Daniel Doherty

Perhaps in a futile attempt to stay relevant, Al Gore -- the infamous global warming activist and so-called “inventor” of the internet -- recently criticized Governor Scott Walker’s “hard-right-wing” agenda during an appearance on Eliot Spitzer’s show Viewpoint.

You may have heard many cable-news pundits on Tuesday night mulling over the results from Wisconsin’s recall election, but did anyone manage to work in a Billy Joel reference?

That’s what Al Gore is for.

The former veep made a rare foray into the world of punditry by appearing on his Current TV network and its flagship show, “Viewpoint,” hosted by Eliot Spitzer.

Asked if the recall — and the hoopla surrounding it — was a sign of today’s polarizing climate, Gore said, “Well, I hope that we can get away from divisiveness, but as Billy Joel sang, we didn’t start the fire. The actions of Governor Walker in pursuing a very extreme, hard-right-wing divisive agenda really set the stage for this.”

Oh really? First of all, Governor Walker “didn’t start the fire,” either. The 3.6 billion budget deficit he inherited was amassed over years and years of reckless spending and borrowing. Both parties were culpable. And yet, I suspect the reason Scott Walker survived Tuesday night’s recall election is because he’s the only Wisconsin governor in recent memory to take on the tough issues. Shortly after coming into office, for example, Team Walker proposed -- and later implemented -- a budget plan that (a) limited collective bargaining rights, (b) forced government employees to contribute more to their health care and pension plans and (c) eliminated the controversial requirement forcing public sector workers to pay union dues. Democrats, of course, fought Governor Walker’s budget proposal tooth and nail by staging obnoxious protests and occupying the Capitol. Despite their best efforts, however, they failed. And as Guy pointed out yesterday, his reforms have been stunningly successful.

More to the point, though, Al Gore’s misleading claim that Governor Walker pursued a “hard-right-wing divisive agenda” to balance the state’s budget is simply false. In fact, according to a recent Marquette University law school poll, Wisconsinites overwhelming support his reforms.

Majorities supported increases in public employee contributions to health and retirement benefits, with 75 percent in favor and 22 percent opposed.... A smaller majority, 55 percent, said they favored limiting collective bargaining for most public employees, while 41 percent opposed such limits.

Democrats will continue to shoot the messenger – Scott Walker is a heartless tyrant! – but the fact is under his leadership taxpayers have saved millions of dollars and the state unemployment rate is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008. These so-called “draconian” cuts Walker implemented have actually reined in wasteful government spending and created tens of thousands of jobs. Despite what Al Gore and his progressive friends may think, in other words, there’s a reason Wisconsinites re-elected Scott Walker Tuesday night. And it’s not because of his “divisive agenda.”

Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography