The PJ Tatler

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Announces Recall Endorsement

The paper is endorsing Gov. Scott Walker, and denouncing the recall itself.

No governor in recent memory has been so controversial. No governor in America is so polarizing. Everyone has an opinion about Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Here’s ours: We see no reason to remove Walker from office. We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.

Walker’s rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker’s tough stance with the state’s public-employee unions. It’s inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.

A Marquette Law School Poll in January showed that many people in the Badger State agree. In that poll, 72% of Republicans, 44% of independents and 17% of Democrats said recalls should be limited to criminal wrongdoing. Republican state Rep. Robin Vos has proposed tightening the recall mechanism; he should continue to push for that after the election, regardless of who wins.

Walker brought some of this animosity on himself. He chose an in-your-face style from the start. To his credit, the governor now acknowledges that he did a poor job of building support for his policies. “The one thing if I could go back in time is I would try to spend a little bit more time building the case,” he told the Editorial Board earlier this year.

Whether any amount of explaining would have made a difference is questionable considering the breadth of Walker’s vision. We think his limits on collective bargaining went too far. We think Republicans generally took an unfortunate sharp turn to the right on social issues. That led to bills in the Legislature promoting abstinence-only education, limiting women’s health options and creating a concealed-carry law with insufficient training requirements.

At the same time, legislators couldn’t build consensus on far more important legislation, including a bill to allow additional mining in northern Wisconsin and another to create a pool of funds for promising start-up companies. Both bills were casualties of legislative arrogance by the party Walker leads.

The recall is June 5. Polls show Walker enjoying a five point lead.

The editorial goes on to pick at many of Walker’s decisions, but the fact is, he has spent his brief time in office delivering on what the voters of Wisconsin elected him to do. If Walker hadn’t gone into office guns blazing, he would probably have been called out as just another politician who doesn’t fulfill his promises.

The paper also picks at Barrett for being “indecisive,” before finally finishing with a reminder that the recall of Walker just is not justified.

Even if you disagree with Walker’s policies, does that justify cutting short his term as governor? And if so, where does such logic lead? To more recall elections? More turmoil?

It’s time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We’ve had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation. We urge voters to support Walker in the June 5 recall election.

If Walker is recalled, it would probably be the first time in US history that a politician would be removed from office not for any illegal acts or impropriety, but because he did what he said he would do, and because his policies worked.