Donald Lambro

It was one giant step for a man, and one giant leap toward fiscal sanity.

But the failed labor union recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was only a beginning. America needs a bunch more Scott Walkers, a whole lot more thoughtful, discerning voters – and we need California voters, in particular, to wake-up.

So California, meet Wisconsin. It’s the state where voters chose a Governor who, despite claims to the contrary, is neither “destroying workers’ rights” nor “killing democracy.” Governor Scott Walker has brought government labor costs in-line with private sector labor costs, and in so doing is saving the state from fiscal collapse. Wisconsin chose wisely – and California, so can you.

I’m emphasizing “the voters” here because statesmen and women don’t operate in a vacuum. We, the people can require and encourage elected leaders to do the right thing, or we can encourage our leaders to be reckless and self-serving. In November of 2010 Californians rejected a candidate for Governor who pledged to do much of what Scott Walker has done, and instead elected a Governor who is bought and paid for by labor unions.

The fact that California Governor Jerry Brown has recently succumbed to telling the media “no, we’re not like Greece” should be a serious warning sign. Yet California’s plight could likely be different, had voters there been more like voters in Wisconsin.

It was the fall of 2010, and Democrat Jerry Brown was running against Meg Whitman, a mega-successful business executive and Republican gubernatorial nominee. Whitman had correctly and honestly identified a main source of California’s revenue hemorrhage – the ever-expanding benefits and retirement pensions of government employees – and had campaigned on a promise to “reign-in” such spending.

Brown, on the other hand, pledged to “get honest” with Californians about the state budget fiasco, but also to support “working Californians” (which is code talk for “unionized government workers”), and largely dodged the issue that Ms. Whitman had courageously raised. As Meg’s message began to get traction, the government employee’s unions offered-up all the more cash to Brown’s campaign - and Brown gladly accepted.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.