The networks have called the Wisconsin recall race for Gov. Scott Walker. Early exit polls — surprise, surprise — seem to have been far off. With less than a third of the votes in Walker has a huge double digit lead and appears to be running well ahead of his six-point win in 2010.

We will hear that Republicans spent heavily, that Tom Barrett was a weak candidate and that the recall lacked focus. All of that may be true, but the bottom line is that Walker took on the public employee unions and won. The conservative reform movement gets a shot in the arm and Mitt Romney has a new issue: taming public employee unions at the federal level.

It has been an education for the public in Wisconsin and around the country. Every elected leader should and will be asked: Do you favor bargaining rights for public employees? Why are their benefits richer than those taxpayers receive in the private sector? Once the voters grasp the implications of a system in which labor bosses give to politicians who then return the favor across the bargaining table the jig is up. The heyday of public labor unions is over.