04.11.2011 0

Wisconsin’s Dewey Defeats Truman Moment

Dewey Defeats Truman

By Rick Manning – How is it possible to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat simultaneously?

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg declared herself the victor in her big labor funded race to change the balance of power in the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Thursday.

MoveOn.org breathlessly sent the victory e-mail proclaiming that Big Labor and even bigger government had been saved by a scant 200+ votes.

Then something strange happened.  They finished counting the votes and Kloppenberg came up a mere 7,000+ votes short of victory.


Kloppenburg’s classic Dewey Defeats Truman moment is all the more stunning due to the millions of dollars spent by organized labor to flip the Court in response to Governor Scott Walker and legislative Republicans reform of public employee collective bargaining law.

We have all been inundated through the news media with the public employee capitol building sit-ins.

We have seen the vows by the left that they were going to make their opponents pay a hefty political price.

Yet, in this low-profile election with all the marbles on the table, Big Labor rolled snake eyes.

Losing a vote in the legislature is one thing, it hurts but ultimately is survivable.  Not being able to back up your political threats is political death.

Is it possible that all of those tens of thousands angry public employees gathering at the state capitol really were more interested in taking a few days off on a field trip, rather than actually winning?


What is more probable is that contrary to the polling, there are more people in Wisconsin who care deeply about keeping the size and scope of government under control, than there are people who want to maintain high pay, low pressure jobs for bureaucrats while bankrupting their state.

Nationally, the damage to the left is incalculable.  After AFSCME (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees) spent more money than anyone else in 2010 in a losing effort to keep the world safe for public employees, the political perception in DC was that Wisconsin was a game changer.

The Wisconsin wake-up call was going to energize the liberal coalitions and send the tea party movement reeling.

But as they say, Elections Happen.

Now, every Republican and even some Democrat Governors and state legislators may be emboldened to pursue what is in their state’s financial interest – cut the size and scope of government including ending the stranglehold public employee unions have held on government purse strings.

In Washington, DC, House Speaker John Boehner must feel emboldened in his attempt to force fiscal sanity on the government, while at the same time President Obama and Harry Reid must be scratching their heads wondering what happened.

How did the great labor coalition fall so miserably short in a state that has a long liberal tradition like Wisconsin?

How do Obama and Reid hold together the Senate Democrats on big spending issues when 22 Senate Democrats face the voters in a short 18 months knowing that they will have to wear their public employee union contributions like a scarlet letter?

How do they withstand House Republican budget proposals, like the one from Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, which actually returns our federal government’s budget to balance, when they don’t have any plan and their main political allies have proven to be worse than paper tigers?

A nightmare scenario for the left, but absolutely great news for the tea party who are fighting to restore America’s greatness.

Today we are all Badgers.  On Wisconsin!

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2023 Americans for Limited Government