I haven’t had the dubious pleasure of seeing photographs or video of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker today. But if the governor looks the worse for wear, a smart detective’s money would come down on the explanation that the governor had a sleepless night.
After the holy hellaciousness kicked up all over Wisconsin after Walker and his ideologically randy Republican legislature stuck it to the public employee unions last year, an act designed as both a political kneecapping of unions’ electoral power and as an expression of shall we say narrowly shared altruism toward the corporate sector and its rate of taxation, last night’s results in Ohio must have read like the Book of Revelations.
If one were attempting to be kind one would say John Kasich of Ohio and his fellow Republicans’ effort to bust public employees unions in Ohio fell in a Little Big Horn splendor of deluging arrows yesterday. Not that kind, perhaps. But the punishment meted out for extremist overreach in Ohio was decisive, emphatic and crystalline clear in its meaning. This, by the way is Ohio, no teeming enclave of liberalism, casting its twenty-one electoral votes for compassionate conservative George W. Bush twice.
Also, the extremist anti-abortion measure in Mississippi, otherwise known as the Zygote Liberation Act was handily slapped down. If you can’t make it in Mississippi as a fanatical anti-abortion amendment you can’t make it anywhere. An effort at voter suppression enacted in Maine got flipped at the ballot box, and Russell Pearce, the troglodytic immigrant hater in Arizona responsible for Arizona’s insidious and unconstitutional immigration law got booted out of office among other healthy signs yesterday.
There appear to be several overarching messages skywritten across the clear blue sky. One is that Americans are in no mood whatsoever to behave punitively toward one of the few sources of upward pressure on wages still extant in the United States: unions. Similarly, it is clear the era of big government hating is over. Automatic demonization of government and government workers, along with the inseparable pass given to private sector and corporate sector hegemony had its Waterloo.
At minimum, the broader message of the night would appear to be that the right’s unlimited radicalism has been cut off at the pass. Given its demented feverishness and arrogant lust for dominion of late that is no small thing at all.
With Americans by very large majorities calling for higher taxes on concentrated wealth, no longer drowsily unaware of a criminally obscene wealth disparity, in no small part perhaps due to Occupy and its multiplying human megaphones; and with voters looking increasingly unfavorably on excessive favors and incentives for corporations in a tax code tilted toward concentrated wealth and power, some restoration of economic fairness and sanity may be visible on the horizon.
On the list of things still to do one would place upending the attack on voting rights and voting access high upon the list, followed by the more immediately wishful than practical goals of ending corporate personhood and campaign spending protected as First Amendment speech. Like Robert Duvall’s character in Tender Mercies I don’t trust happiness, and I sure as hell don’t trust one night’s electoral success. However, if the worm hasn’t fully turned he has swung his head around at least.