Scott Walker stepped into a state with a balanced budget, intentionally precipitated a financial crisis by passing a big tax cut for the wealthiest Wisconsinites, and told everyone that public employee unions were to blame. Not all of them, mind you -- just the ones that hadn't endorsed his candidacy. Even after the unions offered every single financial concession he demanded, Walker insisted that organized labor was simply too dangerous to exist and rammed through legislation stripping away their bargaining rights.
Walker is on tape boasting to a wealthy contributor about how his "budget adjustment bill" would be the first step in eliminating unions altogether. He's also on tape chatting to a man he believed to be Charles Koch about discarded plans to seed troublemakers in among the subsequent protestors. Tapes of the sessions where the measures were passed show Republicans wantonly breaking their own legislative rules to silence Democratic dissent.
At the time of recall, Walker was -- and is today -- the target of a federal criminal investigation that has already indicted five senior staff members from his time as Milwaukee County Executive. Thirteen more have been granted immunity in exchange for their testimony. Walker maintains that he knew nothing about the tornado of illegal fundraising operations ripping through his office all day long, but e-mails from the period show a very different story.
Maybe Scott Walker won his recall election by convincing people that the recall process is inherently unfair. Maybe he did it by weaving colorful tales about the patrician lifestyles of teachers, nurses, cops, and firefighters. Maybe voters just forgot why the recall was happening in the first place.
But any way you slice it, Wisconsin was a *massive* victory for the Conservative movement.