It became official earlier this spring that first term Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would face recall after detractors collected more than 900,000 signatures advocating for the special election following the governor's hardline stance against public labor unions and entitlements. Democratic voters went to the polls Tuesday to decide on the governor's challenger for the June 5 election. Despite the unseating of two of six Republican colleagues in the State Senate who faced recall last August, Walker has expressed confidence that he will survive and that voters will reward him for balancing a $3.6 billion budget shortfall without laying off state employees or raising taxes.
As big money both instate and substantially out-of-state has been poured into to the recall and the Democratic primary featuring the two likely challengers Kathleen Faulk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, it's clear that the results of this election will likely have national political implications on workers' rights, entitlement reform and middle class strife that will find its way to heated 2012 general election campaign rhetoric.
Given all this, GBTV sent filmaker Ami Horowitz to Madison to film the latest Real News Special Report, "Showdown Wisconsin," and analyze the forces at play and national significance of the recall.
Is Walker destroying the middle class and workers' rights in Wisconsin? Or has the Republican governor turned the deficit to a surplus, made Wisconsin attractive to business, and created jobs?
Before the airing of the 30 minute documentary on GBTV, Ami appeared live with the 'Real News' panel to discuss why the recall election is so important and his experience producing the film.
When asked by Will Cain, who is apparently neighbors and gym buddies with both Ami and Michael Moore, why the filmaker picked scenic Wisconsin in March for his most recent filming location, Ami answered simply; "What happens in Wisconsin doesn't stay in Wisconsin."
"This is an important issue," Ami would go on to say.
Here is a clip from the Real News Special Report, “Showdown Wisconsin,” aired Tuesday only on GBTV:
In addition to Walker, the special report features interviews with labor leaders, business representatives, protesters in the capitol, and pedestrians minding their business in the streets of Madison, ambushed by an eager, and in one segment semi-clothed, Ami.
Following the viewing, Ami explained to the panel his opinion that the Wisconsin recall represents a major inflection point for our country.
"Do we want to move in the direction of Europe, what I mean by that is this welfare state where it feels good, you do it, you give people whatever you can because 'if it feels good, its got to be right,'" Ami said of the direction of the European model which he says "defies economic gravity."
"Or do we want to continue with this American ethos of independence, of working hard, of providing for your family and yourself."
Scott Walker, along with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and several additional state senators will face a recall election on June 5.