Doug Mataconis cites a bunch of polling data suggesting that the GOP is losing the PR battle over public unionism. He then concludes:
... politically, taking on the very idea of unions on head-on was a mistake and may well end up hurting the long term goal of bringing state spending in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, in order.
I've argued in these pages previously that public sector unionism is bad policy. We've had that fight, so let's set that issue aside.
I also think what Walker and the rest are doing is good politics. The public is fickle and has short memories. If Walker wins this fight, nobody except the union members themselves will remember or care in six months. But Walker will have won a victory that puts a permanent dent in the Democratic machine, as John Vecchione recently observed:
The largest army needs organization, cohesion and motivation. Removing the public sector unions, removes all three from the Democrats. The results are foretold here. ...
Unlike the GOP, where the movement conservatives provide the foot soldiers, and the rich country club and business interests provide the money, the Democrats get both foot soldiers and money from the unions. ...
A political movement’s success is not determined by raw numbers in an opinion poll. It draws strength from cultural, financial and “intensity” resources to actually produce votes. Unions have provided all three for Democrats. They have done this without being a constituency that inflames independents. Now that has changed. This is why Wisconsin is so important, as is Governor Christie’s efforts in New Jersey. These states are traditionally Democratic. Unions helped make them so. If in those states public unionism is a liability, the jigsaw puzzle of electoral supremacy has been upended in a way no one saw coming five years ago, with consequences that could make Republicans competitive in places they have been shut out for a quarter of a century.