With the recall election Tuesday, national correspondents are on the ground in Wisconsin. For The Boston Globe, Alan Wirzbicki writes: “[F]ormer Wisconsin GOP governor Tommy Thompson, who is running for the US Senate to replace the retiring Herb Kohl, said a Walker victory sets up Wisconsin to be up for grabs in the presidential election. ‘You’ve got several things,’ Thompson said after his visit to the breakfast [in Green Bay]. ‘You’ve got everybody organized, you got the adrenaline going, the enthusiasm, the fact that we took on everybody and we won, which is going to energize the party even more so. The second thing is, Reince Priebus is the national chairman (Priebus is the former Wisconsin GOP party chair). He’ll want Wisconsin to be in play. So he’s going to be pushing the Romney people.’ ‘Number three, if we win in Wisconsin, Barack Obama cannot win (re-election). So all of these things, just like the stars are starting to line up for Scott Walker on Tuesday, the stars will line up over the summer for Romney.’ “
For The New York Daily News, Alison Kendar writes: “The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees knocked on 257,000 doors this weekend alone. ‘People here are feeling squeezed by the economy and the policies of this governor,’ said Brian Weeks, the union’s assistant political director. Polls give Walker a slight edge. Obama won the Badger State by double digits in 2008, while George W. Bush lost it by less than a percentage point in 2000 and 2004. Obama has stayed away as the fierce recall fight raged, but his campaign has opened more than a dozen offices statewide. Wisconsin Republicans have backed Walker out of 26 campaign offices — a network that will benefit Obama’s GOP challenger, Mitt Romney. ‘Starting June 6, those offices will immediately begin working for Romney,’ said state GOP Chairman Ben Sparks.”
For The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza assesses the winners and losers, saying: “The recall election has drawn massive amounts of national attention and money — $63.5 million and counting, to be exact. Walker enters Election Day as a slight favorite, with even Democrats acknowledging privately that a Barrett win at this point would be an upset. Of course, upsets happen. …
• Scott Walker. No one has more to gain or lose than Walker. A defeat at the ballot box would, obviously, be a major setback for a politician widely viewed as a rising star when he was elected in 2010. Coming back from such a high-profile defeat — particularly one that came about 18 months after his initial statewide victory — would be decidedly difficult. If Walker wins, however, he will immediately become a national conservative hero (even more than he already is). He would be cast as the guy who stood on principle, stared down the best that Democrats could throw at him and emerged victorious. Don’t be surprised to hear some Walker 2016 or Walker 2020 presidential chatter if the governor can pull off a victory.”
On The Wall St. Journal’s Opinion Page, it goes like this: “A single election rarely determines a democracy’s fate, but some matter more than others. Tuesday’s recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is one that matters a great deal because it will test whether taxpayers have any hope of controlling the entitlement state and its dominant special interests. … Students of democracy from Alexis de Tocqueville to Mancur Olson have pointed out that the greatest threat to self-government comes from the tendency of democracies to become barnacled with special interests that vote themselves more benefits than society can afford. This is the crisis of the modern entitlement state, which is unfolding from California to Illinois, Greece, Italy and even Washington. Wisconsin is a critical test of whether democracies can reform before the crisis becomes debilitating.” If only the Journal were as concerned about all the barnacles of special interest.
At Power Line, John Hinderaker is beside himself with the foul tactics of Democrats and liberals in the Wisconsin fight: “Unbelievable. The Democrats are looking down the barrel of a humiliating defeat in Wisconsin’s recall election on Tuesday, so today they played their last card: they started a rumor that Scott Walker fathered an illegitimate child 24 years ago. The ‘scoop’ comes from something called the Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op. The ‘Co-op’ attributes the story to a woman named Bernadette Gillick, who teaches physical therapy at the University of Minnesota. Ms. Gillick claims to have known Walker’s girlfriend when they were students at Marquette. The ‘Co-op’ says it has ‘not been able to independently verify Bernadette’s account.’ No surprise there. … A columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked into the Democrats’ rumor. His findings:
(1) I tracked down and talked to Dr. Gillick’s freshman-year roommate at MU yesterday, and she adamantly denies that Walker is the father of her child. Yes, she got pregnant as a first-year student, but she believes Dr. Gillick is mixing up stories; and (2) I Can Read CCAP has taken a family court suit involving Scott Alan Walker and mixed it up with the governor, Scott Kevin Walker.
These people are absolutely shameless.”
For whatever the reason, St.Paul teachers are taking steadily more medical and personal leaves. Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress writes: “In a 2008 survey of 85 districts, the Minnesota School Boards Association found a 27 percent increase in days that educators spent on leave — medical, parental and other types — compared with two years earlier. And the association finds itself fielding more questions about medical leaves from districts, which report a spike in mental-health-related leaves. To John Sylvester, the association’s deputy executive director, that comes as no surprise: Minnesota teachers have faced growing class sizes, a harsher public opinion of their profession — and ever-higher expectations. ‘Teachers are experiencing more stress than they ever have,’ he said.”
In the latest example of private industry fleecing the government with substandard service, Jeffrey Meitrodt of the Strib reports on very loosely monitored tutoring companies. “In Minnesota, few tutoring companies have grown so quickly or stumbled as badly. Although [tutoring company] 1 to 1 became one of the state’s most popular providers of government-funded tutoring, the company was kicked out of Minneapolis and St. Paul in its first year, while Rochester officials acted to discontinue the contract after multiple complaints, records show. Minneapolis severed its relationship with 1 to 1 over alleged marketing abuses, including improperly soliciting clients on school grounds and tampering with enrollment forms. Jegede did not dispute the allegations but said the company doesn’t think it received a full opportunity to fix the situation. The company faced similar problems in Michigan, where 1 to 1 was placed on probation for submitting 531 ‘altered’ student enrollment forms in Detroit last year.”
If these things come in threes, I’d skip sitting in restaurants near streets for the next few days. Jim Adams and Pat Lopez of the Strib cover the latest incident: “Two women were injured Sunday afternoon when a car mistakenly put into reverse gear barreled into the outdoor patio of a popular bistro in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood, witnesses and police said. The car, driven by a 74-year-old woman from the neighborhood, plowed backwards into tables outside the Finnish Bistro at 2264 Como Av. around 1:30 p.m., said St. Paul police Cmdr. Todd Axtell. It appeared the driver was trying to park on the street and mistakenly put the gray Cadillac into reverse, then hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, sending the car backwards through a rope and stanchions into the patio area, where about eight customers sat at tables.”
What’s good for upstart Spirit is good for beloved hometown airline Delta. Wendy Lee of the Strib reports: “First there were fees for checked bags. Then a charge for extra legroom. Now Delta Air Lines is tempting travelers to pay for wireless Internet. The Atlanta-based carrier has partnered with Amazon.com to let fliers use its website on flights at no cost. But ultimately, Delta hopes passengers will shell out up to $18 for unlimited WiFi access as part of its efforts to increase sales beyond the plane ticket. It’s a strategy more airlines are embracing as they look to raise revenue and offset rising fuel costs. Delta made $814.3 million in such sales in the third quarter last year, about 18 percent more than the same period in 2010, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.” Thanks, I’ll drive to see my sister in Ohio.