Dear Mark: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a hotly contested and divisive recall election this week against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker battled the union machine and won decisively. With this outcome, do you think that Mitt Romney can now carry Wisconsin in the presidential election? -- Hopeful Honey in Houma
Dear Honey: The Scott Walker victory does not guarantee a Romney win over Obama in Wisconsin, but it definitely puts the Badger State in play for Republicans come November. President Obama handily won the state over John McCain in 2008, but with the country's poor economy and Walker's success in righting Wisconsin's fiscal ship, Wisconsin could be a tossup. Romney may not carry the day, but Team Obama will have to expend resources it probably hadn't allocated. Then again, money shouldn't be a problem for Obama, with all the fundraisers he's attending these days.
Walker's second victory in Wisconsin should serve as a template to politicians of all political stripes, be they local, state or federal. Walker took a principled stand in battling the public-sector unions and then proceeded to turn a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a $154 million surplus. He was also able to lower property taxes while balancing the budget.
In the words of Barack Obama, this is a "teachable moment," and Washington should pay attention to what is happening in Wisconsin as well as Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey. Under Republican leadership, all these states have turned their budgets around while reducing unemployment. Mr. President, are you paying attention?
One of the most amazing take-aways of the recall contest is that despite the governor and Republicans bringing fiscal sanity back to Madison, 46 percent of voters still wanted Walker out of there. I guess that explains why the citizens of Wisconsin are called "cheeseheads."
Dear Mark: I believe in protecting the environment and that we shouldn't abuse anything that God has so generously given us. BUUUUUT the federal government and liberals are using the environment as a political weapon. It has been reported, but not extensively covered, that the Obama administration has misrepresented the number of "green" jobs that have been created. What could possibly be the reason for such deceit? -- Jimbo in Columbus
Dear Jimbo: How about an insecure president who's too embarrassed to expose his failings during an election year? President Obama is desperate to show that his $876 billion stimulus package produced results and that his emphasis on "green" energy is worth the investment. Unfortunately for the president, and more importantly, the taxpayer, Obama's "green" agenda has wasted a lot of "green."
The Obama administration was busted during a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where GOP Rep. Darrell Issa grilled the Labor Department on how the administration counts "green jobs." According to the Labor Department, a "green" job is "either a business that produces goods or provides services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or a job in which a worker's duties involve making the establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources." Huh?
In other words, a "green" job is any job the Obama re-election team can utilize to inflate the president's record on employment. During the hearings, the "green" jobs included bus drivers, the guy who puts gas in buses, bicycle shop employees and janitors. Even the hated position of oil lobbyist would be considered a "green" job. Kermit the Frog couldn't be reached for comment.
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