Both sides seem completely convinced that they've got a big winning issue here. Not just the politicians but the wonks seem caught up. When I spoke to conservative and libertarian journalists during health care reform, they were at least a little worried as to how public opinion would land. But not this time. They're all unanimous, and very confident that the unions are going to lose: polls show that the public doesn't particularly like the unions, the doctors' notes are a huge black eye, and parents in Wisconsin are livid.
Meanwhile, the liberals seem equally sure: the only politician who has shown any signs of wavering has been a moderate Republican, a Journal-Sentinel poll shows a narrow majority thinks Walker has gone too far, and anyway, this is a historic moment, a life-or-death stand for all the values dearest to the good people of America . . . actually, both sides seem to think that last is true. I saw at least one person claim that "In this battle, Wisconsin is the new Alamo." Ummm, okay, but you might want to look into what happened to the people at the Alamo before you settle on that analogy.
I find it amazing that both sides are so confident, expressing no worry at all that they might be wrong. So I open it up to you: who wins, who loses? Note that this is not a referendum on who should win. It's a question of who emerges from this fight politically wounded, and who comes out with a bigger stack of political capital?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
is a columnist at Bloomberg View
and a former senior editor at The Atlantic.
Her new book is The Up Side of Down