I enjoyed the election returns from England. Beyond the pros and cons of the Walker reforms and budgets, I think it's a good thing that control of the legislature did not flip based on a policy choice by a newly elected majority, Had the thing gone the other way, I think it'd be a long time before any administation in this state would have made any tough decisions.
But enough with the common good, who won? Upon my return, I was astonished at the lengths to which the local left has gone to claim victory. They do have something to talk about. They did pick off two Senators. Pending the outcome of today's recalls, the new Senate is not as reliably conservative but we shouldn't make too much of that. While it may preclude significant movement on the Walker agenda, that was unlikely in any event. The legislature tends not to do all that much once the biennial budget has been passed.
On the other hand, the August recalls were almost custom made for the public employee unions. A special election in the middle of the summer maximizes the advantage of those who are highly committed to a particular outcome and who can run a great ground game. This is where the unions are supposed to excel and they went all in. The point of that was not to make Dale Schultz the swing vote on a handful of potential issues, it was to obtain a repudiation of the Walker agenda that only flipping the Senate could deliver. Notwithstanding the help they got - Randy Hopper's personal immolation and the failure to field a credible candidate against Dave Hansen - millions and millions of dollars devoted to class warfare did not even return us to the pre-Walker Senate.