Scott Walker is the first governor in history to win a recall election, but it doesn't mean much outside his state.
It's all over but the shoutin' in Wisconsin's great recall crusade.
But there's still a lot of shoutin', and it's not going to end anytime soon.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker won the recall election handily, defeating his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a bigger percentage margin than he did in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
After his victory, Walker was quick to call for a cessation of political hostilities in a state that has seen 12 recall-related elections (10 recalls for the state Senate, the gubernatorial recall and a state Supreme Court election) and must certainly be suffering voter fatigue.
But if there is voter weariness on Wednesday, there certainly wasn't on Tuesday. Election numbers show roughly 2.4 million voters participated in the recall election, more than the number who voted in the gubernatorial election of 2010.
Clearly, the electorate was energized. Equally clearly, it opted to maintain the political status quo, choosing not to fire a governor who electrified state politics in 2011 by dramatically reducing the legal standing of the state's public employee unions.
What does it mean?
The TV talking heads are convinced Walker's victory Tuesday does not bode well for President Obama in the fall election in this battleground state.
That conclusion seems premature.
Obama carried the state by double digits in 2008, and polls shows he still commands support from the majority of voters.
Public employee unions in Wisconsin most certainly suffered a staggering defeat. They have been determined to overturn the Walker legislation that emasculated public union bargaining power, and they have repeatedly failed.
However, they have made a point that politicians all over the country will take to heart. Any attempt to weaken public employee unions will face massive resistance.
Although Walker won, the unions and the Democrats put him and his family through the meat grinder.
How many elected leaders in other states will have the stomach to take big unions on?
Here's something else that matters: In the midst of all the recall hoopla, particularly outside Wisconsin, how many people understand why Walker decided he had no choice but to take on the public employee unions and how it worked out?
When Walker was elected, the state faced a $3.6 billion budget deficit — chump change by Illinois standards, but a considerable deficit to responsible elected officials.
Walker's reforms required public employees, like teachers and state workers, to contribute more money to cover their retirement and health insurance costs and gave flexibility to local units of government on spending issues. Local school districts saved many millions of dollars when they were freed from having to buy health insurance from a single union-sponsored insurance company and could seek competitive bids.
Local units of government that had been facing layoffs were able to keep people on the payroll by using the new authority Walker's legislation provided.
As for the state's $3.6 billion deficit, Wisconsin now has a small surplus.
Wouldn't the frustrated taxpayers of Illinois love to see Gov. Quinn turn Illinois' massive debt into a surplus without imposing a general tax increase or laying off hundreds of employees?
Obviously, a solid majority of people of Wisconsin like the results Walker produced. They elected him governor in 2010 because Walker promised to change the way the state was conducting business. They retained Walker as governor Tuesday because, on balance, they are pleased to see he kept his promises and relieved that the new approach is working.
The late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill was fond of saying that "all politics is local." That means that Wisconsin's politics don't have much to do with what happens outside Wisconsin's borders.
Walker won, and Wisconsin public employees unions lost. Beyond that, broad conclusions are merely interesting speculation.