When progressives confront an ideology, politician, or legal reform they don’t like, their strategy of choice is shock and awe. Recruit cashflow. Key the social networking into the dark corners of cyberspace to mobilize zombie legions of astroturf activists with a punditocracy of screeching harpies providing cover fire. This army swarms its target, sometimes leaving such carnage in its wake that progressives’ own allies will flee a state rather than stand tall in the chaos.
When Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker in 2010 to save the state, they likely thought their part complete. The majority had spoken, and it issued a mandate by giving Walker 52% of the vote. For good measure, the electorate threw liberal stalwart Russ Feingold out of the U.S. Senate to confirm the shift in political mood and to show that Walker was no fluke. The legitimately elected governor made good on his mandate and tackled Wisconsin’s exploding debt crisis through the legitimate legislative process.
Then came the zombie legions. They occupied the Wisconsin capitol before occupying became the cool thing to do for out-of-work twenty-something burnouts. Democrats in the state legislature, the supposed adults, fled the state. Rather than teach, teachers protested. The progressive army spit on, smeared, and bullied the legislators, but to no avail. The reforms passed and Walker signed them into law.
When the Republican-controlled senate didn’t cave, progressives changed tactics and hurdled the low bar of Wisconsin’s recall process, taking down two Republican state senators in the process. Bloodied but not beaten, Scott Walker fought back in his own recall election and won by an even higher margin in his second electoral victory in two years. With 53% of the vote in this referendum election, Walker received a greater mandate to continue his agenda than Obama received in 2008 to “fundamentally transform” the country.
Yet for relentless, unappeasable, and uncompromising progressives, the war is never over. They will fight every battle on every battlefield, damn the casualties. As Saul Alinsky wrote, “[Ask] of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work....The real arena is corrupt and bloody…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means" Costs to repair the damaged capitol building, to maintain security and keep the protesters in check, to run the recall elections, none of this matters in their quest to re-open the spigot of taxpayer funds to Democrat union constituents that were bankrupting the state.
Having lost the policy battle in every conceivable way, progressives then deployed a weapon every bit as relentless as the zombies, more coherent than the harpies, and steeped in the cunning ways of judicial manipulation: the blood-sucking lawyers.
Last Friday, a Dane County judge, Juan Colas, used shaky legal reasoning on First Amendment grounds to throw out the bulk of Governor Walker’s hard-won reforms. Judge Colas is the parting gift of Walker’s Democrat predecessor. Even when driven back, progressives leave assets in play to continue the fight. A lone legal sniper left behind enemy lines gunned down the reform package that survived two years of blood-and-guts political battles.
The overthrow of Wisconsin’s reforms is a huge story overshadowed by Obama’s foreign affairs implosion and the progressive media’s psychological warfare on the Romney campaign. It has nationwide implications for the Republican reform agenda. This legal assassination stalled reform efforts, halted their momentum into other states, and demoralized people from future attempts. For reformers, why go through all that aggravation and spend all that money if one rogue judge can bias the legitimate process of judicial review to strike it down?
We’ve seen these tactics at the federal level as well. Nancy Pelosi’s deem-and-pass proposition on Obamacare. Harry Reid’s relentless partisan hatchet jobs. Obama’s constitutional end-arounds on welfare reform, immigration law, and religious freedom. The successful pressuring of Chief Justice Roberts to uphold Obamacare. The Obama campaign’s slogan “Forward” is incomplete. In full it should read “Forward: By any means necessary.”
Defeating Obama this November isn’t the finish line. Progressive pockets will remain entrenched in executive departments and on federal benches. A legacy of hyper-regulation and liberal jurisprudence will remain. They believe in the rightness of their cause, and they will never give up.
If Obama wins?
Two liberal Supreme Court justices, Ginsburg and Breyer, could retire in the next four years. Even worse, two conservative justices, Kennedy and Scalia, aren’t far behind. Barack Obama’s re-election could cement decades of progressive hegemony on the Supreme Court. New guardians of the “living” constitutional model will mold society in the progressive image and will be ready to strike down any Republican solution to the nation’s entitlement crisis, even if it dooms the United States to permanent decline.
The conservative fight to return the United States of America to a true and fiscally sound constitutional republic will be long and hard. The task seems daunting, but as Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, “It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The "hard" is what makes it great.”
Robert J. Guenther is a political commentator and Editor-in-Chief of BiasBreakdown. He can be followed on Twitter @biasbreakdown.