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Posted at 8:54 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Was what Scott Walker did legal?

By Ezra Klein

Assuming Scott Walker’s procedural maneuvering last night was legal — and, as I’ll explain in a moment, there are some questions about that — then it was also legitimate. Certainly as legitimate as the Democrats fleeing the state to deny the Republicans quorum. They did something procedurally extraordinary to stop the bill from being passed, and he did something procedurally extraordinary to get the bill passed.

It seems to me that the system worked. Democrats were able to slow the process down and convince both voters in Wisconsin and the national media that there was something beyond business as usual happening in Madison. National and state polls show they were successful in that effort. Walker and the Senate Republicans ignored the Democrats’ attempts at compromise and ignored the public turning against them and decided to pass the legislation anyway.

That was their prerogative, and now it’s up to the voters to decide whether to recall the eight Senate Republicans who are eligible for judgment this year, and to defeat Walker and the other Republicans in a year or two, when they become vulnerable to a recall election. That’s how representative democracy, for better or worse, works. The representatives can make unpopular decisions, but the voters can punish them for it. I thought that during the health-care debate, and I think that now — though I would be interested to see whether any of the conservative voices who were shocked and appalled by President Obama’s decision to ignore public opinion and finish health-care reform using the reconciliation process are calling for Walker’s head today. If not, I think they need to ask themselves what makes this case different.

As for the legality, this part is a bit murky to me, but there appear to be at least two question: First, did the rewritten bill really count as non-fiscal, and second, did the effort at passage violate Wisconsin’s “open meetings” law? You can read Barry Pump struggle through some of these questions here. Then there’s the issue of the legislation itself: Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Lagley holds that it violates the state constitution. I simply don’t know enough to evaluate any of these claims, but this effort is worth keeping an eye on. And here again, there’s a striking similarity to the immediate aftermath of the health-care reform law.

By Ezra Klein  | March 10, 2011; 8:54 AM ET
 
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Comments

Walker will be in awkward position of publicly saying that HULK SMASHing of unions is purely a fiscal measure and arguing in courts that the bill isn't fiscally relevant at all.

Happily, it will force the lefties to verbally bifurcate as well.

Similar to with the PPACA where publicly Reps call the tax/penalty a tax and claim it clearly isn't a tax at all in the courts, and Dems say the opposite.

Posted by: eggnogfool | March 10, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Except that HCR had already passed both chambers, and reconciliation is not remotely "extraordinary" in congress. It's done for bills all the time. In fact, one could say we had the "extraordinary" situation of a leader of the bill dying in the middle of his term.

I'm already annoyed at the people who are trying to shoe-horn the bills together as being handled in the same way in order to fit some grand theory of politics. They are not the same.

Posted by: evietoo | March 10, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Apples and oranges. Evietoo is correct, Ezra You do your readers a profound disservice with this none-too-bright false equivalency, even if you work for the "on the one hand"/"on the other hand"-fetishizing WaPo.

Posted by: scarlota | March 10, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh how I missed my daily dose of Ezra while I was in Australia the past few weeks.

@Chris_Gaun
chrisgaun@gmail.com

Posted by: chrisgaun | March 10, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It would appear to be legitimate since it includes nothing about collective bargaining concerning PAY. The rest is simply about what may not be included in union collective bargaining.

News outlets are reporting that protesters are now smashing windows in the capitol...Hello Greece. But what else would we expect of people who just like a good opportunity to make trouble. What do these people not understand about taxpayers no longer willing to support a lifestyle for others that they can not enjoy themselves

Posted by: OregonStorm | March 10, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

HCR and what Scott Walker did aren't anywhere near close to the same.

You know the polling Ezra...majority of people wanted the benefits of HCR. We passed it in both chambers...and reconciliation just tweaked it. There is a difference between doing a patch job on something that already passed and starting from scratch with a bill with a strong public option and ramming it through.

Posted by: fausto412 | March 10, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

How about "subterfuge" as an explanation? The WI Republicans don't care if it's legal or not, as long as it gets the Democrats back in the state. When the Dems are back, they call the vote in the Senate, pass the original bill, done deal.

*Then* it's legal. Until Walker is recalled next year.

Posted by: RalphKramden | March 10, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that, assuming everything done was legal, procedural maneuvering is fair game, the extent to which the ACA was passed through extraordinary measures was always very over played. It would have been fair game to pass the ACA through reconciliation. It was a bill written to go through that process without upsetting the rules that govern it, and the opposition certainly had all the time in the world to object, contribute, and make their case to the public. There were no tricks used; no 2am votes.

Even if the WI bill was completely legal, its passage involved far more tricky legislative maneuvering. Again, I'm ok with legislators maximizing their legislative options. I hope and expect that the voters will hold them accountable, for good or ill, for their actions. This simply isn't, however, like the passage of the ACA.

I am interested in the reactions of Republicans that bemoaned the process used to pass the ACA though. If they thought the Dems did something underhanded there, they must think the WI GOP's actions are outright criminal. I bet most of the more respectable national Republicans clam up about this.

Posted by: MosBen | March 10, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"News outlets are reporting that protesters are now smashing windows in the capitol"

You mean like the protesters in Tunisia or Libya? Good -- the despot running the state of Wisconsin has the same moral fiber as Ben Ali or Gaddafi.

Posted by: curtisjasper | March 10, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Wisconsin Still must pass the Budget part of the Bill. What happens if that doesn't occur?

It's not time for the Democrats to return!

Republicans Wanted to Shutdown the Government and they just might get a Shutdown in Wisconsin Government by proxy. I hope the Democrats hold Wisconsin Hostage demanding a Repeal!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 10, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I defended the use of reconciliation then and I defended it now -- but it was an unusual way to pass that bill. And though you could find support for many of the policies in the health-care law in polls, the bill itself polled quite poorly, and that's ultimately what mattered -- if you'd put it to a vote in public, there's every reason to believe it would've failed.

I have strong and longstanding views about majoritarianism that I've expressed repeatedly on this blog. I don't think anyone should be surprised by my take here, or think it's some sort of effort at offering false equivalence. Minorities should be able to slow things down in extraordinary circumstances, but majorities should be able to pass laws, and then voters should be able to judge them.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | March 10, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The window smashing reports are bogus.

Posted by: rljacob | March 10, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein,

You are absolutely correct. I thank you for your consistency and honesty.

Posted by: cartmaneric | March 10, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This bill, as majority leader Scott Fitzgerald said, was a bill to hurt the chances of the opposition in upcoming national elections.
There's an aspect of the false equivalency that I have not seen discussed. Polls showed that the provisions of the health care bill were (except for the mandate) were supported by a majority - even though "the bill" had been demonized.
In Wisconsin it is the actual content of the bill that is opposed by the majority of people and the bill last night contained the least popular provisions. It's as if the democrats had used a procedural trick to impose ONLY the mandate.

Posted by: bill_who | March 10, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"News outlets are reporting that protesters are now smashing windows in the capitol"

The only place I've read that is Fox?
Naturally they are Bogus!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 10, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

my main question is why did it take a month to think of this. At least Dems were smart enough to write rules for reconcilation for HCR in the chance that they needed to use it for things they were concerned that they wouldn't get thru regular order.

oh and curtisjasper, As of right now I don't think we've seen Governor Walker ordering the State Police to murder insurgents and I'm sure we would have heard about that by now.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 10, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The irony in all of this was that it was the anger over the way that the Democrats shoved the massive and unaffordable health care legislation down our throats that led to the election of Scott Walker and large Republican majorities in many state legislative bodies. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, many liberal heads are spinning. I have to give Ezra credit for being consistent.

Posted by: cummije5 | March 10, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

One trip-up for Walker and co. is their early claim that the roll-backs DO have an impact on fiscal policy. If this is the case, then they cannot defend their move as completely divorced of fiscal motive. They can't have it both ways -- either the move was purely political, or it was an attempt to address fiscal concerns. One loses them a legal battle, the other will kill the GOP in Wisconsin for years.

Posted by: curtisjasper | March 10, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

As the empirical evidence of hypocrisy and malignant purpose on the part of the Professional Left piles up, the propaganda machine (aka: the mainstream media) is cranking up the doublespeak in order to rally their sycophants to the Progressive cause. Speaking as one of those bigoted, gun-toting racist Republicans, it has been clear to me for some time that the United States is approaching it's second Civil War. The futility of armed conflict in this electronic age is self-evident. The edifice of totalitarianism and corrupt government has no bricks and mortar bastions to be torn down. It may only be found in the person of the entrenched exploiteurs of their illicit public authorities, their battalions of so-called public advocacy corporations, all bound together by the razor wire of Utopian fascism Orwell described with such prescience in 1949:

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them."

This outcome of this war will depend upon the ability of the American people to discern the truth, in a nation subsumed by contempt for individual liberty.

Posted by: thomas777 | March 10, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Democrats Should stay away NOT Allow Walker's Budget to pass and Shut Down Wisconsin.

Repeal Should be on the table!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 10, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

TWO THINGS

1.) Both political parties are corrupt and use their unthinking follows!!

2.) Who are the Koch brothers??

Why fight among ourselves??

Whatever happened to that government by the people for the people?
It seems to have vanished........

We now have a Cashrarocy, instead of a Democracy in this country.

When are the American people going to stop being sheep??

Posted by: bkarpus | March 10, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"oh and curtisjasper, As of right now I don't think we've seen Governor Walker ordering the State Police to murder insurgents and I'm sure we would have heard about that by now."

Trust me -- if an obvious sociopath like Walker could get away with killing off the opposition, he wouldn't hesitate to do so. He's a disciple of Nixon, and if he could have G. Gordon Liddy strangling people he didn't like he would be there in a flash. Fortunately (for now), we live in country where a despot like Walker can only exercise a tiny fraction of the tyranny he would like to practice.

Posted by: curtisjasper | March 10, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

My issue with the comparison to PPACA is that Dems campaigned on health care reform and promised to pass such legislation on the campaign trail.

Walker never mentioned collective bargaining rights before election day.

I agree with your general point - the minority party shouldn't be able to stop the majority from doing what they want to do, though they should have influence.

Posted by: eggnogfool | March 10, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Violence (smashing windows) in support of one's cause is inexcusable. The media was all over the Tea Party for behavior that was much more civil. Let's see if the media calls these left-wing fringe protestors and their organizers to account for violence in support of their cause. Double standard, anyone?

Posted by: JM80 | March 10, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Wait -- so the only FAUX News article that was up about window smashing by unions has already been already down? Whoops! As usual, the right-wingers jumped the gun because they were frothing at the mouth for a way to take a stab at unions. Hopefully the people of this country will someday hold FAUX accountable for its shoddy journalism.

Posted by: curtisjasper | March 10, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

should read *already been takenb down

Posted by: curtisjasper | March 10, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr:
"my main question is why did it take a month to think of this. At least Dems were smart enough to write rules for reconcilation for HCR in the chance that they needed to use it for things they were concerned that they wouldn't get thru regular order."

They probably were aware of this all along, but when your core argument is that the collective bargaining eradication is a purely fiscal measure, it is awkward to say it isn't fiscally related at the same time.

At this point the only people left on their side is the 'bust unions at all costs' crowd, and they won't lose any of them if they lack an intellectually consistent position when they bust unions. Where a compromise would have lost that last bastion of support.

Posted by: eggnogfool | March 10, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@curtisjasper,

so why hasn't Governor Walker done it. Why haven't we heard from the state police that he's ordered the murder of thousands of protestors? I'm sure word of that would have leaked by now, right? your digging yourself into a hole of lunacy and you're not helping your cause.

And I too have to give kudos to Ezra for being consistent even in the face of some of his fellow liberals bashing him on here.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 10, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The Senate Clerk and other bodies have already signed off on these bills and these actions.

Who cares about Rachel Maddow's crying?

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 10, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There always seem to be more comments from Walker-supporters than polls would indicate there should be. Public opinion of left, moderate and even some on the right is firmly AGAINST Walker, and pro the unions' rights to collective bargaining.

But the rightwing, especially the Koch brothers, employ ARMIES of public relations shills whose job it is, in the guise of ordinary contributors, to troll news sites, Wikipedia and blogs to post comments that further their points of view.

See http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/09/koch-wikipedia-sock-puppet/ for a piece about how Koch's PR team was busted for messing with Wikipedia. There's a mention here of just how extensive these efforts are elsewhere. And remember that the Koch Bros are behind Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, and Citizens United, and are significantly involved in the tea party movement funding and "grassroots" organization.

Posted by: george_penwick | March 10, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The important question is who did the system work for and how was such accomplished. Nations are composed of citizens holding different ideals, interests and beliefs and fairness is essential to maintaining stability, harmony and trust. Escalating costs of mounting political campaigns have allowed opportunity to corrupt our political process posing great danger to our political system and unequally represented citizenry.
Our Court tells us we must abide by such but common sense reveals that our many citizens hold more knowledge and more power than the few in our Courts, the few in government and the few corruptors.

Posted by: reenie10 | March 10, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

You can bet the Republicans won't have a majority after the NEXT election!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | March 10, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@Vision

This option was always on the table from the start. They didn't just think of it.

It's really a duplication of the bill passed by Ohio Democrats in 1983. Ohio Democrats were elected with AFL-CIO support and rammed through a bill creating public sector unions on a 17-16 party line vote.

Shame, shame, shame!

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 10, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The voters are not going to allow a recall of Republicans that they elected for one thing, secondly why are you not mentioning the recall of the Democrats who fled the state in dereliction of their sworn duty? By prolonging this they caused the state millions of dollars. Millions in their pay, in sick benefits for teachers with fraudulent sick notes from bogus doctors, millions in repairs and clean up of the building that the union thugs left behind. Live ammunition was found on the property, Republicans were verbally and physically assaulted. Money is being spent for police and security to keep the members from harm from union thugs. The Republicans gave them nearly 3 weeks to settle this, there should be no "surprise" they knew it was not going to last forever. I think after so long, they wo0uld be considered residents of Illinois, and therefore not eligible to serve in Wisconsin. Why is it when they held the majority, they griped when the Republicans voted NO on their bills, at least they showed up for work. Democrats have taken "the only way is our way or the highway", reasoning. As a famous person once said "We won, get over it!" Did they think since they were booted out that they were still going to get a majority vote on their proposals? They say they are listening to their constituents, that is hogwash, their citizens are for the most part, non-union, who is listening to them? They are lucky that their shenanigans have not cost anyone their life yet. If that were to happen, it would be squarely on the shoulder5s of the Democrats, for holding democracy hostage. This is shameful conduct upon Democrats who were elected to do a job, and failed to do so, costing untold amounts of money to the state of Wisconsin. So, I guess what needs to be done now is for Republicans to take a page out of the Democrat playbook all across this country? If the Democrats are not going to do what you say...leave the state indefinitely? I doubt that will ever happen, Republicans are honorable Americans who believe in the democratic process, even if they are in the minority. They will go speak for their constituents and if all else fails, get more people elected next election cycle and change things then. Now, maybe the State can stop paying thousands of teachers who sit in rooms across the state being paid while they are being disciplined and not teaching, or stop paying the bus drivers that are making 150K a year part time... the ridiculous spending needs to stop, and with Walker, the buck stops here.

Posted by: trixlette | March 10, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama's Reelection Chances"

In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly moments ago, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), one of Walker’s closest allies in the legislature, confirmed the true political motive of Walker’s anti-union push. Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement. Specifically, he said that the destruction of unions will make it “much more difficult” for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin:

FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.

Posted by: ebproducer | March 10, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@ebproducer,

I get that but does he not think far enough along to realize that labor unions outside of Wisconsin will funnel money into Wisconsin to re-elect a Democratic Governor next time as well as Democratic legislators?

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 10, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't the GOP just wait the 24 hours, meet the explicit terms of the open meeting law, and then pass the law as they were going to anyway?

1. They saw public opinion was 2 to 1 against them.

2. The GOP caucus was already starting to fracture--one Republican voted against their move.

3. The demonstrators failed to oblige the GOP Propaganda machine (aka Fox News) by getting violent.

Any anti-American (aka conservative) posters want to try to explain why this measure had to be passed last night rather than tonight?

Posted by: franklin411 | March 10, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@OregonStorm wrote:News outlets are reporting that protesters are now smashing windows in the capitol...Hello Greece. But what else would we expect of people who just like a good opportunity to make trouble. What do these people not understand about taxpayers no longer willing to support a lifestyle for others that they can not enjoy themselves
___________________________________________

First, Since the protest started weeks ago, the police thanked the protesters for not breaking the laws that govern society. Second, get real with your accusations and remember, the right to assemble is a protected right. Until someone can prove violence has broken out, you are just another loud mouth. And as for as tax payers not willing to support a lifestyle for others they can not enjoy themselves, maybe you should join a union than or maybe just get a job. Either way, no one is supporting them, what part of they accepted all the governors request to pay more for.......you do not get? Collective bargaining does not cause fiscal problems because if it did, why is Texas in such fiscal problems? Texas has no collective bargaining and is in $27 billion deficit. Also, the governors of Texas has been republicans, George Bush(b4 he became president) and the current governor is some fake fiscal conservative republican. And yeah, he is not a RINO, he is the darling of the republican party and yet has increased Texas deficit. So this nonsense about collective bargaining and deficit is a right wing stupidity. And one more point, tax payers are also tired of giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, supporting a lifestyle we ourselves can not enjoy. If you are going to make a argument against collective bargaining and tax payer support, get your facts straight first.

Posted by: Realistic5 | March 10, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line is if you are not wealthy in America, you are screwed. It is now open class warfare on the American middle class and poor. Greed knows no boundary.

Posted by: YadaYada1 | March 10, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Violence (smashing windows) in support of one's cause is inexcusable. The media was all over the Tea Party for behavior that was much more civil. Let's see if the media calls these left-wing fringe protestors and their organizers to account for violence in support of their cause. Double standard, anyone?

Posted by: JM80
-------------

Link to window-smashing reports?

You mean this? http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/117729863.html

Police tried to restrict entry into the Capitol, some protesters forced open a bathroom window and entered through it.

Opening a window is not window smashing. But never doubt FoxRightWing will create Reichstag fires out of anything so mundane.

Posted by: hitpoints | March 10, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

My inner optimist says that this is a shark-jumping moment for the WI GOP, and maybe the GOP in a larger sense. People identify with protesters in the streets - almost no matter what they are protesting. And in this case, as people looked into what the hub-bub was about, they thought the unions were on the right side. There was also a developing narrative in which the will of the WI GOP seemed to be breaking and the move last night went sharply against that. It does make the WI GOP look over-reaching, underhanded, and willing to bend or break rules. For those paying attention, it also suggests that none of this was ever about the budget in the first place.

I think this puts what the GOP is up to in other states and maybe even at the national level in sharper focus. And Michelle Bachmann don't look good in sharper focus.

Posted by: willows1 | March 10, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

consistency for the sake of being consistent is of not use.

the problem here is the feeling between the conservatives and the rest. My take is that the ruling conservatives declared war on the middle class, class war, while the rest of the people, Klein is very representative of them, still think inside the box.

Just ask yourself the question when you compare the two cases: if there had been large scale demonstration going on at the whitehouse against the health care reform, would the democratic still pass it?

The two parties are not equal. The majority of the people in this country don't have a force that represent their financial interest. Opinion leaders like you tend to look at everything from a technical point of view and think that as long as it is legal, it is good. Maybe one day, the republican takes control of all branches of the government, they pass a law that says we should allow people to work more than 8 hours or we should allow children to work freely or banning minimum wage against waves of protests, would you still say that system worked? I would say the system is just too rigged against common people.

Posted by: amicus_mass | March 10, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Legal or not, Gov Walker has spent the last month vigorously claiming that this was not about busting unions but purely a fiscal issue.
.
Now they pass the 'union busting' as something that is expressly 'not fiscal'?
.
Hypocrisy will be their undoing. If you take away unions ability to bargain they are left with only the ballot box as their last weapon. WI will see a massive turnout in the next few elections and it won't be for the GOP.

Posted by: rpixley220 | March 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Considering that the original intent of the legislation was to be a "budget repair bill" and since the only aspect of the legislation that has been passed is the "non-fiscal" element, it seems premature to say that "the system worked." This story is not over.

The budget has not been repaired, the Wisconsin Senate does not yet have a quorum, and the protests are likely to grow and become more fierce in the days ahead.

If this is how it looks when the system works, I'd hate to see how it looks when it fails.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

No one is smashing windows in Madison. Good grief, where do you people get your news??? I get mine straight from the source. A friend of mine works for the DNR in Madison, just down from the capitol. However, some drunk guy from Minnesota disrupted the movie "Rango" in a theatre in Lake Delton (near Wis. Dells). He was obnoxious and urinated in the theatre.

Posted by: missingwisc | March 10, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"The window smashing reports are bogus."

I'm shocked -- SHOCKED!! -- that Fox would misrepresent the actions of the protestors. Fox has been trying all along to portray the protestors as violent union thugs, to the point of running old footage of a shoving match with tell-tale California palm trees waving in the background.

Posted by: Janine1 | March 10, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"However, some drunk guy from Minnesota disrupted the movie 'Rango' in a theatre in Lake Delton (near Wis. Dells). He was obnoxious and urinated in the theatre."

See? Out-of-state agitators!

Posted by: Janine1 | March 10, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Democrats/Unions = DRAMA QUEENS; CIRCUS ACT
The Vast Majority of Americans, taxpayers,
middle class - DON'T HAVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
Democrats need to stop Politicizing and Personalizing decisions that this country faces.
We need problem solvers, instead of politicians "running away" from their job.
Democrats/Unions are setting a bad example for our young.

Posted by: ohioan | March 10, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Ezra,

You know I've been on these boards long enough to call your opinions misinformed, often ill-conceived, and at times just plain wrong. But this may be the first time I've felt compelled to say you are being stupid.

No one on either side of the political aisle who followed any of the news could ever agree with your statement that "the Senate Republicans ignored the Democrats’ attempts at compromise".

We just read a couple days ago that the Walker emails released under a freedom of information request proved he had done just that: offered points of compromise with Democrats. But it became quickly evident that Democrats were only blowing smoke about 'compromise', and had NO intention of actually doing so.

So Walker and the GOP was left with no choice but to trump the childish, immature, and disingenious game the Democrats were playing.

You are frequently wrong, Ezra. But this time you are just plain stupid....or lying to people. Which is it?

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

janine1 & missingwisc:

This from an NPR (a solid left-wing fishwrap)article just moments ago on the activities at the Wisconsin statehouse this morning:
"At one point, there were so many people pushing their way through the building's entrances that police just gave up trying to stop them."

Pushing and shoving and igoring police? Is this how you leftists define "peaceful"?

Wonder what would be said in the press this morning if it was Tea Party members instead of union thugs who were screaming and shoving police around.

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Trixlette you are so misguided. First of not only WILL the voters allow a recall of republicans, they ARE. And you do not hear about the democratic recall because there is absolutly no support for it. And union thugs? Really? I am in Madison right now and I will tell you the people you are calling union thugs are middle class working people. Many of whom are not part of any union. You must be republican to classify middle class working people as thugs. Windows breaking, violence? It simply is not happening. And as far as listening to constituents, that is exactly what the democrats are doing. They are still working for us, the people of Wisconsin. Not just the 1% at the top. Republicans honorable? Speaking for their constituents? This is laughable. If they were this would not be happening. You seem to think this is all about money and that is simply untrue. It is about power and breaking not only unions but the middle class. If Walker has his way, we would be a two class social system. Rich and poor. And guess which class almost all of the "former" middle class would fall into? POOR!! That is not what the people of Wisconsin elected these officials to do. Republicans have each other and corporations. What do the working class have? Democrats and unions. There are alot more of us than you. So who is working for who? Who is listening to their constituents? Madison is a city filled with very educated people. To call these regular people "thugs" for standing up to the machine is not only insulting but completley inaccurate. Come join me and see for yourself. One thing is for sure. Republicans are DONE in Wisconsin for a very long time. They may take the battle, but we the people must win the war.

Posted by: william20 | March 10, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Ezra: By all means, ask the Republicans your question, but don't forget to ask the Democrats why it was ok to do parliamentary maneuvers to pass health care but it is not OK to do the same in Wisconsin.

Posted by: GeneWells | March 10, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

amicus_mass:
"if there had been large scale demonstration going on at the whitehouse against the health care reform, would the democratic still pass it?"

Obviously, yes. Because that's exactly what happened. Protestors came out in droves around Capitol Hill, every poll showed waning support for the PPACA....yet Democrats shoved ahead and passed it anyway.

Next illogical question?

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Trixlette you are so misguided. First of not only WILL the voters allow a recall of republicans, they ARE. And you do not hear about the democratic recall because there is absolutly no support for it. And union thugs? Really? I am in Madison right now and I will tell you the people you are calling union thugs are middle class working people. Many of whom are not part of any union. You must be republican to classify middle class working people as thugs. Windows breaking, violence? It simply is not happening. And as far as listening to constituents, that is exactly what the democrats are doing. They are still working for us, the people of Wisconsin. Not just the 1% at the top. Republicans honorable? Speaking for their constituents? This is laughable. If they were this would not be happening. You seem to think this is all about money and that is simply untrue. It is about power and breaking not only unions but the middle class. If Walker has his way, we would be a two class social system. Rich and poor. And guess which class almost all of the "former" middle class would fall into? POOR!! That is not what the people of Wisconsin elected these officials to do. Republicans have each other and corporations. What do the working class have? Democrats and unions. There are alot more of us than you. So who is working for who? Who is listening to their constituents? Madison is a city filled with very educated people. To call these regular people "thugs" for standing up to the machine is not only insulting but completley inaccurate. Come join me and see for yourself. One thing is for sure. Republicans are DONE in Wisconsin for a very long time. They may take the battle, but we the people must win the war.

Posted by: william20 | March 10, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Fact: Public employees are paid far more and receive far better benefits than private sector employees.
Fact: The higher salaries and benefits enjoyed by public sector employees is a result of government not having the incentives to negociate like the private sector does. Public unions are negotiating with the very people they helped elect
Fact: Public sector and especially teachers have held the American people (especially children) hostage too many times
Fact: It is the American people working in the private sector who pay for the higher salaries and benefits enjoyed by public sector employees.

It is time to for the American people to take control of this situation. The situation in Wisconsin should serve as a model for the rest of the state, local, and federal government. It is time for the American people to put an end to the higher salaries and benefits paid to public employees.

We must continue to VOTE THEM OUT!!!

Posted by: AngryMobVoter | March 10, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Was what Scott Walker did legal?

Doesn't matter - we have a cowardly Undercover Republican in the White House and over at the DoJ - so it's cool!

Posted by: question-guy | March 10, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Dear Hysterical Democrats,

In all your posts decrying what's happened in Wisconsin you weep and wail that this will be the end of the middle class, this will take us all back to sweat shops and child labor, ad nauseum.

Tell me, then. Since Walker's proposal simply gives state politicians the same levers in negotiating with state workers that Obama already has and is using in dealing with federal workers, why is Walker a 'fascist' and Obama is not?

Yep, that's correct...even the largest federal employee union (AFGE) agreed that the proposal in Wisconsin would merely bring state workers bargaining rights back in line with the bargaining rights of federal workers. You wouldn't know that reading Ezra or other left-wingers this morning, would you?

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I think your column is accurate however, I while I think the fervor created by the Tea Party might be comparable to the feeling of betrayal by Wisconsin voters, I am not sure the rest of the Health Reform Analogy works.

Obama said during his campaign that he would try to reform Health Care. Walker did not say during his campaign that he would take away collective bargaining rights.

Obama negotiated quite a bit with business leaders, health officials and Republicans. There has been no negotiation in Wisconsin on this budget, or the budget repair bill.

Releasing a few emails that "prove" you are negotiating and using that as a trick to rush through a bill in 10 minutes is not the same as a year long debate with public meetings, town halls, and hearings on the matter.

Posted by: georgia198305 | March 10, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@william20
I also am in Wisconsin and have been to Madison. I agree with you. These are middle class people, not thugs.

I don't think it is worth it anymore to discuss this. Let's just focus on recalling the senators who are willing to sell Wisconsin out to rich people from out of state.

Posted by: georgia198305 | March 10, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

William20, nice job shining the light of reason on Trixlette's ravings. I would just add one thing: If she really thinks that spending three weeks in a neighboring state makes you a legal resident, then I can only conclude she has no problem with the status of all the undocumented workers coming across the U.S. border from Mexico!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | March 10, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"...I would be interested to see whether any of the conservative voices who were shocked and appalled by President Obama’s decision to ignore public opinion and finish health-care reform using the reconciliation process are calling for Walker’s head today. If not, I think they need to ask themselves what makes this case different..."

Yes, well, that's the rub isn't it?

Kind of like the sudden outcry against deficit spending and expansion of entitlements beginning the day G. W. Bush left the White House. It's easier to believe people have principles when they apply them equally. When they don't, you have to look for other motivations, e.g. power, "tribal" allegiances and so forth. I think we know what most things masking as political principle are really about, sadly.

Posted by: SageThrasher | March 10, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Was this legal. Probably. Are recalls legal, yes. Will 8 republicans be voted out of office, yes. Will the governor be recalled, yes. Will the state of Wisconsin be in a state of chaos for a generation, yes.

Re: "Wisconsin Democrats claim Republicans violated the state open meetings law with a hastily convened meeting before the Senate passed a bill that takes away most collective bargaining rights from nearly all public workers."


==> The Special Section makes anything possible... the meeting can be called at any time for any reason and the partial veto can be used to abuse any situation.

The only issue really, is related to your point is the non-fiscal aspect, but with the partial-veto option, once again, anything can be done. Wisconsin represents the worst possible form of democracy, it's a joke! The only thing left is a revolt, because the system of government is simply broken and this is related to the fact that Capitalism is also broken. America is about to undergo serious systemic changes not seen since the Revolutionary War.

Posted by: Recall_confederate_senators | March 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

trixlette's ignorance is stunning. The only thing more concerning is that he or she spent so much time proving it to us. The bottom line is... if the R's in Wisconsin thought this "new" procedure was the right thing to do, they would have done it 3 weeks ago.

Posted by: dbdc | March 10, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Re: "The voters are not going to allow a recall of Republicans that they elected for one thing ..."


==> Is this the neo-teabagger thinking and partyline, or is that just you being a retarded idiot having a daydream?

Posted by: Recall_confederate_senators | March 10, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

There is DIFFERENCE between collective bargaining in its definitinal standard and what has evolved in the country as "collective bargaining." The steps that municipalities, towns, cities, and states have to go through- with feet on fire- to dismiss a poor performer, an absent performed, a thieving performer, or just an underperforming one who despite counseling shows neither sign or intention of trying to improve- the cost is staggering. In NY it can take $300,000 to "fire" a non-performing teacher. That's a lot of money that should be going to the students. The teachers, who are supposed to be concerned about the students allow this to go on. They know themselves who the duds are- but the system, that could be working better to benefit good performers, instead rewards the bad. And this is not just the teachers- it's public works, it's motor vehicles, it's parks & rec., and it's police and fire and EMS. If you don't have at least three stories that you can recite about municipal employees that are irksome- then you propbably are one of the municipal employees.

Posted by: poppysue85 | March 10, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: "if the R's in Wisconsin thought this "new" procedure was the right thing to do, they would have done it 3 weeks ago."

This was a story in several places a month ago, and this option could have been used, thus why did they decide to go ahead and pour gas on the fire? The tactical switch may have been related to the failure of the release of their email negotiation a few days ago (which didn't turn out well).

This option used to ram the vote through looks very desperate and it's just stunning that these type of people are unable to step back and think about what they are doing. They are in a rage and that lack of control on the republican side just fuels hate from the voters ... are they really that stupid ... yes!

Posted by: Recall_confederate_senators | March 10, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

georgia198305 has it exactly right. The major problem with the "legitimacy" of the Wisconsin law has been the process.


The collective bargaining provisions were rolled out as a complete surprise on a Friday, with a timetable to passage within five calendar days. The Republicans have now risked putting their own law in legal jeopardy, by not even honoring the 24 hour notice provision, in order to hand the people a fait accompli, rather than allowing for open hearings and public debate.

In this sense, any analogy to ACA completely falls apart. Part of what made health care reform so unpopular to some voters was that the legislative process was so extensive, with multiple committees conducting lengthy hearings running on for many months. The reform was a prominent part of Obama's platform, it came as no surprise when it was introduced, constituents provided input to their representatives over the course of a full year, as the law was debated and scrutinized in the Congress and in the media, before being passed by both houses of Congress and then harmonized by the same budget reconciliation process (which has existed for decades, and which was employed by Republicans to pass the Bush tax cuts).

We now have court battles over the constitutionality of one or two of the PPACA's provisions. This is entirely different from the likely court battles ahead in Wisconsin, which will center on the legality of the process used to pass the law.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Again, I think party-line votes are fine (though a regrettable artifact of our system), as is manipulating legislative rules to maximally benefit your position. We have rules for a reason; playing within them is fair. If we don't like the extremes permitted by our rules then we should change the rules.

But no matter what I think of the WI GOP's actions, this really isn't the same thing as what happened with the ACA's passage. Republicans participated in the whole process of the ACA, they got to make every objection they wanted. Ultimately the Dems had enough voting members to pass the thing under normal procedures. Sure, there was lots of *talk* about extreme measures, but they (rightly, I think) decided against doing any of that and passed the thing normally.

Posted by: MosBen | March 10, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"I would be interested to see whether any of the conservative voices who were shocked and appalled by President Obama’s decision to ignore public opinion and finish health-care reform using the reconciliation process are calling for Walker’s head today. If not, I think they need to ask themselves what makes this case different."

Shouldn't you be asking yourself (and progressives) what makes that case different? After all, it was obvious at the time that the HCR bill was unpopular and generally stalled, yet the Democratic majorities in both houses decided to pass it against poll results. If the shoe fits one foot, it should certainly fit the other.

Posted by: whbacon | March 10, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats made NO attempt to compromise. Walker and the GOP did. STOP THE LYING.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 10, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

" Sure, there was lots of *talk* about extreme measures, but they (rightly, I think) decided against doing any of that and passed the thing normally."

Only because the Republicans didn't run away from their posts, like the WI Dems did.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

A better question: Is what Ezra Klein wrote coherent?

Posted by: locomotivebreath1901 | March 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The Health Care bill was debated extensively during the 2008 campaign, and it was debated extensively for 15 months before it was passed. Any comparison to what the Republicans did in WI is invalid.

However, the most interesting question is: do the Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Partiers now advocate that the Democrats use 2nd amendment solutions? After all, NONE OF THEM said anything about Angle.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey trixlette, are you posting from under a rock??? I love your line, "Republicans are honorable Americans who believe in the democratic process, even if they are in the minority. They will go speak for their constituents and if all else fails, get more people elected next election cycle and change things then." Now that had me laughing. The Repubs are only honorable towards the Koch Bros and other industry CEOs. Sorry, but they couldn't care less about you. And if you think big business will want to come to Wis. you can forget about that. Managers with children don't want their kids going to second class schools, which will be exactly what happens with the budget cuts to schools. I'm an ex-Wisconsinite and have been living in Fairfax, Virginia for 30 years after graduating from college. My parents still live in a town near Wausau and think Walker's and embarassment to the state. But my main point is that Fairfax County and Montgomery County, Maryland are always in competition to draw coroprate offices to their counties. And one of the biggest selling points are good public schools. Even realtors here use test scores as selling points.

Posted by: missingwisc | March 10, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein conveniently missed the fact that "Wisconsin's Senate Chief Clerk, who offers non-partisan parliamentary and legal advice to the chamber, sent out a note tonight saying that the vote was above board. "[T]he notice appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes," according to Senate Chief Clerk Rob Marchant.

Posted by: moebius22 | March 10, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"he Health Care bill was debated extensively during the 2008 campaign, and it was debated extensively for 15 months before it was passed. Any comparison to what the Republicans did in WI is invalid."

You're mad. The healthcare bill was passed BEFORE IT WAS EVEN WRITTEN. Remember Pelosi with "we have to pass it to see what's in it". There was no talk of the bill during 2008, had Obama proposed the bill before the election, he probably would have lost.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 10, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: trixlette

--
It sounds like a GOP shrill brushing up the GOP's misfortune of ramming the bill through. While I'm in agreement what the Democrats did was wrong however when the GOP and Walker refused to compromise and intended to ram the bill through, it forced something to be done.

I am in agreement with missingwisc about the need for good school and Walker has gutted the budget forcing the local schools districts not to make up the loss of the cuts to maintain existing services(actually making it difficult in the process). Many states are constantly competing to bring companies to their states and they use the good school to tout which something Walker will have trouble doing.

Posted by: beeker25 | March 10, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"A better question: Is what Ezra Klein wrote coherent?"

The answer is yes. It was coherent lies ...

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 10, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Spare me. Since when have Republicans been concerned about whether or not what they do is legel? the last time THAT happened was during the second Eisenhower Administration.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | March 10, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

There is a very good case to be made that the Wisconsin Senate violated this legislative act:

http://www.wisfoic.org/an-openmeetingslaw.html

How any paid commenter can say something such as "It seems to me that the system worked." when a reading of the law seems to indicate fairly clearly that the system was abused in a clearly questionable/illegal manner, is a statement I would enjoy a bit of clarification on.

Posted by: pixel1 | March 10, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"he Health Care bill was debated extensively during the 2008 campaign, and it was debated extensively for 15 months before it was passed. Any comparison to what the Republicans did in WI is invalid."

You're mad. The healthcare bill was passed BEFORE IT WAS EVEN WRITTEN. Remember Pelosi with "we have to pass it to see what's in it". There was no talk of the bill during 2008, had Obama proposed the bill before the election, he probably would have lost.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft |
-------
Actually it has been written many times before- Truman, Nixon and Clinton and they were resurrected.

I think you misquoted Pelosi's quote because she never said that. I do know that she has stated that legislation must be written before they can vote on it. They were talks about the bill during much of the period in question through committees and the chambers. Obama has stated the need for healthcare during the primary and it seems you have conveniently left out that portion.

The comparison is valid because the healthcare bill was a series of compromises during the process while WI legislation was basically rammed through without any negotiation on both sides (Walker has stated it was nonnegotiable from the start).
Like the Calvin Coolidge joke: You lose.

Posted by: beeker25 | March 10, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

A ridiculous analogy is raised between this issue and Obama Health Care. Republicans, as much as they disliked the health care bill, did NOTHING to stop that bill from passing. And the Democrats did indeed completely ignore the wishes of the public. The Democrats had the vote.

In this case, however, we have a bunch of petulant, childish legislators who did EVERYTHING to stop this bill, including breaking their oath of office. Republicans had the vote and Democrats took the ball home. Cowards that they are.

Posted by: chuck_mayhew | March 10, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"I think you misquoted Pelosi's quote because she never said that. I do know that she has stated that legislation must be written before they can vote on it. They were talks about the bill during much of the period in question through committees and the chambers...."

beeker25,

Yes. The Pelosi quote is always purposefully presented out-of-context. They don't even quote the full sentence, which was "But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy."

What Speaker Pelosi was saying in that speech was that the media was so focused on the political fight, rather than the actual content of the legislation, that the public would surely develop a better understanding of the details of the law as it is implemented, and that as they began to have better understanding and direct experience with the reforms, the benefits of the Act would be more fully appreciated.

It is insincere (and downright moronic) for anyone to argue that the PPACA was passed first and written later.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin union change and Congressional health payment change simply illustrate why unilateral policy making tends to be less successful and more subject to later change. It even suggests the Senate filibuster rules serve a very useful purpose:i.e., change should be broadly supported. It also suggests Congress should require Supreme Court decisions striking down legislation as unconstitutional should require six votes all for the same opinion.

Posted by: Ashland | March 10, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Last brain you say to stop the lying yet your post itself is a lie. The republicans repeatedly have said they will not compromise or negotiate while almost all union workers I know and have talked to are craving a compromise. They are willing to accept cutbacks to help the budget situation. But to expect them to give up basic bargaining rights is abit much. You got your statement backwards.

Posted by: william20 | March 10, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The recall initiative is in motion. Check out the web for ways to donate and help remove this scumbag.

Posted by: John1263 | March 10, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The vote was legal. I suppose sitting legislators drawing a salary to conduct the public's business can leave during session, if they so chose, but let's get real on that, I would think that legislative procedure might also be able to hold them in contempt for that action. Anyone know the real answer?

Posted by: Gooddogs | March 10, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:
"In this sense, any analogy to ACA completely falls apart. Part of what made health care reform so unpopular to some voters was that the legislative process was so extensive, with multiple committees conducting lengthy hearings running on for many months."

You are quite incorrect when you try to paint a picture that everyone knew for long periods of time everything that would be in the PPACA. Remember, Pelosi uttered the infamous quote "we must pass it so we can see what is in it." That was on March 10. Obama signed it into law March 23, less than two weeks later.

So it's quite misleading to contend that all (or even most) of the elements of the PPACA were known and debated and hashed out in a bipartisan process over a period of months and months, when in fact less than two weeks before PPACA became law most of what was contained in it was still unknown.

However, in many respects you are correct that the PPACA analogy falls apart in comparison to the process used to ram-rod through the PPACA:

- Democrats never offered to include the GOP in any discussions for over a year until Scott Brown won in Mass. Walker offered discussions with Democrats a long time ago, but they were too busy hiding to talk to him.

- The PPACA effects about 98% of Americans; the bill in Wisconsin effects approx 12% of Wisonsin residents. More has been known for a longer period about Walkers bill that effects fewer people, than what was known and when about the PPACA that effects almost everyone in our country.

- Tea Party protestors didn't shove police around like the union thugs in Wisconsin are doing today.

So at least you were partially correct....

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"I would be interested to see whether any of the conservative voices who were shocked and appalled by President Obama’s decision to ignore public opinion and finish health-care reform using the reconciliation process are calling for Walker’s head today. If not, I think they need to ask themselves what makes this case different."

What makes this case different ...
1)This is state issue - not federal.
2)The federal gov't has NO RIGHT to force people to purchase a good or service, clearly Walker is not mandating people to purchase a good or service.

and 3... the most important of all:

People who are protesting are being BUSSED in from out of state to make it LOOK like the people of Wisconsin are rebelling. It's a fraud, a fake mob created by union bosses who don't want to lose their cash cow.

The TEA party gatherings were not orchestrated. They were grass root - no matter how desperately the left tries to mold an antithesis to Tumpka or Soros out the Koch Brothers, it simply isn't true. Most conservatives didn't even know who the Koch Brothers were until the left demonized them.

Posted by: stvjo | March 10, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

They are resisting the law, smashing windows, and sending death threats... sound familiar?

ter·ror·ism – noun

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

Posted by: stvjo | March 10, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

dbw1,

It is ironic that you have repeated the very incomplete and out-of-context Pelosi phrase that I discussed in my very last comment.

The contents of the bills passed in the House and Senate, and the content of the reconciliation fix, were highly publicized and debated on the floors of Congress. This blog is a particularly good example of one of the numerous media sources that analyzed and discussed the bill in detail. And, when 15 months of committee hearings and public discussion came to a close, the final law that was passed was very much in keeping with the shape of the reforms that Obama ran on in 2008.

If you had the intellectual curiosity to find out what was in the health care bills, you every opportunity to find out.

There is absolutely no process resemblance between the mind-numbingly long evolution of the health care debate, and Scott Walker's light speed moves to eviscerate Wisconsin's public sector unions.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

For Patrick_M and the others who keep trying to rewrite the history of the PPACA in an attempt to color it as an openly debated piece of legislation, a quote from US News & World Report on Jan 5, 2010....three months prior to Obama signing it into law. This was in response to C-SPAN finally tiring of being locked out of being able to cover any hearings related to the bill, and CEO Lamb going to the extreme measure of having to publicly call for access:

"Republicans, all too familiar to being locked out by Democrats, aren't holding their breath—and Lamb's letter has yet to receive a reply. C-SPAN's open call for full transparency is a highly unusual move for a media organization that steadfastly refuses to take sides, demonstrating how far Democrats have gone in cloaking the healthcare bill with more secrecy than even the Washington Wizards locker room."

Scott Brown got elected two weeks later, and for the FIRST TIME since Democrats undertook health care reform were they finally forced to include Republicans in any discussions.

But of course, as we now know, whatever discussions that ulitimately took place were a mere charade....and Democrats passed the PPACA without a single GOP vote, because they made ZERO effort to compromise on any meaningful element of the PPACA.

Them's the facts. But go one, liberals...keep trying to revise history like you usually do.


Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:
"The contents of the bills passed in the House and Senate, and the content of the reconciliation fix, were highly publicized and debated on the floors of Congress."

False. See my cited previous post.

"Scott Walker's light speed moves"

Please, tell us ONE thing that was in the legislation passed in Wisconsin yesterday that hasn't been known for weeks (or months).

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Tell you what, how about we give collective bargaining to private corporations, and anti-trust laws to unions for a while?

Posted by: stvjo | March 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:

If you want to ignore the similarities to how Democrats passed the PPACA, perhaps you would prefer to discuss how Democrats passed the ill-conceived and ultimate failure "stimulus" bill?

There's NO debating that the stimulus bill was passed with almost nothing known about what all was in it, and Democrats were holding votes on it mere HOURS after the bill was printed and released for public viewing.

I'm quite familiar with how that one worked, as one of my Senators (Sherrod Brown) was flown back from Ohio where he had gone to attend a funeral, and all because Democrats had to have his vote to get the bill finished....and they wanted him to vote the SAME DAY the bill was printed rather than wait 2-3 more days when he was scheduled to return.

So, Democrats, any time you are ready you can quit crying about how Walker got this done in Wisconsin. We don't have to go back very far to see how Democrats showed ZERO willingness to compromise and listen to both sides when they had the chance.

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It's a bit dishonest to describe what the Democrats did as "procedurally extraordinary." The state constitution says that legislators have to respond to quorum calls, and it gives the legislature power to set the terms for enforcing the provision. Democrats, plain and simple, were violating the state constitution by fleeing to Illinois to avoid the vote.

Walker's bill is entirely legal. Unions will hate it, but there is nothing against the law in it. The only procedural hang-up that might violate the law is the 24-hour requirement for meetings under the open-records law in Wisconsin. The senate passing this on short notice might be found in violation of this law, and Democrats are bound to challenge on this point.

Still, the challenge probably won't amount to much. It will be more of a political move than a legal one, mainly because the Republicans can go back and vote again any time on the same provision to make it legal, assuming it wasn't the first time. Republicans obviously have the votes to pass any measure they want right now, and Democrats aren't going to stay out of the state forever. All they really hope to do right now is to delay long enough that they get ample political attention and build energy heading into next year's elections.

Posted by: blert | March 10, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Please, tell us ONE thing that was in the legislation passed in Wisconsin yesterday that hasn't been known for weeks (or months)."

I guess you have a memory issue.

Walker unveiled the collective bargaining piece approximately three weeks ago, without warning. It was announced on a Friday, with a scheduled final passage the following Wednesday/Thursday, leaving zero time for meaningful open hearings or floor debates. It was this "Microwave Legislation" process that was so offensive, and which caused the Senate Democrats to deny a quorum, in order to slow the process down and allow for a fuller public dialog about the proposed changes.

I really don't care whether anyone is for or against the de-certification of public sector unions, you are perfectly entitled to hold whatever belief you wish.

But the process in Wisconsin is a matter of public record, and to behave as though passage of the law was engineered in the same open, lengthy, and painstaking method as the PPACA is laughable.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

They passed the parts that had nothing to do with the math - completely legal.

Posted by: stvjo | March 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:
" to behave as though passage of the law was engineered in the same open, lengthy, and painstaking method as the PPACA is laughable."

I can only assume you steadfastly refuse to read the citations of the secrecy Democrats used to shephard the PPACA to passage, as opposed to your rose-colored recall of history? For real....even a liberal rag like US News ultimately called out the Democrats for their lack of transparancy in dealing with a bill that was going to effect almost EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN.

Posted by: dbw1 | March 10, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The answer is YES! The judge said it is.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | March 10, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M, Walker unveiled it three weeks ago and if the democrats were doing their job they would have been in Wisconsin to debate - but they CHOSE to leave.

It back fired.

And to all those who claim collective bargaining is a "right" the National Labor Relation Act does NOT cover state or local government workers. They have NO right to collective bargaining.

Posted by: stvjo | March 10, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

stvjo,
What you say to be your most important point is the one that is not accurate. You must not be in Wisconsin and watching this on tv. I wont claim that there are not people from out of state here but your post indicates that is the majority of protesters and that could not be further from the truth. The overwhelming majority of people here are Wisconsinites. There is no "fake mob". There are no buses. What we have is thousands of middle class Wisconsinites, some union workers and MANY who are not union affiliated, making it known to all that this is how Wisconsin feels. Most of these people, even the union members, are not as concerned with the cuts as they are with the abuse of the democratic process and refusal of our politicians to listen. They are, after all, supposed to be working for us. These people are responding to strong arm politics with the only means they have, protest. And some of you posters have the nerve to call them terrorists and "union thugs"? You guys get a nickel everytime you use the phrase "union thug"? This is insulting and very non productive and completely inaccurate for that matter. This is not about a budget. This is about power and democracy. And I think anyone who lives in Wisconsin has known about the Koch brothers and what they are all about for years. This is a very educated well informed state. Some may think this is a Wisconsin issue, but your state is next. It might not be about collective bargaining, but if this is the new way politics is played, where does it end? Show me all these broken windows, show me these unruly "thugs', dont just tell me the headline you saw on the news. The news, should we even call it that anymore? What a joke. So for all those who are judging or name calling these people, I suggest you do what I did, come see for yourself. With your own eyes. Then you tell me who the "thugs" are.

Posted by: william20 | March 10, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"I can only assume you steadfastly refuse to read the citations of the secrecy Democrats used to shepherd the PPACA to passage, as opposed to your rose-colored recall of history?"

I don't have to rely on magazine citations. Why?

I was alive at the time, engaged in the public debate, and right here on Ezra's blog every day, where the policy minutiae of the various iterations of the bill were explored in close detail, with in-depth interviews with policy makers, experts, and stake holders of all types, along with well-researched explanations (often in response to questions posed by the readers of the blog).

By the way, we had a number of very articulate conservative commenters here who understood the issues very clearly. Visionbrkr, for example, had very valuable insights to contribute concerning the insurers. Obama even spent a full day with Congressional leaders from both parties in a nationally televised discussion of possible alternative strategies. Pity you missed all of that, and apparently chose to remain ignorant concerning the details of the major national political issue of 2009 and early 2010.

If you did not know what was in the ACA, you either weren't paying attention or did not wish to find out.

15 months of open hearings and debate for the PPACA vs. 3 business days allowed for the Walker bill. Yeah, sure it is equivalent...right, uh-huh.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"Patrick_M, Walker unveiled it three weeks ago and if the democrats were doing their job they would have been in Wisconsin to debate - but they CHOSE to leave."

Go back and read the news accounts. They "CHOSE" to leave because no time was allowed for hearings and debate; it was to be voted upon only a few days after it was "unveiled."

That is precisely why they left and denied the Republicans a quorum.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 10, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I heard the unions want to call this a civil rights issue? So is this a civil right just for unions?

Since when has it been a civil right to demand wages and benefits and then get to bargian for those with someone who you made huge campaign donations too?

The unions donate large amounts of money to democrat campaigns, then as pay back the democrats "bargian" and give them high salary contracts with amazing benefits and pass laws to increase the size and power of the unions. Then that union agian donates even more money to that same democrats campaign!

In any other situation this would be called a conflict of interest!

And if you complain about this process your told you can deal with it by voting for some politican who won't do this!

Isn't that EXACTLY what Wisconsin did? If the unions there have so many supporters, why are unions busing in protesters?

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | March 11, 2011 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Patrick _M from Huff Po:

"Organizing For America is already actively engaged in Wisconsin..."

"A DNC staffer told The Huffington Post that the group upped its efforts in Wisconsin after Chairman Tim Kaine spoke with local legislators last week. OFA then began organizing turnout for Thursday's statehouse rally and running phone banks in Ohio targeting state senators..."

"...organizers have set up door-to-door canvassing in key districts..."

"OFA is also stepping up its online mobilization via Facebook and Twitter, as well as the work of its youth chapters at Ohio State University and other schools."

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

This is from the uber left Huffington Post - the protesters are being mobilized in other states to protest in Wisconsin. Bussed in - or car pooled, makes no difference. They ARE being told by their unions where to go and how to protest.

The TEA party on the other hand drives themselves or organizes locally and privately charters buses.

But here is Unions, Organizing for America (Obama and Soros affiliated)and the DNC(!!) are organizing and funding this protest, this is the difference.

Obama is *supposed* to be for all the people - the fact he is trying to power grab through OFA and the DNC is further evidence of his tyrannical Chicago thuggery tactics. He should be supporting the LAW. But his administration has no regard for law, his interior department has been found in contempt of court (Gulf permits), if implemented he will be in contempt of court regarding HC. Thug is the RIGHT word for this hateful destructive BOUGHT and SOLD movement.

Posted by: stvjo | March 11, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry last post should have been to william20.

In addition william20 from the afl-cio:
After the vote last night, thousands of angry protesters descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol after the vote, forcing their way through doors, crawling through windows and jamming corridors.

http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/03/10/wis-rigged-vote-will-not-stand-as-thousands-descend-on-state-capitol/

Or are you suggesting the afl-cio is lying?


Posted by: stvjo | March 11, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

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