Following his resounding victory in Wisconsin's recall election on Tuesday, Governor Scott Walker appeared on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, where host Chuck Todd wondered if Walker's signature achievement was also his biggest regret: "Looking back, do you have any regret of going at the issue of collective bargaining itself?...any regrets on that front?"
Despite Walker's push for fiscal restraint in the state having been vindicated, Todd fretted over the Governor's success: "Because there are still Republicans who say, you know what? You poked a tiger that maybe looked like you were going for a political kill rather than focusing on the policy."
Todd must have forgotten that reforming collective bargaining rights, which is exclusive to salary negotiations, re-induced economic vigor into the state. Not to mention the fact that unemployment in Wisconsin is down to 6.7%. A rate that is well below the national average.
Walker responded, on the June 6 show, by highlighting what his reforms have achieved and offered some areas where he could have improved in terms of presenting his agenda:
No, I think in our case the product itself was positive – and we've documented more than $1 billion dollar with the savings, in fact, for the first time in twelve years property taxes went down on a median valued home and statewide we went from a $3.6 billion dollar deficit to a $154 million dollar surplus.
I think though what I would do differently is I would spend more time last January and early February talking about what we're doing instead of rushing out to fix it. If I mentioned, for example, last January that before our reforms, most school districts in our state had to spend tens of millions of dollars more than they needed to because they couldn't bid their insurance out because of collective bargaining. I think most people would have said fix it. If I said in the case of the city of Addison because of collective bargaining and overtime abuse, a bus driver there makes over $150,000 dollars, most taxpayers, be they Democrat of Republican, would say fix it.
Pushing Democratic spin that the race was manipulated by outside money, Todd grilled Walker: "Are you comfortable with all the outside money that came in? Most of it benefitted you – yes there outside money on the other side, but in this case you were the prime beneficiary. You comfortable with all that outside money that came in and frankly, overwhelmed TV stations?
Does Chuck forget the Obama outspent Hillary 3:1 in ads in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey in 2008 and lost all three primaries? Meg Whitman spent $150 million of her own money of California's gubernatorial race and lost. Linda McMahon spent $50 million of her own money in her failed Senate bid in Connecticut. Money doesn't always translate into votes.
Walker highlighted the frustrations that Wisconsonites have with the recall law and the "permanent election cycle" in general:
Well, we've got to change the recall process overall I think most people in my state today wake up saying they don't want to go through this again be they Democrat or Republican. I think recalls, for most of us here, we think should be about misconduct in office and not just open ended and that would change the process because the recall law itself and the portion of the constitution that enables recall really allowed for that kind of money to come in.
Remember, you know it's a year and half worth of an assault that started last February against me and it started out with the national special interest on the left and it finished off with every special interest, right or left in America, seemingly involved in the state. I think now that those interests and those people have moved on to Florida, Ohio, and those other states. We got to get focused on fixing things in Wisconsin but I think there is just no doubt in the future people in Wisconsin want to change the law – they want to change the constitution so that recalls if any here are rare, if ever, used in the state of Wisconsin that are used for things like misconduct that would change the money that would change the focus and for most of us that would end these permanent recall elections – permanent election cycles – that I think most are sick of.