1. Ross Douthat writes that Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election indicated that “November 2012 will just be one battle in a longer war, and the outcome in Wisconsin suggests that the edge in that war currently (and to some extent unexpectedly, given the demographic trends that favor the left) belongs to a limited government conservatism. The Democrats threw almost everything they had at Scott Walker, and it wasnt nearly enough. And when you fail in what is essentially a defensive campaign, it makes it that much more difficult to get back on offense.” I think Douthat is at least half right. Last night was a clarifying moment. Given the “politics of loss” described by Jay Cost, the government employee unions are facing long-term relative decline. The real choices of those unions are either more modest (though still substantial) concessions during periods of Democratic rule or else much larger defeats (and possibly dissolution) during periods of Republican rule. And there is no guarantee that the former will prevent the latter.
2. I don’t read very much into the federal election implications of last night’s vote (though it has huge national implications regarding state and municipal governance.) The politics of fiscal consolidation at the national and state-levels are too different. Last night was about client group politics. Most people aren’t members of government employee unions and most people in those unions are participants in one political coalition (and not everybody in their own coalition likes them.) Federal fiscal consolidation will involve the spending levels, structuring of, and taxing for, Social Security and Medicare. This is majoritarian politics. The vast majority of voters in both political coalitions both pay for, and expect to receive benefits from these programs. That doesn’t mean that the Republicans can’t win the argument on these issues. It does mean that it is a very different kind of argument than the one that took place in Wisconsin (even if they are both, in large measure, about government spending.)
3. I don’t have the words for our D-Day veterans. God bless them, and God blessed us with them.
4. Peter Lawler is right about Reagan’s D-Day speech. Read it for yourself. The focus I sometimes see on Reagan’s “These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc” line trivializes the speech. It is at least three speeches at once. It is commemoration of a great occasion (and one better and far more concise than Webster’s Plymouth Oration.) It was a brilliant defense of American Cold War policy both retrospective (going back to the Truman administration) and contemporary (an implied defense of NATO’s deployment of Pershing Missiles in Europe. It is a timeless statement of the legitimate use of force by free societies - and the inevitably tragic cost of that use of force. Reagan’s speech is also notable for its charity to our allies in WWII, to our adversaries turned allies and to those who were our adversaries in the moment the D-Day speech was given - though there is no weakness in that charity.