction of the lawn (already reseeded beautifully), desecration of the law enforcement memorial (again didn’t happen). What other “antics” have I missed?

    4. Walker is no bold explorer of new paths. Other states had already implemented some changes without the same uproar. He will most likely succeed in his vendetta against women’s rights, the environment, education, and yes, the unions. The unions are but a fraction of Governor Goofy’s attack on all that is decent in this state.

    Since you clearly support him, congratulations. Take this state where you will. You win. To the victor go the spoiled state. Of course I’m sure you, like EVERYONE else I’ve spoken with on Goofy’s side, cannot give me a clear picture of WHY you support him. Pathetic.


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