Robert Knight

All sides before the elections acknowledged that the stakes were enormous. The Chicago Tribune called the overall recall campaign “the largest unified effort to kick incumbents out of office in history. More than $31 million was estimated to have been spent on the nine recall elections, rivaling the $37 million spent on last year's governor's race.”

Despite a blizzard of misinformation from the mainstream press, which included breathless coverage of the unions’ noisy occupation in February and March of the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin voters were not fooled.

Targeted Republicans were helped by the fact that Gov. Walker’s reforms appear to be working, with local school districts able to renegotiate contracts and forestall layoffs. The irony is that Walker’s efforts, which teachers union members skipped school to oppose while fellow protesters hanged him in effigy and portrayed him as Hitler, are saving teachers’ jobs.

Although the recall elections were ostensibly over local reforms, the results might also reflect Americans’ rejection of President Obama’s far-left vision and the forces that helped bring him to power.

As noted by Rick Badger, executive director of the Wisconsin affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a key player in the recall effort, “These elections are little proxies for what is going to happen for the rest of the country.” If so, the Left is in big trouble, and Obama’s billion-dollar war chest won’t be enough to stop the conservative tide in 2012.

Another lesson from Wisconsin is that the left’s promotion of “people power” since the 1960s is now biting them, with the rise of the Tea Party and a growing public thirst for holding politicians accountable. The left really only loves the idea of “power to the people” when it’s wielded by useful idiot college students or union mobs.

As Obama nation careens into credit downgrade and piles up trillions in debt, the left’s answer is, incredibly, more spending, plus a great deal of name calling. But the “get the rich” battle cry is not resounding the way it did in 2008. And blaming the Tea Party for our fiscal mess is like blaming Jenny Craig for the nation’s obesity epidemic.

The redistributionist rhetoric that is so anti-American at its core is failing to tickle ears sharpened by economic reality. At varying rates, folks are discovering that the government, not the private sector, is the truly greedy player, with an insatiable appetite for higher taxes, which the media dutifully describe as “revenue.”

Recall began as a progressive idea around the turn of the 20th Century, when the villains were law makers in the pockets of the “robber barons” who controlled large banks, railroads and oil. Today’s robber baron is the massive government/union axis that sucks money from the private sector and which always –always--wants more. As citizens assert themselves to stop runaway government, liberal politicians may face the brunt of future recalls.

The idea of recall scares some people, mostly elites, who prefer the orderly political process that has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy.

But as the people of the Badger State just showed, accountability can be a beautiful thing.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.