Surrounded by dozens of supporters at an evening campaign rally in Madison on May 30, Milwaukee Mayor
"He's got the mountains of money," Mr. Barrett declared. "I've got you."
Now, Mr. Barrett probably wishes he'd had the mountains of money. On Tuesday night, Mr. Walker turned back the union-driven effort to toss him out of office, beating Mr. Barrett by a comfortable seven percentage points.
Less than two years into his first term in office, Mr. Walker became a recall target after stripping Wisconsin's state employees of their collective bargaining rights. Thousands of teachers and other public employees marched on the capitol building. It looked as if Mr. Walker had a mighty army arrayed against him.
But Mr. Walker had something more potent than an army: billionaires.
The governor put together a nationwide fundraising effort and was richly rewarded. Two-thirds of the $31 million Mr. Walker raised to fight the recall came from out-of-state donors, mostly rich guys who hate unions. The gush of cash going to Mr. Walker overwhelmed Mr. Barrett's boots-on-the-ground effort and provided more proof, if any more were needed, that the
The Citizens United decision does not apply to big corporations alone; it also frees unions to give as much as they want. But the fact is, unions do not have ready access to money on the scale of the billionaire boys club. When just one man, casino king Sheldon Adelman, can write a couple of checks and fund
And, guess what? Most of those candidates, just like most billionaires, are
As evidence, I offer exhibits one and two: David and
The vanity of rich men used to be stoked by buying yachts and racehorses and baseball teams. Now, the indulgence of choice seems to be the purchase of governors and congressmen and -- who knows? -- maybe even a president.