THE WEATHER IN ROVE’S REALITY…. In Karl Rove’s latest Wall Street Journal column, the Republican activist turns his attention to the aftermath of the labor fight in Wisconsin. As Rove sees it, Republicans in the Badger State took on “the tough fight first,” and in turn, “drew fire away from similar reform efforts” in other states.
For weeks, the nation’s attention has been drawn to the storm in Madison over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit the power of government unions. Yet 500 miles to the southeast, in Columbus, Ohio, Gov. John Kasich is on the verge of passing a more extensive reform. […]
In attempting to re-energize itself by battling in Madison, the labor movement is making itself appear weaker and more thuggish than before. Scott Walker didn’t expect this fight, but he is winning it. He absorbed body blows in the process, as strong and effective leaders do. The lasting damage has not been done to Mr. Walker but to the labor movement, whose desperation grows as its power, numbers and reputation wane.
There’s quite a bit wrong with this, which is to say, Rove has everything backwards.
The crux of the piece is that Wisconsin’s anti-worker campaign cleared the way for even more expansive efforts in states like Ohio, which aren’t generating as much attention because Walker and the Wisconsin GOP already took all the heat. But that’s not true. As Jon Chait explained today, “Kasich’s proposal is less controversial precisely because, unlike Walker’s, it is not an attempt to destroy the public employee union as an economic and political force.”
Second, I’m not sure how an entity looks “weaker and more thuggish” at the same time, but Rove’s perceptions notwithstanding, the labor movement appears to have been reinvigorated by recent GOP assaults on working families — union activism hasn’t been this energized in a long while. That’s not evidence of looking “weaker”; that’s the opposite.
And third, citing nothing, Rove insists Walker is “winning.” If by “winning,” Rove means, “losing the support of most of his constituents, and finding other GOP governors keeping their distance from him,” then sure, I’ll agree that the rookie governor is “winning.”
Of course, using a saner definition, we see that polls in Wisconsin have shown widespread opposition to Walker’s agenda. If Wisconsin voters had it to do over again, they wish they’d voted for former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who lost to Walker by six points in November.
That sure doesn’t look like a guy who’s “winning.”
Stepping back, though, I often marvel at how easy it must be to be Karl Rove. Imagine being paid extremely well to make stuff up and attack working people and their political allies all day.
It’s nice work if you can get it.