Consider for a moment that Scott Walker has been governor for just nine months: a period of mass protests, runaway legislators, court challenges, elections, recounts, recalls and an historic shift in the balance of power between the public and private sectors in Wisconsin. And it’s not even fall yet.
In their effort to derail the Walker agenda, organized labor and the left went all in: Outside groups spent nearly $30 million in a furious attempt to flip control of the state Senate, only to fall short. Our coverage features Christian Schneider chronicling the historic and ultimately futile recall campaign that ended in late August.
At the same time, the realization seems to be dawning that the Walker budget is not the apocalypse that critics had foretold. In a sober analysis, George Lightbourn explains what the budget actually did . . . and did not do.
As Marc Eisen notes, the battles over collective bargaining marked not only a political watershed but a turning point for the new alternative media as well. The protests “demonstrated the potential power of social media as a mobilizing force,” but also the relative decline of traditional media in setting the political agenda.
And, in our cover story, Mike Nichols chronicles what, in other contexts, I have called our growing “nation of moochers”: school meal programs “larded with middle-income families . . . siphoning untold tens of millions of dollars” from programs meant for the poor. Bon appétit.