Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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From Woodstock to Waterloo in Wisconsin and Washington

George Will updates the situation in Wisconsin, where Scott Walker's "budget repair" bill "already seems to have repaired many communities' budgets, in addition to the state's."

Will compares Wisconsin's liberals to Woodstock hippies, but I'd suggest they are only a few steps from the London rioters. They show a frightening propensity to resort to "revolution" and anarchy. The gang assembled outside (and inside) the Capital threatened violence, destroyed property and attempted to bring down the democratically elected government (with trespassing mobs disrupting legislative sessions and politicians abandoning their duties by fleeing in the night to another state). All because liberals The Democrats should still be apologizing in shameful contrition for the behavior of their thugs in Madison.

Nevertheless, Will explains that union attempts to extract vengeance through extravagantly expensive, yet unsuccessful, recall elections have actually fiscally crippled their power even further. Unions just seem unable to appreciate that money is a limited commodity and that there are limits to what money can buy.

Leaving unions aside (as Americans seem to be doing with increasing frequency), Will turns to Walker's broader success:

Walker has refuted the left's sustaining conviction that a leftward-clicking ratchet guarantees that liberalism's advances are irreversible.

Peter Schramm made a similar observation in reference to John Boehner's success in shifting the national conversation to "fundamental constitutional questions."

Boehner and his Republican troops have disproved an assumption held by progressives and liberals since the New Deal: that government will always grow in size and scope, that all spending increases are permanent.

From the victory in Wisconsin against liberal unions to success in Washington curbing liberal tax-and-spend policies, Republicans seem to be riding the Tea Party wave to political transformation. This is a profoundly important lesson for the next Republican presidential candidate to keep in mind.

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I'd like to note this is all without Marshallian/Eisenhowerian notions of duty--principles of integrity and competence combined with a selfless sense of self--playing a role in the debate. If they ever do, public unions as they have been are dead.

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