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Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 02/23/2011

How long can Scott Walker hold out?

By Ezra Klein

Mother Jones's Andy Kroll has been doing some great reporting from Wisconsin, and he runs through four of the possible endgames here. They are:

1) The bill passes.

2) The collective-bargaining ban gets dropped.

3) A weird procedural effort to repackage the bill as "non-financial," which would mean the Senate Democrats don't need to be present.

4) The collective-bargaining ban gets pushed to the 2011-13 budget fight, which will happen in the spring.

The problem with trying to game out Gov. Scott Walker's negotiating style is that the guy doesn't seem like much of a negotiator. Another politician would've taken the concrete concessions on pensions and health-care benefits, threatened to revisit the collective-bargaining ban in the spring if any of the unions failed to make the promised concessions and thrown himself a parade. But not Walker.

Instead, he's rejected every compromise that's been offered -- and his allies are starting to notice. The State Journal, a paper that endorsed Walker, has advised him to take a deal. David Brooks has criticized him for an "unbalanced" approach to cuts. Andrew Sullivan, whose initial position was sympathy for Walker, has turned. And it's easy to imagine the prank-Koch call getting a lot of attention in Wisconsin and looking like one more piece of evidence that the governor is approaching this as an ideologue rather than just an executive. The first nonpartisan poll suggests Walker's position isn't as popular as he -- and many others -- initially thought.

A few days ago, the question was: How long can the Democrats hold out? Increasingly, it's how long Walker can hold out.

By Ezra Klein  | February 23, 2011; 1:54 PM ET
Categories:  Unions  
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Next: National Democrats weren't that concerned about unions before Wisconsin

Comments

This whole story is about a right wing power-grab. Walker was bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers to promote their extreme right wing agenda.Tea Partiers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are so confused that they don't realize they are supporting the interests of the wealthiest people in this country. They think it is about less government - it is about stabbing the working man in the back in the name of pseudo- Libertarian ideals promoted by the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch. These poor unfortunate people don't know who is for them and who is using them like pawns to serve their own greedy purposes.

Posted by: jeffl240 | February 23, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Liberal wishful thinking there, Ezra. Walker will hold on as long as he needs to. Layoffs may start soon. And, other workers will start getting fired for missing work - phony doctor's excuses or not.

Posted by: gjhuff1 | February 23, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

It does look as if Walker is about to go down in flames.

Posted by: PulSamsara | February 23, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

And that's how a fillibuster should work.

Impeach Walker!

Posted by: theamazingjex | February 23, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Geez Ezra - another Dem thought - If I write the lie - maybe the lie will come true? Sorry - no tax payers are feeling sory her Erza....we've paid enough. The benefits they enjoy is out right theft of the tax payer.

Posted by: short1 | February 23, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,

You are missing the point. Gov. Scott Walker is playing games with the lives of Wisconsin working families.

Walker is even more the scheming, corrupt, cynical, unfeeling liar than we in Wisconsin had believed. Walker attests on tape to being willing to sacrifice 1,000s of working families for purely political ends.

This is unforgivable.

Posted by: mleo2 | February 23, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This isn't about Wisconsin's budget. It's about the GOP attempt to repeal all of the New Deal and all pro-workingman legislation.

This is an ongoing assault that won't end here. Almost unnoticed is McCain's bill to end the Jones Act introduced last year and current legislation to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act.

Why are people puzzled by the assualt on Social Security, which contrary to Fox News IS solvent and stable (unlike Medicare and Medicaid).

Think about the enormous gullibility of the American public. Many of these state budgets are in trouble because they bought MBS from Wall Street firms that not only produced no returns, BUT the states paid a large commission to these firms just to get their non-performance!

Then, these firms largely escaped serious regulation in last year's fin reg, while unions get the blame for the deficits.

It's the most naked misdirection since the Reichstag fire, but most are too stupid to understand what is going on.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin taxpayers elected Walker and a GOP majority in the house and senate for a reason. he needs to do his job and balance the budget. Dems running from their duties in Wisconsin and now Indiana can't hold out forever.

Posted by: millionea81 | February 23, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

In other words, Walker is complete spherical idiot. Dumb from every angle you look at him. He went for broke and will be broken.
The idiot doesn’t know that politics is the art of negotiation and compromise. He is just too teabagger for that. The lines of scrimmage are being drawn…and not by him. He lost forever the opportunity to become a leader he just didn’t have the material or brains for it. Instead, he cornered himself and turned into a right-wing jackasss.

Posted by: analyst72 | February 23, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Governor Walker is losing credibility. We can see now why he was in such a hurry to get this done. More information is rapidly becoming available. As David Brooks says, his selective union busting techniques illustrate the hypocrisy of his actions and make them unsupportable. How else to explain the exceptions made for the police, firefighter and state trooper unions? Sounds like union busting those professions would be more a higher priority (cops who strike?)than teachers and state employees. Unless they supported him in the last election. And guess what, they did.
And it is terrible to admit it - but he's looking like a paid for and bought schmuck - and the entire process is looking orchestrated (tax cuts just recently given out--which erased a surplus!) and unfortunately--kind of corrupt.
Maybe he wasn't really ready to be Governor. Ever heard of abuse of power?

Posted by: vrob125 | February 23, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Governor Walker is losing credibility. We can see now why he was in such a hurry to get this done. More information is rapidly becoming available. As David Brooks says, his selective union busting techniques illustrate the hypocrisy of his actions and make them unsupportable. How else to explain the exceptions made for the police, firefighter and state trooper unions? Sounds like union busting those professions would be more a higher priority (cops who strike?)than teachers and state employees. Unless they supported him in the last election. And guess what, they did.
And it is terrible to admit it - but he's looking like a paid for and bought schmuck - and the entire process is looking orchestrated (tax cuts just recently given out--which erased a surplus!) and unfortunately--kind of corrupt.

Posted by: vrob125 | February 23, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin citizens might live with Walker's refusal to negotiate, had he ever mentioned during his very recent campaign that he intended to remove the rights of state workers to collective bargaining, and if the Wisconsin Republicans had allowed the legislation to be the subject of open hearings and standard public policy political debate in the legislature.

To simply impose such a fundamental and sweeping change in workers' rights without warning, and without allowing for open debate, is a monumental political error and an indefensible abuse of power. And it is increasingly costing popular support for Walker and for the Republican legislators who are tied to his sinking ship.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

He's already wrung concessions from the unions. In the gambler's parlance, Walker is already playing with the house money.
So he can hold out as long as he cares to.

Posted by: RZ100 | February 23, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Before someone point's it out to me, I know Davis-Bacon is actually 1931, not the New Deal. I could have said Depression era legislation.

I should also point out that this process has been ongoing for a long time. For instance Rubin and Summers took a long time to get it done, but they finally got the financially child-like Clinton to sign the repeal of Glass-Stegall an action that was one of the cornerstones in enabling the recent financial crisis.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

There are 5.5 million people in Wisconsin and a majority support the Governor.

Wisconsin signed into law over 50 years ago the civil service statute which protects public employees without the need for unions.

Wisconsin is also an at will employment state,where if you work in private industry, you can be terminated for know reason or explanation.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

How long can he hold out? 'Till the Koch Bros. run out of money. Or he takes another phone call from 'em.

Posted by: deconstructiva | February 23, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

There are 5.5 million people in Wisconsin and a majority support the Governor.

Wisconsin signed into law over 50 years ago the civil service statute which protects public employees without the need for unions.

Anyone saying the unions have given concessions to the Governor are absolutely wrong. They have provided lip service but no official concessions.

Wisconsin is also an at will employment state,where if you work in private industry, you can be terminated for know reason or explanation. the public employees don't live under the same rules.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

These Protesters are Participating in Politics! And it's about time that we ALL participate! Why?

"The result of not participating in politics is that you end up being governed by those (The Kochs, et al) who are only interested in conducting public affairs for private advantage"

Joseph M. Pijanowski

Posted by: Joe_Pij | February 23, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I am mystified that I have not yet heard the word "recall" emanating from Wisconsin. I realize Gov. Walker has been in office less than two months, but now that the world realizes he is a world class meathead what is everyone in Wisconsin waiting for?

You will notice that Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has kept a bit of a lower profile. He appears to be willing to sit down and talk, or at least not give in to his belicose nature. Even here in Ohio - a much more conservative state - we of the leftish persuasion and the rightish persuasion migh actually think haard, but not long about getting rid of someone like Walker. He dose not deserve to be a governor. The jury is still out on Kasich.

Posted by: agrossman1 | February 23, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

There is an estimated $3.5 to $4 TRILLION dollar shortfall owed by taxpayers for government union entitlements. Big government loves government unions. The Democrats in the Senate voted last week to let the TSA organize WITH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING?

People need to understand that it is a criminal enterprise where the government and government unions sit on one side of the table negotiating entitlements from the taxpayer who is the empty chair across the table.

There is no rational basis for government unions to exist. They are bankrupting the nation and this cancer is now being exposed. Citizens and taxpayers need to stand behind Walker and all of the others who are trying to end a criminal system.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | February 23, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. The short fall would have been only $20 MWalker is smashing unions to further appease his bosses.

Posted by: jeffl240 | February 23, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

As a native of the great state of Wisconsin, it is by the day becoming clearer tothe people of Wisconsin, that Scott Walker is not one of them, does not respect their traditions and values and is nothing more than a dishonest and corrupt politician. The prank phone call has unleashed public records requests that will reveal how deep Walker is in with out-of-state corporate monies and how his dishonesty with the people is disgusting. Wisconsin voters and its legislatures led the nation in establishing ethics in government laws (goes back to the Bob La Follette era in the 1920's and 1930's). The tide has turned and what is different about the mobilizations and rallies that Walker fails to acknowledge or comprehend is that these are not radical left people who are coming to Madison to protest. These are often middle-of-the spectrum voters who happen to public employees and union members and carry stature intheir communities. Many have never been out to protest before. In essence, he is mobilizing the people of Wisconsin to remove him from office and when the ethics violations go public, he will either resign in disgrace (like Richard Nixon) orgert soundly recalled.

Posted by: hpsgilman | February 23, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Walker has all the time in the world... until the money runs out. Then the layoffs begin. And if the Democrat state senators don't want to do their jobs, if they don't want to participate in the decisions made by the legislature, then they can stay in Illinois forever... or until THEIR money runs out!

Posted by: JBaustian | February 23, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Pink slip friday

then the state's Democrat's congressional staff get's pink slipped, sine the democrats are not there, so they are also jobless

Anyone who has been across the table from someone who does not bluff knows this situation

Walker is on house money, and still gaining -
the Republican congress can push thru as much as they want, while the DemoCan'ts are not in
when the Republicans have all they want, then the concession can be made, AFTER all of the other laws are in

I am amazed no one sees this as the game plan

Posted by: JohnSpek | February 23, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Wishful thinking, Ezra. And who puts any credence in the objectivity of "Mother Jones." Walker will beat the unions at their own strategy -- take no prisoners.

Posted by: Chippewa | February 23, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Bubbette:

Congratulations on having the most non-sensical least factual post of the day so far. Let's how long you can hold the title.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Nice try Ezra to obfuscate the situation and try to miss-lead the people. The 'recent poll' you link to is a national poll of 1,000 people out of 307 million with more disclaimers at the bottom as to the make-up then most drug ads on TV. David Brooks isn't exactly the poster boy for conservative thought (although I like him and find his editorials informative), and Andrew Sullivan is certainly NOT given to much conservative thought at any time.

To me I would find it very hard as either a Democratic or Republican governor to negotiate with a group that's in hiding instead of doing the peoples' business where it's supposed to be done. Furthermore I would never negotiate with a mob or under the pressure imposed by such a group as that is not the way this country is supposed to be governed. The Gov. ran on a platform that included renegotiating the union set-up in their state and he was elected, along with both houses of the state legislature to accomplish just that. The citizens of Wisconsin will have a chance sooner rather than later to replace him if they find his efforts/results to be in opposition to their wishes. In the meantime the unions and their lefty supporters should abide by the results of the very Democratic process they so loudly proclaim to defend.

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

They should have the democrats come back and add amendments to the Bill and then have the Governor use his line item veto pen.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the evil titans of industry's Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was Walker's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from icky satanic realtor groups in Wisconsin!

These numbers are in stark comparison with the paltry $43,128 given to Walker's opponent by the benevolent United Food & Commercial labor union, the measly $43,000 given to Walker's opponent by the innocent IBEW labor union, the pittance $42,728 given to Walker's opponent by the saintly IUPAT Political Action labor union, the crumbs $42,000 given to Walker's opponent by the heavenly WI People Conference (AFSCME 40 & 48) labor union, the so-little-it-barely-registers $35,000 given to Walker's opponent by the knightly WI Laborers District Council labor union.

And if that wasn't enough to make your blood boil, according to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the Koch Industries PAC spent $6,500 in support of 16 Wisconsin Republican state legislative candidates, who each won his or her election. That's an insurmountable $406.25 attack on free speech... each!!

May God have mercy on your black souls, Koch Brothers, because the children of Wisconsin will not.

Posted by: millionea81 | February 23, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey jeffl240....you are spot on! I have been a libertarian for decades...but I have never seen such blind followers!!! Walker, Scott and the others are USING Tea Partiers!!

Posted by: cthurow | February 23, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

After the phone-call blunder, Gov. Walker is walking on "shaky ground." He is and will be losing support fast. He will look like the con-man that he is.

Reality Check: Due to Rise in Stock Market Prices, there is Not the Short Fall on Employee Pension Funds as Some Would Have You to Believe! Plus Wisconsin Employee Pension Fund One of the Healthiest in the Nation – http://tinyurl.com/4znswbg

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 23, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I know few are persuaded by facts, but here are the facts about the Wisconsin state budget as it relates to pensions:

"But the Wisconsin pension fund is simply not in fiscal trouble. Its managers weren't burned by subprime mortgage assets or mortgage-backed securities as the housing bubble collapsed. The fund also relies on an automated dividend system, which pays out benefits in years the system is making gains while restricting payouts in years when it takes losses. And while the pension fund had a rough year during 2008 due to stock market losses, it remains robust, both in terms of fundamental financial stability and in comparison to other state pension programs.

According to the Pew study, Wisconsin had about $77 billion in total pension liabilities in 2008. But according to that same Pew study, those liabilities were 99.67 percent "funded," giving Wisconsin one of the four-highest of such ratios in the nation. Other states had funding ratios as low as 54 percent. For comparison, expert analysts and the Government Accountability Office consider an 80 percent level to be a good benchmark for pension fund stability, while Fitch Ratings considers 70 percent adequate."


Here's more proof:

"According to the Wisconsin pension fund's own 2010 annual report, the system had $69.1 billion in total assets at June 30, 2010, while paying out $3.7 billion in benefits over the course of the previous year. The value of those assets has since risen. According to Dave Stella, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, the retirement system's assets were worth $79.8 billion at the end of last month. The most recent solvency test for the fund was conducted for the fund's operations at Dec. 31, 2009. At the time, the funding ratio was 99.8 percent. The next solvency test is scheduled for June of this year."

Finally for all those who dismiss my statements that this really is about the financial industry in this country:

"In 2009, roughly half of the pension fund's total assets were managed by state employees, who were paid a total of $28.4 million for their work. By contrast, outside Wall Street professionals were paid $194.7 million to manage the other half of the fund's assets. Cutting Wall Street pay, or simply moving more fund management in-house, could easily generate the $30 million in new taxes Walker wants to assess on state employees."

Ok, we now return to the buffoonishly financially ignorant commentary, already in progress!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

the governor will enjoy a nice piece of humble pie, for his dessert.
wonder if it will be served by a union member?




Posted by: jkaren | February 23, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"This whole story is about a right wing power-grab. "

Power grabs are only for left-wingers. Like John Kennedy rewarding his AFL-CIO friends with an executive order allowing federal public sector unions. Or Ohio Democrats ramming through a party line vote allowing public sector unionization in Ohio, signed by a Democratic governor also elected with the support of his AFL-CIO friends.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ghju, right wing talking points which aren't true. Nearly 2-1 Wisconsin supports these working people. You may not like that fact, but fact it is. Unions voted for strikes if this bill passes - coordinated strikes in the private sector which can't be touched by Walker but will certainly touch you and your wallet if you live in Wisconsin.

Posted by: bobcra | February 23, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"sine the democrats are not there, so they are also jobless"

no way.

an upstart governor making martyrs out of a group of senators, and creating total chaos in his state.
my guess is that he is in way over his head, and doesnt have a clue what to do.
his game plan has spiralled way out of control.
i bet other governors are watching this, and thanking their lucky stars that they are not him.

Posted by: jkaren | February 23, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. The short fall would have been only $20 MWalker is smashing unions to further appease his bosses. "

Pure leftist lies.

The tax breaks do not go into effect this fiscal year. For the next 2 fiscal years, those tax breaks are about 5% of the total deficit; the other 95% is a result of existing policies.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

OK....in reading these comments, I have to say that those of you who are supporting Governor Walkers legislation are 1) Using extremely poor reasoning (ie - your logic is extremely suspect) 2) using awful spelling and poor punctuation (I admit I can't spell either, but I try not to look dumb when I post here) 3) repeating Fox talking points and throwing dumb insults around.

Honestly, have a little pride people.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 23, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

When he gets recalled he will have time to finish school and maybe this time his Grade Point Average will be higher than 2.0.

Posted by: drko | February 23, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

There's been a lot of blathering by the left about the buying and selling of political offices by the Koch brothers. I guess they are this cycles boogie men just as Mr. Scaife was a couple of cycles ago.
When you want to attack the Republicans you can be assured that the left will bring up that hoary old monster of big business and corporate power being the master of the Republican Party. They will always fail to mention their own corporate/big business sugar daddies like Geo. Soros and his associated left wingers in residence just to point out one.

The fact is that the Koch brothers contributed $43,000 to the governors campaign. Out of contributions totaling over $9.3 million dating back to 1998 that's not a whole lot of buying power. Should we also castigate the Marshall & Isley Corp. for their $46,000, or the Wisconsin Realtors Assoc. for their $43,100, or the Wisconsin Dental Assoc. for their $41,000? Are they also a danger to the process of Democracy as well. Is it only the Unions who can amass vast sums from their members to donate to the Democratic Party? Is it only the poor and single individuals who are allowed to contribute to the Republican party?

For too long the media has leveraged their majority in the media and the bully pulpits of universities and classrooms all across this country to warp the public discourse by propagating what I;ll kindly define as miss-leading descriptions and condemnations of their political opponents. I'm not saying that the Republicans are as pure as the driven snow either. I do, however, stand by my own rather wide personal experience with conservatives in general and state that they are much more likely to try to debate on the basis of facts and to do so with a much greater degree of civility then is commonly exhibited by the left wing of the Democratic Party which has been in the ascendancy these past 15-20 years.

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"To simply impose such a fundamental and sweeping change in workers' rights without warning, and without allowing for open debate, is a monumental political error and an indefensible abuse of power. "

More leftist hypocrisy. It's only OK for the Democrats to do that!

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Politifact about the lies being told by Rachel Maddow and the leftwingers:


http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/18/rachel-maddow/rachel-maddow-says-wisconsin-track-have-budget-sur/


Our conclusion: Maddow and the others are wrong.

There is, indeed, a projected deficit that required attention, and Walker and GOP lawmakers did not create it.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

got to give the union groups credit as they're not relenting. If they're giving up these concessions though how long are they giving them up for? A year? Two? Until the Dems get back in power and reinstate them for them? I don't know why in conversations with the media the State Republican leaders aren't stating the simple fact that Unions are so in bed with the unions. They should be coming out and stating that those that actually negotiate these pension and benefits now and in the future should not be impacted by their political contributions. I mean if you seriously want to bring up the Koch Brothers then why aren't you bringing up the perversion on the union side? On a side note I was listening to MSNBC earlier today and heard a commentator say "We" when referring to the union reps and then quickly change her tune was kind of comical. Sure they're more fair and balanced than Fox but not as much as you'd like to think.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who don't mind a little extra credit info gathering here are a couple of non-partisan websites you can go to to get a direct look at public records in a manageable fashion. You'll be glad you did so that you personally can be better equipped for the next round of 'talking points'.

http://www.followthemoney.org/database/uniquecandidate.phtml?uc=20394&gclid=CPXgnOrxm6cCFUlN4Aod_Fguew


For this one just pick from the list of positions in the pull-down list and pick a county, any county, and pick at random from the alphabetical list of names. You'll be surprised I think, especially if you are a private sector wage earner in Wisconsin.

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/99999999/APC0110/80221166/DataMine-Search-Wisconsin-teacher-salaries?appSession=485283557507546

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The last governor of the state of Wisconsin was a Democrat and he stole $200 Million from the patients protection fund which was a fund that was mandated by the state for malpractice claims. All doctors are required to put money into the fund.
The state supreme court deemed he illegally took the money and gave it to the public employee and teachers unions and the state is to pay it back.

He also stole over $500 million out of the state highway fund and gave it to the public employees and teachers union.

The new Governor is dealing with these short falls plus others that were left by the previous Governor.

Anyone commenting on whats going on in Wisconsin and not understanding what the the new Governor has to fix, is being disingenuous.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The money quote from the punked Governor Walker who shows his devious and dishonest approach at negotiation.


Walker:
"I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders -talk, not negotiate, and listen to what they have to say, if they will in turn, but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly," said Walker, according to transcripts of the call.

"They can recess it to come talk to me, but they'll have to come back there. The reason for that is, legally, we believe, once they've gone into session, they don't physically have to be there. If they're actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they'd have quorum because they started out that way, so we're double checking that.

"If you heard I was going to talk to them, that's the only reason why. We'd only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them, and my sense is, hell, If they want to yell at me for an hour, I'm used to that. I can deal with that, but I'm not negotiating."

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 23, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The last governor of the state of Wisconsin was a Democrat and he stole $200 Million from the patients protection fund which was a fund that was mandated by the state for malpractice claims. All doctors are required to put money into the fund.
The state supreme court deemed he illegally took the money and gave it to the public employee and teachers unions and the state is to pay it back.

He also stole over $500 million out of the state highway fund and gave it to the public employees and teachers union.

The new Governor is dealing with these short falls plus others that were left by the previous Governor.

Anyone commenting on whats going on in Wisconsin and not understanding what the the new Governor has to fix, is being disingenuous.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

As a Wisconsin resident I hope legislators and citizens will do whatever it takes to defeat Walkers Budget.We all recognize the need to balance the budget but walker isn't intent on doing that. He's giving away public wealth to his real constituency, the Koch brothers, and expecting to pay those bills with public sacrifices. Walker is an ideological fundamentalist of the worst sort. He is incapable of negotiating. He is small minded ideologue attempting to deal with only a small part of a huge problem that exists around our country. He see this as a big chance to end unions, their support for progressives and power for workers thus securing a strangle hold over the public conversation. It ties in with Republican efforts to kill public broadcasting too well to be a coincidence.i

Posted by: tryreason | February 23, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
If your reporting on Scott Walker is correct, it sounds very much like the Reid/Polosi/Obama approach to negotiaton doesn't it?
Exception 1. U.S. Congressional
members didn't run from town to delay a vote.
Exception 2. There was debate on the bill in Wisconsin.
I heard one of the hiding Wisconsin Democrat Representative Wisconsin state on TV last night that all of the remaining issues were non-financial. Perhaps, that adds some credence to end game number 3.

Posted by: myownperson | February 23, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by ghju: There are 5.5 million people in Wisconsin and a majority support the Governor.

Response: 123,151 more people in Wisconsin voted for Walker than Barrett; hardly overwhelming support. As for the person who claims Wisconsin public workers have civil service protection -- not true. I'm a member of the teachers union and I have no such protections. A recall of Governor Walker is planned but cannot be started until he has been in office for one year. He can do a lot of damage in the meantime not just to public workers but to our handicapped and elderly citizens as well with the Medicaid changes included in the same bill. This man is poison.

Posted by: Lila2 | February 23, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

krazen, vision, and sproing:

Quit playing in the minor leagues!

Why don't you step up to the plate and refute the factual information in my last post?

Who cares about Maddow and the Koch Brothers. Please show where the actual figures that I gave you are incorrect.

It's all about busting unions, not about budgets.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein's opinion piece is a load of Wisconsin-grade manure. He links to a national poll that shows the majority of the entire country favors the approach being taken by the governor of Wisconsin, and then states that it shows the governor's position is not as popular as he (the governor may think). How about a poll exclusively sampling the people of Wisconsin? Then tell us how popular the governor's position is. And, as for Brooks and Sullivan -- they're hardly conservatives in the first place, so the fact that they are all about compromise is hardly the kind of evidence to suggest that the governor of Wisconsin's actual supporters are waivering. Sort of like saying Obama is in favor of deficit reduction and then citing his opposition to the governor as evidence that fiscally responsible people are against him. Oh well, this is the Washington Post.

Posted by: Undergraduate | February 23, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but recording a phone call without the other party's knowledge and consent is a violation of state and federal wiretapping laws.

Wonder if the so-called "gonzo journalist" Murphy gets charged? Just a thought.

Posted by: Policywonk14 | February 23, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Oops. One last thought. If Unions are the great protector of the middle class just who are the public service unions protecting their members from? The voters? The taxpayers? The citizens of their country or state? After all, that's exactly who they work for isn't it?

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"The Gov. ran on a platform that included renegotiating the union set-up in their state and he was elected, along with both houses of the state legislature to accomplish just that."

No, the Governor ran on a platform of spending cuts. As a candidate he said nothing about removing collective bargaining rights, and he certainly never did any "renegotiating."

What Walker's admirers refuse to confront is the fact that this proposal came out of nowhere, and that no adequate hearings or debate of the legislation were permitted. If the Wisconsin Republicans want to destroy public sector collective bargaining, that fact should have been made known to voters during the campaign, and the voices of constituents should be heard as part of the legislative process. To do otherwise is an abuse of power.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@johnmarshall,

i actually just got back to my office so i haven't seen your post so i'll review it and be happy to reply.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Quit playing in the minor leagues!

Why don't you step up to the plate and refute the factual information in my last post?

Who cares about Maddow and the Koch Brothers. Please show where the actual figures that I gave you are incorrect.

It's all about busting unions, not about budgets.

"

Of course its about busting unions. Who said otherwise?

That doesn't change the fact that Doyle blew a sizable hole in the budget; part of the reason the pension fund has money in it is because Doyle illegally took that money from other places.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

All of you lilly livered liberals are ignorant. This is called politics for a reason. When you have a majority you use it. This is not some novel invention, it is basic politics. Maybe if any of you had a steady job or actually worked for a living, you'd be able to figure this out. Walker is going down in "flames"? the democratic party is going down the drain! I think what needs to be seen in this situation is the fact that we have politicians who are supposed to represent the state and the will of the people, fleeing for fear of a political process. And it's not a hold out, he's in control. Why would he concede to people who has no leverage on him. The democrats have no chips to bargain with and are discrediting themselves as a party by holding this political process. Were all of you complaining when Obama pushed through "Obama care"? I DON'T THINK SO.

Posted by: lfscouts67 | February 23, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Ian Murphy did what journalists used to do -- comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. This is a crushing embarrassment to Gov. Walker. Also shows you how arrogant Gov. Walker is -- takes a phone call from someone who says he's David Koch. Geez, that's what the unpaid intern is for -- tell the caller the Governor will call you back, take the number, and head to the internets and check out the number's veracity. And I'm wondering if there's any way that Gov. Walker can be charged with some sort of felony.

Posted by: EAHarrison | February 23, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

What does a national poll have to do with a conflict in Wisconsin?

Not much.

Where is the result of an unbiased poll in Wisconsin itself?

Posted by: JimHale1 | February 23, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The thing that most people don't realize is that the teachers in Wisconsin are not state employees,they are employed by the different districts,and they are not part of the state budget,but they are the one's complaining the most.

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"A recall of Governor Walker is planned but cannot be started until he has been in office for one year. He can do a lot of damage in the meantime not just to public workers but to our handicapped and elderly citizens as well with the Medicaid changes included in the same bill. This man is poison.
"

How do you know a liberal is lying?

They complain about Medicaid changes without correctly attributing the massive Medicaid shortfall to the Doyle administration.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This article is all pro-Union spin.
Nothing more.

Posted by: JimHale1 | February 23, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@johnmarshall,

I'm no financial guru like yourself but if they're as funded as you say (sans link) then where does this $3.6 Billion shortfall that even Ezra admitted to come from?

I also agree as krazen does that its about busting the unions as there's a perverse system where people negotiating are actually supposed to be on different sides of an "argument or negotation" and it really doesn't seem like Dems and unions are on different sides, no?

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I've seen a number of conservatives jumping to the Koch Bros. defense (or at least deflecting the criticisms) by citing the $43k contributed to Walker's campaign as being relatively small. I've also seen a few liberals then cite to the fact that the Kochs spend $3.5 million on the campaign through indirect contributions. I can't vouche for the latter number, not having done the research myself, but I never see consevatives address it.

Posted by: MosBen | February 23, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@krazen1211:
Appreciate the digging to find this piece of info. Very interesting.
.
Given that your source indicates that the budget issue is relatively minor, wouldn't you consider the hard line 'kill the unions' to be a bit of a stretch from Walker?

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

speaking of that gallup poll you mentioned showing 60-30 support for the workers' rights, queue Fox and Friends this morning making the argument that the public supports gov walker and showed a graph of the poll with the statistics REVERSED, in blatant and brazen disregard for the truth....i understand that they subsequently corrected the error (shocker), but too late for those who already turned the channel, and irrelevant after the segment is over.

Posted by: ButterBiscuit | February 23, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@MosBen:
re: Koch brothers money

Now remember that the bulk of the money they spent was done so anonymously thanks to Citizens United. The 3.5 million we *know* about is only a small piece of the likely total spent.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Lila2

Your a teacher and you have time to blog in the middle of the day and not teach our kids.

This is why we need to eliminate collect bargaining, so we can terminate teachers like you

Posted by: ghju | February 23, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Time is on Walker's side, not the other way around. As time goes on, more and more Americans are realizing what BS this collective bargaining agreement entails. As time goes on, more people will side with Walker on this issue.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | February 23, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@MosBen,

you're right that people should bring up everything they do but rpixley can't go ahead and assume that they give much more. Maybe they do, maybe they don't.

How about the $200 million unions gave Demcorats in the last election cycle? Shouldn't that be discussed too and how that conflicts with the whole premise of "bargaining"? Shouldn't you be bargaining with someone that didnt' give you hundreds of millions of dollars??

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

vision:

It appears to be a structural deficit similar to the Fed's budget deficit based on years of bad accounting that the Fed's get away with because they have the power to print money and the states do not.

ghju above was right about shifting money illegally from one fund to pay naother.

Here's what I found in direct reference:

" Wisconsin was rated by the Pew Center on the States in November 2009 among the top ten states with budget problems, citing the practice of taking money from the transportation fund (then borrowed to cover the transportation budget) to fill gaps in education and day-to-day operations, and running negative balances in the general fund for five straight years, before the recession. State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) said the Pew analysis hit the mark in identifying the consequences the state faces for spending more money than it collects and adding programs while the overall economy is in a recession. Total spending in the 2009-'11 budget is up 6.2%, to roughly $65 billion, a level of spending "that is unsustainable," Darling said. "It's practically a textbook case of how not to engage in fiscal policy and budget-making," Mordecai Lee, professor of government affairs at UW-Milwaukee, says in the Pew report. "Structurally, we are around the corner of becoming like California."[34] The state ended the FY2009 with a $2.71 billion budget deficit, 8.4% more than the prior year's deficit, according to a state report"

It appears to be a pretty typical story of borrowing in anticipation that revenues would never drop and then geetting killed when they do.

Hey, I DO believe that Walker is right about having the employees contribute more to their pensions and taking cuts. It's a responsible position to take, and the head of the union has come out repeatedly and said they agree to it. The rest is all an attempt at game-changing political ideology though.

Here's the link that explains the budget in reasonable English.

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Wisconsin_state_budget

Also, I hope you know that I wasn't referring to you in a derogatory way. I was just having some fun in the afternoon on a hot button issue to get things moving. If I offended you or any other of the consistently reasonable posters, I apologize.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Given that your source indicates that the budget issue is relatively minor, wouldn't you consider the hard line 'kill the unions' to be a bit of a stretch from Walker?"

Liberals have had no problems ramming through party line bills creating public sector unions. They did this in Ohio in 1983, in a bill that is about to be repealed as public sector unions in Ohio are dissolved.

I have no problems fighting fire with fire, especially when liberals try to believe that they are somehow different.

http://usgovernmentrevenue.com/downchart_gr.php?year=1950_2016&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy12&chart=F0-state&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

Revenue collected by the states has increased from 4% of GDP in 1950 to 11.5% of GDP in 2007. A large portion of this is dedicated to excess cost growth in the education sector dominated by unions.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

as far as collective bargaining and deficits go I will admit more of an argument can be made in my state of NJ than in Wisconsin but the problem is that Governor Christie knows he can't get anywhere with it because Dems control the legislature so its a waste of time.

Would those of you arguing that the financial reasons aren't there in Wisconsin consider contacting our NJ legislature and suggesting the end of our public unions considering we're the highest taxed state in the country? Thanks in advance!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@johnmarshall,

no offense taken. but again my position in this is that what's to stop this from happening again structurally in "X" number of years when Dems take back over again and reinstituting the same polices that led us here? Also there's nothing to stop that from happening as you can't make a law that can't be ever changed or repealed so in effect he's simply making a point that Dems are in bed with the unions and taking the taxpayer along for the ride (against most of their wills). Sadly for him he's not making it well enough which is normally not the case for Republicans vs Dems.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Walker is not going to back down and he will get his bill. Only those truly delusional would think he is going to spit in thevoter's face the way Obama and the Dems do. He will get the law passed.

Posted by: Realist201 | February 23, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Heres's more interesting data:

http://usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1992_2016&view=1&expand=&units=d&fy=fy12&chart=F0-total&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=WI&color=c&local=s

Here is Wisconsin

Total Spending
Fiscal Years 1992 to 2016 Year GDP-WI
$ billion Total Spending -total
$2005 per cap
1992 4817
2010 9960

and here is North Carolina

Total Spending
Fiscal Years 1992 to 2016 Year GDP-NC
$ billion Total Spending -total
$2005 per cap

1992 3957
2010 7499


and here is New Jersey

Total Spending
Fiscal Years 1992 to 2016 Year GDP-NJ
$ billion Total Spending -total
$2005 per cap
1992 5995
2010 10598


and here is Tennessee

Total Spending
Fiscal Years 1992 to 2016 Year GDP-TN
$ billion Total Spending -total
$2005 per cap
1992 4330
2010 7905


It's really interseting to note the massive spending differences between states with and without public sector unions.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

vision:

In NJ you've already taken the first step by electing a Governor too big to be in bed with the head of the union. Just think how much better your budget would have been if Corzine had weighed about a hundred pounds more!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"How about the $200 million unions gave Demcorats in the last election cycle? Shouldn't that be discussed too and how that conflicts with the whole premise of "bargaining"? Shouldn't you be bargaining with someone that didnt' give you hundreds of millions of dollars??"

In Wisconsin, as in every state I know of, teachers' collective bargaining agreements are negotiated at the district level, so the persons with whom the local union bargains are generally the local Superintendents of Schools and the local School Boards to whom they report. I don't know that there is much or any union money in local school board elections in Wisconsin. Where I live, school boards tend to be comprised of civic-minded parents who take an interest in good government.

Yes, public sector unions like the WEA tend to support the campaigns of those politicians who support funding school systems. Just like corn growers support politicians who support corn subsidies, and the NRA supports politicians who would place no restrictions on the commerce of guns. The influence of special interest groups' money is a good argument for abolishing campaign financing altogether, or replacing it with public funding, but it is not an argument that a local teacher's union should not have the right to collectively bargain on issues of compensation and work rules with their local school board.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/wisconsin%E2%80%99s-public-pension-problems

You'll see the following about the article from which johnmarshall5446 quoted almost verbatim. Incidentally the article first appeared in the online Huffington Post.

[*Correction: Sarah Jorgenson of The Pew Charitable Trusts sent me this correction: We saw your Wisconsin pensions article today and wanted to flag an inaccuracy. Zach Carter of the Huffington Post misattributed Pew's report, "The Trillion Dollar Gap," to The Pew Research Center. The report was issued by The Pew Center on the States, a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Research Center is a separate, independent subsidiary.]

It does appear that as measure against other states that Wisconsin's pension system is in much better shape. I guess the real question is how do the state, who can not budget for deficit spending, find ways to guarantee a prosperous and equitable future for all their residents without having to resort to increasing taxes. In most of the articles I read on Wisc. pension fund there was always mentioned, however hidden, the possibility of Wisconsin getting through the 'current' short term shortfalls by essentially underfunding their pensions and use those excess funds to cover the budget deficits. Now plainly that's robbing Peter to pay Paul, and is the kind of thing that Wisconsin has wisely not done in the past as have other states. It is probably an additional factor in their pension being as sound as it is.

So there are those who say,essentially, let's steal some future pension benefits to pay for yesterdays lack of financial restraint to cover todays and possibly tomorrow's shortfalls and we promise to refill the kitty from future but so far unagreed upon budget surpluses. That's a fools bet and most taxpayers are becoming aware of those kind of empty political promises. The largest expenses to most states are probably education and it's never ending demand for more funding, and medical care for those covered under medic-aid or indigent care for illegals. The latter is a problem waiting for a federal solution which may never come, while the former is well within the states power and responsibility to control. The public service unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere are essentially protecting their members from their bosses the taxpayers and not from some profit driven megolomaniacal multi-national mega-corporation who would forever enslave their poor workers and house them in lightless dungeons. I'm sure

Why do Wisconsin's public servants want to have the power to negotiate? What's to negotiate? Can't they just make their case to the voters whenever they feel they need something as opposed to being cozy with some politician or party that's had it's pockets lined with their members money? After all what's it cost the union supporting politician sitting across from the union negotiator? He'll just pass it on in the form of a fee or tax increase.

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the Democrats have no-zero-cards to play in the Wisconsin situation. Walker has full control. He
will not compromise. He wants and will get full control. Machiavelli comes to mind. The senate Dems might as well come home. Maybe they could slow the bill down with amendments for reducing the mandated contributions to pension and health care. Perhaps even a Republican or two would agree--they have constituents too

Posted by: merlin12 | February 23, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@johnmarshall,

Ya the next step is electing a Republican dominated legislature which will be tough to do with 510,000 public sector workers voting Democratic but if we got the Govenor's office anything's possible. Oh and thanks for putting the image again in my head of Carla and Jon in bed together. YUK!!!

Really does NJ need a public sector worker for every 17 residents???

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Gov Walker isn't holding out - he's just waiting for the Senate to do their job so he can sign off on the Bill. The bill is in the Senate and the Democrat Senators are "missing in action."

The Senate is playing the "hold out" game.

Once the layoffs begin, the Democrat Senators - presently merrily frolicking in Illinois (on the tax payers dime) - will have to come home and do their job.

Of course by then, much of the damage will be done.

It must be nice to be a Democrat elected official - when things get tough you just run away and hide and let the people you're SUPPOSED to represent dodge the fall out they create.

Posted by: asmith1 | February 23, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I feel like corporate shareholders are taking us all for a ride. That my retirement contributions go toward mutual funds doesn't do much to make me feel any better about it. At the end of the day, we can't all be in the top 20%, and it's more likely than not if one is a wage earner that one is a loser.

The rub is that the active spending and consumption of the bottom 80% is nevertheless required to keep the economy growing. Spare paying the workers, spoil increased consumption.

Posted by: arm3 | February 23, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@krazen1211:
Massive spending differences? Your numbers show all four states with roughly the *same* increase percentage wise over the time period.
.
Try again? :)

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Massive spending differences? Your numbers show all four states with roughly the *same* increase percentage wise over the time period."

I didn't say anything about growth of spending, really, which is somewhat comporable, even if it is higher in Wisconsin.

Rather, its important to point out that the level of spending is higher even today after all the so called 'concenssions' offered by the unions in 2 of those states.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

As Arab people fight for freedom, Americans seem to be fighting to get rid of our rights.

All you GOPers defending these union busting tactics would make good Iranian or Libyan security soldiers.

Could you imagine the uproar if Dems passed a law to remove Limbaugh or Fox news from the air so their voices were silenced? That's what all this union busting is about--silencing your political opponents.

And it's one of many reasons I am no longer a Republican.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 23, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Massive spending differences? Your numbers show all four states with roughly the *same* increase percentage wise over the time period.
"

I wasn't trying to state anything about the growth of spending, which is roughly proportionate.

Rather, if the unions are offering so called 'concessions' and have been for 2 years now, why is the spending still so much higher in the union states?

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"Could you imagine the uproar if Dems passed a law to remove Limbaugh or Fox news from the air so their voices were silenced?"

I have to wonder if Lauren the Republican was outraged at Ohio Democrats ramming through partisan union creating laws.

Naaaaaaaahhhhhh.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Could you imagine the uproar if Dems passed a law to remove Limbaugh or Fox news from the air so their voices were silenced?"

I have to wonder if Lauren the Republican was outraged at Ohio Democrats in 1983 ramming through partisan union creating laws.

Naaaaaaaahhhhhh.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 23, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MosBen | February 23, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"I've seen a number of conservatives jumping to the Koch Bros. defense (or at least deflecting the criticisms) by citing the $43k contributed to Walker's campaign as being relatively small. I've also seen a few liberals then cite to the fact that the Koch's spend $3.5 million on the campaign through indirect contributions. I can't vouch for the latter number, not having done the research myself, but I never see consevatives address it."

Mosben....maybe because it's exceedingly hard to prove the negative. That's why defendants in criminal cases don't have to prove they're innocent and why the prosecution has to prove they're guilty. Nowhere is there any record that anyone has so far uncovered that can be pointed to as "PROOF" that the Koch brothers donated anything but the $43,000 that both they and the Walker campaign reported.I could just as easily make the statement that the George Soros contributed over $4 million to Walker's opponents through shadow companies and un-named associates. How would you go about disproving it? (I don't claim that he did any such thing by the way)

Posted by: Sproing | February 23, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Republicans see nothing wrong with giving billions, even TRILLIONS of dollars in tax breaks to billionaires, but then balk at the thought of letting working class people take home enough money to actually feed their families.

I think that says all anyone ever needs to know about the Party of GREED!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 23, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Walker can hold out much longer than teachers can. Those parents want their kids back in school. I just finished watching "Waiting for Superman" and boy was that an eye opener. I have a new found respect for Michelle Rhee and what she went through with the NEA and AFT unions. No wonder our children aren't getting an education. Next up should be the teachers unions in every state not just WI. If parents watched that DVD and understood how resistant the NEA and AFT were to raising the standards there wouldn't be a teachers union left standing in this country. Time to shut them ALL down.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 23, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Those parents want their kids back in school."

Madison school teachers returned to their school rooms yesterday.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

A very worthwhile and exhaustive analysis of Walker's claim that he "campaigned" on elimination of collective bargaining rights:

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/22/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-he-campaigned-his-/

Bottom line?


"Let’s sum up our research.

Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan.

But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.

While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.

We rate his statement False."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I live in WI. You can't recall someone until they've been in office a year. Next Jan then. The budget crisis for now is manufactured. The first thing he did was pass a $147 million dollar tax break. The union benefits give him $30 million back. BFD. We have 3.6 billion dollar deficit for the next 2 year cycle. The concessions give him $300 million. He was elected with 52% of the voters, but only 25.9% of eligible voters. His challenger got 48 %. Everyone hated the prior governor because of furloug days. Once Walker announces his budget, the real screaming will start. he is going to cut every school, municipality, etc substantially. They are going to be laying off ten thousand people. This showdown is going to be a tempest in a tea pot.

Posted by: Merry1 | February 23, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You can bet Walker wouldn't win that election if it were held today, not by a long shot.

And you can bet the Fascist GOP will lose it's majority next year, too!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 23, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This was a very Breitbart kind of play, (granted sans pimp hat and heavy editing). But you could have had real news had the poseur discussed the Koch carve-out in this very "budget repair bill". One that allows for a no-bid sale of utility assets to companies without oversight. Energy companies like the ones owned by the Koch Brothers.

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | February 23, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Never underestimate the ignorance of the American liberal. Walker CAMPAIGNED to do exactly what he's doing. He was elected.

And his negotiating is brilliant. Despite the abject stupidity of sites like politifact (also for the Birher left) there's no legal way to break collective bargaining terms without also voiding collective bargaining rights.

DUH.

If he had tried, he'd have been sued. Now that the union has agreed to the cuts, all he needs now is the right of members to decline paying dues -- a rather obvious individual liberty.

Once again, Ezra's bias blinds him to the obvious truths.

Wake up and smell the coffee. When one of the most liberal states in America votes to violate union contracts, the writing is on the wall.

There's only one way to bargain with thugs who are trying to overturn an election with mob rule.

Posted by: LibertyIssues | February 23, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Never underestimate the ignorance of the American liberal. Walker CAMPAIGNED to do exactly what he's doing. He was elected"

No, he did not.

A G A I N -

A very worthwhile and exhaustive analysis of Walker's claim that he "campaigned" on elimination of collective bargaining rights:

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/22/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-he-campaigned-his-/

Bottom line?


"Let’s sum up our research.

Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan.

But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.

While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.

We rate his statement False."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Boy, there's a TON of misinformation here today. I can help in one small part regarding the unionization of the TSA. I was the president of a large government union, so I speak from a bit of background. To begin with, federal unions are not allowed to strike, so they have no teeth. (Unlike the UAW, say.) The salaries posted on the GS schedules are fixed by Congress. The unions have nothing to do with that. What the federal unions CAN negotiate is "work conditions." Those involve properly negotiated termination procedures, fairly assigned temporary assignments, use of private vehicles for travel, etc. etc. SOME congressional folks understand this. Many folks posting here apparently don't.

Posted by: TheFrog1 | February 23, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Here's my question .... why is it that the working class person is always the one the politicians go to first to balance a budget? How dare any politician who is in favor of giving tax breaks to the wealthy turn around and say the working class are the ones who have to give in order to balance a budget? What a crock of crap! Furthermore, if this guy is dealing with the Koch brothers, he just lost all credibility as far as I am concerned. The fact that he refuses to negotiate tells me he has an agenda and you can bet it isn't to bless the poor. I don't trust him and from what I've read, some of those who were supporting him are beginning to squirm. The same stuff is happening in several states including my own - it's time we brought some Egypt to these folks.

Posted by: bluedogdem1 | February 23, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

As a differnt spin on this topic Ezra, have you thought about he consequences of the Democrats leaving the state to prevent the Wisconsin state senate from voting on the Republican public worker collective bargaining bill? From now on, now that precedent has been set, Republicans will skip town whenever they are in the minority and the Democratic majority tries to push something through the legislature they don't like. Filibustering can work for both parties.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 23, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

yes imagine the uproar around here if Republicans could have walked out on PPACA votes and had the same effect? Most all liberals would be calling them murderers at this point.

And back to the topic of teachers salaries after briefly reviewing my local public school's salary structure the issue I have most problem with is that it doesn't seem as if pay is capped for anyone in my district. I mean we have a librarian that (admittedly has been the librarian at our public school for 30 years) but she's currently making $90,000 a year. A librarian? At an elementary school? She'll retire eventually at how much per year with lifetime beneifts? A pension worth how much? She hands out books to my first grader. I'm sure there are similar stories all over the country. I've also seen stories of double and triple dipping on pensions and benefits. At some point it needs to stop. no matter what liberals say we can't tax the rich enough to make up for these deficits.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The last right-wing over-reach, nationally coordinated, was the "let's dump Social Security" move by Bush. This is the next one, to kill off the very idea of a labor movement. Behind it all are the same people. They keep coming back. When will America wake up to the fact that our income is being re-distributed upward, the middle class is being killed off, and we are being thrown back to the 18th century by these creeps?

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | February 23, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

so any chance Ezra we'll see any links to this story?

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-seiu-lawsuit-20110223,0,121746.story

maybe instead you'll talk about it on Maddow or Last Word tonight.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 23, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein doesn't think Scott Walker is much of a negotiator? I beg to differ. Within the bounds of the Republican Party, I'd say he is a highly skilled negotiator. He has deft knowledge of the terms of the dialogue and a grasp of the fine points of putting forth the Republican position on most issues.

In other words, he knows how to say, "NO!"

It's all the negotiating skills Republicans have displayed since the 2008 election, and Walker appears to be expert in presenting this position in any and all disputes.

Posted by: Dallas138 | February 23, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Gee Ezra, its the Democrats that are hiding in Illinois, while Wlaker and the Republicans are back in Wisconsin, living in their homes and doing the job they were hired to do - I would think the hiding rats would break first, because Walker isn't giving an inch - and that is why the people of Wisconsin elected him!

Posted by: Realist201 | February 23, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"From now on, now that precedent has been set, Republicans will skip town whenever they are in the minority and the Democratic majority tries to push something through the legislature they don't like. Filibustering can work for both parties."

RobT1-

Now that the precedent has been set?

This is not a new political tactic. The most well-known modern incident of legislators going to a different state to prevent a quorum was the infamous Tom Delay-led effort to redistrict the state of Texas in 2003. 52 Democrats (the "Killer D's") took off for Oklahoma to prevent a quorum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Texas_redistricting

They returned after assurances that the bill would not be introduced during that session of the legislature.

This tactic is not new, and there is no reason to think it will become routine. Such a high stakes game happens only where there is a substantial concern about the legitimacy of the process that is underway.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering...why is the Republican governor of Wisconsin now trying to renege on a contract with the Public Service unions? Was I mistaken in thinking that Republicans were pro-business? Or are they only "Pro-Profits, so long as I get the profits"?

Posted by: TomRiddle | February 23, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I've also seen stories of double and triple dipping on pensions and benefits. At some point it needs to stop. no matter what liberals say we can't tax the rich enough to make up for these deficits.

@ visionbrkr - how would we know if taxes on the rich could alter circumstances? We've never even tried!

Posted by: TomRiddle | February 23, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Never understimate the ignorance of the American liberl .... or (rofl) Patrick_M

@libertyissues "Never underestimate the ignorance of the American liberal. Walker CAMPAIGNED to do exactly what he's doing. He was elected.

And his negotiating is brilliant. Despite the abject stupidity of sites like politifact (also for the Birher left) there's no legal way to break collective bargaining terms without also voiding collective bargaining rights. DUH.

---------------now Patrick-M's bleating

"Never underestimate the ignorance of the American liberal. Walker CAMPAIGNED to do exactly what he's doing. He was elected"

No, he did not.

A G A I N -

A very worthwhile and exhaustive analysis of Walker's claim that he "campaigned" on elimination of collective bargaining rights:

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/22/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-he-campaigned-his-/

---------------------------------------

hahahaha

AGAIN (emphasis added for the thinking impaired)

"And his negotiating is brilliant. DESPITE THE ABJECT STUPIDITY OF SITES LIKE POLITIFACT also for the Birher left) there's no legal way to break collective bargaining terms without also voiding collective bargaining rights. DUH.

-------------------

Politifact is too stupiud to get it. But why are you .... after I explained it. Tell us how Walker can do what he was elected to do -- which we on Planet Earth call breaking a contract --- without also negating the union's power to make such a contract.

Or find some Jr High student to explain it for you.

But thanks for playing, Patrick.

Posted by: LibertyIssues | February 23, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The RNC sure threw this guy under the bus.

Posted by: repudar711 | February 23, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"Tell us how Walker can do what he was elected to do -- which we on Planet Earth call breaking a contract --- without also negating the union's power to make such a contract."

LibertyIssues-

A little more rational analysis and a lot less snark would make you seem semi-serious.

You obviously did not take the time to follow the link and read through all of the facts. Not only did Walker NOT once say he would seek to remove collective bargaining rights, he often talked about strategies that necessarily imply a continuing landscape where the state workforce WOULD be engaged in collective bargaining, and he often described his intentions to NEGOTIATE solutions.

He campaigned on cutting spending, not on union-busting. The stunt he has pulled is a bait-and-switch on the people of Wisconsin. Had he made striking down collective bargaining rights a part of his platform, and had the legislature allowed normal hearings and open debate before scheduling the vote, the 14 Wisconsin legislator would never have gone to Illinois, and the bill would likely be law today.

If you dispute any of the information in the Politifact analysis (after a junior high schooler explains it to you) let us know precisely where it is wrong.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Walker is "governing" in typical Republican fashion - just like Hitler "governed" Germany. Only difference is Hitler wasn't in it for the money.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | February 23, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

vision wrote:

"Oh and thanks for putting the image again in my head of Carla and Jon in bed together. YUK!!!"

Old people need lovin too! (you can add Christie for a threesome if that's a better image)

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

vision:

What the Dems are doing is really no different than what the GOP is doing about health care. They are defunding everything they don't like, regardless whether it passed or not. This tactic will of course eventually cause the breakdown of our legislative government when both parties continue on this course. It is unlikely that either party will be able to achieve the triple of Presidency, House and Senate, so look for more of this in the future, much more. The next time there is a TARP like bailout, look for those opposing it to simply defund the legislation that they can't outvote, and so on.

Eventually only the declaration of birthday greetings to some 110 year old person will be the actual legislative action.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 23, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

the republican party is now in undeniable shambles,
with dangerous and reckless leadership.

one of the results of what is happening in wisconsin,
is going to be the unification, strengthening
and commitment of democrats,
and the democratic party.

the tactics of walker will be the last straw for intelligent americans, now afraid of the moral and intellectual deterioration of the republican party.

the democrats will be moving into 2012, more unified and determined, than ever, especially after what is happening in wisconsin.

Posted by: jkaren | February 23, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, your journolist friends would be proud of this biased article.

As for Gov Walker, I support what he is doing because it reminds me of the kid(s) who got mad and went home with the ball.

Posted by: gfafblifr | February 23, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Esra,

You ask how long can Mr. Walker hold out? At least 4 years. He's been elected Governor, and that term is for four years.

He is the legal representative of the people of Wisconsin, and unless there is a recall election, he is the person who will make the big decisions.

Posted by: papamckie | February 23, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

It has been posted in the above: "It ties in with Republican efforts to kill public broadcasting too well to be a coincidence."

My question is this: Why does the Federal Government need to have a radio station? Is it part of the Constitution? If there is a need for the specific venue of the current public radio stations, then let someone make a job source out of it on their own money, not mine and other taxpayers! It is my money, and I don't want it used for these programs. That's why I voted for the people I have.

Posted by: papamckie | February 23, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker: Koch addict, or Koch sucker?

Posted by: raschumacher | February 23, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the worm has turned, a classic overreach. Time to book that flight to Sharm-El Sheik to visit his fellow defeated dictator.

Posted by: Natmeister | February 23, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Walker like rest of the Republican congrss is a right wing extemist.

Posted by: ak1967 | February 23, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Walker like rest of the Republican congrss is a right wing extemist.

Posted by: ak1967 | February 23, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

As everyone now knows the workers have agreed to give up compensation. The fight is to take away the basic right to collective bargaining, to take us back to the early 1900's. Where is Upton Sinclair now that we need him?

But look, my Dad always told me, "Look at the bottom line, Leonard." Here the bottom line is whether public workers get more in total compensation than comparable private ones. The data are clear. There are many studies. Here are two:

"Jeffrey Keefe, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, said public employees do not make more than comparable private employees. According to Keefe, comparing private and public employees with the same educational level, experience and work schedule shows private employees make 11 percent more in wages and 5 percent more in total compensation than public workers."

The nonpartisan National Institute on Retirement Security found that, on average, total compensation is 6.8 percent less for state employees and 7.4 percent less for local employees than for comparable non-government workers.

And here is a different bottom line.

Only five states do not allow collective bargaining for educators. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores: South Carolina, 50th; North Carolina, 49th; Georgia, 48th; Texas, 47th; Virginia, 44th. Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is 2nd.

Posted by: lensch | February 23, 2011 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Walker is a Reagan fetishist, plain and simple (just read the transcript of the prank call for proof). If he wants to truly honor Saint Ronnie, he will negotiate in good faith. Reagan at least was capable of that.

Posted by: DemoDevil | February 23, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I can't believe the giddy little bastard was dumb enough to babble the whole Republican scheme for world domination to a disembodied voice. A voice that didn't sound anything like an elderly billionaire. For over 25 minutes, this guy goes on. I thought maybe I had tuned into the Daily Show. Could it be that Governor Chatty Cathy is really a double agent for the progressive movement?

Posted by: alarson1 | February 23, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

How long can he "hold out"? Hold out? The answer is real easy: As long as it takes. He holds all the cards and should just tune out the temper tantrums. Time is on his side. Wait them out. The question should be how long the union sissies will hold out. The leeches will lose this one. It is over already. The other question is when are these silly worthless hacks going to understand they lost this battle.

Posted by: tfitzgib | February 23, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The public has been screaming for politicians who address the problem, not just put a bandaid on a problem and then kick the can down the road. The problem in Wisconsin, and a lot of other states, is the process. With public employees having the right to unionize and negotiate like they have, if Walker simply accepts these minimal concessions, in a few years Wisconsin will be right back to where they are. And the unions know that. So, to correct the problem, you need to correct the process. Whey should wisconsin continue to live under a process that was basically established 50 years ago. As Obama said, we need to change how we do things, this is one of those necessary changes.

Posted by: Marin823 | February 23, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, the jig's up. Andrew Sullivan has turned!

Everyone pack their signs up and go home. Nothing to see here.

Posted by: asdf2 | February 23, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"For Americans who don't think the welfare state riots of France or Greece can happen here, we recommend a look at the union and Democratic Party spectacle now unfolding in Wisconsin. Over the past few days, thousands have swarmed the state capital and airwaves to intimidate lawmakers and disrupt Governor Scott Walker's plan to level the playing field between taxpayers and government unions. Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. If those numbers don't sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. Mr. Walker says he has no choice but to make these changes because unions refuse to negotiate any compensation changes.... Wisconsin is running a $137 million deficit this year and anticipates coming up another $3.6 billion short in the next two-year budget. Governor Walker's office estimates the proposals would save the state $300 million over the next two years, and the alternative would be to lay off 5,500 public employees. None of this is deterring the crowds in Madison, aka Mad Town, where protesters, including many from the 98,000-member teachers union, have gone Greek." --The Wall Street Journal

Posted by: Paanofly | February 23, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is about a left wing power-grab. The Democrats were bought and paid for by Soros and the unions to promote their extreme left wing agenda. The liberal/socialists in Wisconsin and elsewhere are so confused that they don't realize they are supporting the interests of the wealthiest unions in this country. They think it is about less government - it is about stabbing the non-union, tax-paying working man in the back in the name of real Socialist ideals promoted by George Soros and union bosses. These poor unfortunate people don't know who is for them and who is using them like pawns to serve their own greedy purposes.

Posted by: Paanofly | February 23, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don't have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the "bosses" of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers.

Far from being careful stewards of the taxpayers' money, politicians are on the same side of the bargaining table as government employees -- against the taxpayers, who aren't allowed to be part of the negotiation. This is why the head of New York's largest public union in the mid-'70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, "We have the ability to elect our own boss."

But government workers think the job of everyone else in the economy is to protect their high salaries, crazy work rules and obscene pensions. They self-righteously lecture us about public service, the children, a "living wage" -- all in the service of squeezing more money from the taxpayer to fund their breathtakingly selfish job arrangements.

There's never a recession if you work for the government. The counties with the highest per capita income aren't near New York City or Los Angeles -- they're in the Washington, D.C., area -- a one-company town where the company is the government. The three counties with the highest incomes in the entire country are all suburbs of Washington. Eleven of the 25 counties with the highest incomes are near Washington.

For decades now, the Democrats have had a good gig buying the votes of government workers with outrageous salaries, benefits and work rules -- and then sticking productive earners with the bill. But, now, we're out of money, no matter how long Wisconsin Democrats hide out in Illinois." —Ann Coulter

Posted by: Paanofly | February 23, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Given the misinformation about unions that appears in many postings, please consider the following definition: "Labor unions in the United States are legally recognized epresentatives of workers in many industries, both public and private" (Wikipedia).

A common misconception is that union members are not taxpayers like everyone else, paying for government services and facilities they may or may not use. As an educator in both private and public educational institutions, I was salaried according to a contract, in at least two of the situtations, negotiated by the union to which I belonged (both public and private venues). The union also protected my rights as an employee (worker) to a safe environment and equitable treatment.

Although I never attended public school nor have I had children in public school, I paid taxes all my life for the benefit of my fellow citizens and their children. At the same time, I paid for my own education in private schools through grade school to university (Ph. D.) level. This was my choice. Over the years (I am 86) it has never occurred to me to complain that others were profiting from my tax payments. I pay taxes primarily because it is my responsibility as a citizen to pay for what the government provides through its workers, its facilities, its services. citizen.

So I find all this outrage against labor unions puzzling. Unions, in both the private and public sectors, represent the interests of their membership. They are the reason our workplaces and working conditions are as good as they are today.

Why is it that those who complain so bitterly about public unions turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the moneyed corporations and the millionaires who pay little or no taxes because of some loophole or arrangement or lobbying success? Today's news reveals that Banque Suisse has been engaging in fraudulently facilitating tax evasion by various American corporate entities, specifically, banks. Not a labor union in sight. Double standard?

Walker gave tax breaks to various corporations, then claimed a budget shortfall and set about scape-goating public employees.

Why are otherwise intelligent people buying into this chicanery?

Posted by: castleb | February 24, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

castleb, your post was the most intelligent one on this whole site. I had six children in public school and now I find out my own two sisters thought that because I had more children then they had then I should have been made to pay more taxes to the schools. People are just selfish. We all have to pay for the things this country needs to make it a better country. Just because a person doesn't drive doesn't mean that he shouldn't have to pay for highways.

Posted by: beagles5 | February 24, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

According to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, Wisconsin is one of the top states in the nation whose pensions and insurance for retiree's are 99.87% funded. The systems are not broken as the governor is claiming. With the health insurance and pension concessions the union workers have already stated they are willing to accept, just as he wants, the rest is just Walkers desire to bust the union. Has nothing to do with cost and is not "kicking the can down the road" because the state will have already won the cost concessions. It is my understanding that the first thing Walker did when he took office is give away millions in state revenue to corporate interests so that now he can claim they can't afford the workers. Seems pretty disingenuous to me. Give millions back into the pockets of the very wealthy and then trying to take away money from the middle class. It is nothing but union busting for political purpose because Republicans know that the unions don't usually support Republicans. But what this governor is trying to do will harm the middle class more than any other single act that he is trying to accomplish.

Posted by: alaskan2 | February 24, 2011 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Geez...If it worked one time, why not try again, (Walker truly does not seem that bright).

How 'bout this:

'Is Governor Walker in? I have Jesus on the line for him?...Yes, I'll hold.... "Hello, Governor, Jesus here....

Posted by: MARTinNJ | February 24, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Where were all these democrat negotiators when health care was being crammed down our throats? Oh yeah, they were in back rooms cutting deals with their own party members.

Posted by: dcharlson | February 24, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think the mistake that idealouges on the left and right make is that they perceive a simple elective majority as a mandate for their entire personal or party agenda. "It's what the people want"... I am so sick of that justification, on both sides. Most of America lives in the middle. One shouldn't view being elected has a mandate for their personal agenda being representative of "the people" on every single issue. Historically the way politics is played, is that positions are staked out on extreme ends --- knowing that common sense compromise is availabe in the midde. Gov. Walker staked out an exteme position. Then, the unions called his bluff --- and actually offered concessions. This would've been a historic victory for Walker. But now, by just sticking to his extreme position, and claiming its representative of "what the people" want, inidcates a lack of self-awareness of how politics is truly played, and how probably half of Wisconsin feels. The Dems may have overreached with Healthcare, and voters reminded them that most people live in the middle, and put them in their place. Walker and the Reps. didn't quite get that lesson, and are overreaching here. Soon enough, voters will remind Gov. Walker and his party that again, most people live in the middle. We want stuff done. Not idealouges.

I know that that ultimately voters of Wisconsin will do the right thing. whether it be in the short term, or the long term. And, as a die hard Vikings fan, it's tough for me to provide such a positive endorsement of the Packer-loving crowd.

Posted by: jimschonrock | February 24, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

yuk,yuk,yuk, bust all the unions then the right will dominate the work place, bring back the 7 day work week,no disability,no sick leave,50 hour weeks, no child labor laws and more get it dumbass', like it I thought not. Unions would be back within 5 years.
Walker pulled this crap when a munincipal loser leader, layed off all the security people replaced them with slugs with a ciminal record leader. Lost that battle and cost the city 30 million when he had to rehire the original workers. Yeah a real "genius" and those who elected him typical of the new american electorate, reality tv smart, political IDIOTS voting against thier own economic welfare.lmao

Posted by: gogatorsgo | February 24, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know that Senator Wirch is thinking about selling the Governors mansion. If this happens where is poor Scott Walker going to live. Also wanted to say he doesn't give any hard facts to making sense to this bargaining deal with Teachers. Scott Walker is a hypicrote. I would really like to see him Impeached for what he is doing.

Posted by: cflood41 | February 25, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

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