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Posted at 8:23 AM ET, 03/10/2011

No retreat for Gov. Scott Walker

By Jennifer Rubin

There was buzz Wednesday suggesting that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was caving on his stand-off with the public-employee union. Not so. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

The Senate abruptly passed a controversial budget-repair bill Wedneday night -- without Democrats -- and sent the measure to the Assembly, which is expected to pass it Thursday.

The bill eliminates almost all collective bargaining for public workers. . . .

Democrats have been able to block a vote on the bill for three weeks because 20 senators had to be present to vote for it. Republicans control the house 19-14.

But late Wednesday, a committee stripped some elements from the bill that they said allowed them to pass it with a simple majority present. The most controversial parts of the bill remain intact.

Why didn't Walker do this sooner? It may be there was genuine confusion over whether the collective bargaining measures were "fiscal" and therefore required a quorum. And certainly Walker would have preferred to have the Democrats come back, removing any question about the legislation's legitimacy. But the Democrats wouldn't play ball and threatened to stay out of the state indefinitely, so Walker had to end the logjam. He did, but not as wishful liberals had imagined.

Did Walker win? Mickey Kaus at the Daily Caller thinks so, noting that elimination of mandatory dues check off (whereby the employer is obliged to snatch dues from the employees' pay and route it back to the union) is the real win here. By refusing to negotiate a face-saver, the Democrats blew it, in Mickey's eyes:

[T]he Dems could have returned to Madison claiming that their dramatic walkout had resulted in a non-trivial victory of sorts, and the press was poised to portray them as brave, victorious heroes. This outcome denies the Democrats that media triumph. No doubt the MSM will come up with another way to celebrate the Flight of the 14 as a Tunisia-like tide-turning. But it will take some creativity, and the public might not buy it.

It is very likely more Republican governors will attempt similar changes in their relationships with public-employee unions. Liberals are certain this will all backfire and/or that Walker and some Republican lawmakers will be recalled. We'll see. But here's the thing: If Walker balances the budget, doesn't raise taxes and lures employers to his state, does anyone think the voters will revolt? Success breeds popularity. Walker will need to show results, but for now he's shown spine. And that is a model for Republicans across the country.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Comments

This has dragged on too long. There is a substantial part of the public that recoils from the kind of conflict that Walker, the unions and the Democrats are engaged in and they will hold Walker responsible. Quick, decisive action will give Walker the victory - crush the power of the unions and end the turmoil. At the next election the Republicans can take credit for balancing the budget without tax increases.

Posted by: cwillia11 | March 10, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

This is a victory for the Wisconsin taxpayers. According to the documentary, Waiting for superman it is a victory for the public school students of Wisconsin. The msm will portray Gov. Walker in a bad light, but they would do that if he were feeding the homeless the msm would say he was trying to choke them, or make them obese. I applaud Gov. Walker for his courage and hope he sets a standard for other republicans and logical thinking democrats to follow.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | March 10, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call this a win for Gov. Walker, but I wouldn't call it a loss either. Unless Dems in the state pull off, by some miracle, a recall of the governor then I think he'll be fine in the long term.

Posted by: Fitz157 | March 10, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Walker showed "spine"? No, what Walker showed is that he's a BULLY, a partisan, and a liar. Bully = wimp. He's a disgrace but reflective of what the Republican Party has become. Shame, shame. Lee Atwater is alive and still running the Republican Party, the party where a few control the lives of the many.

Posted by: PolitiHAL | March 10, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

WI, IN, OH, ID - although they got to keep collective bargaining on their bennies - & I think FLA.....

Is it ever really mentioned that the local WI school boards & unions were ramming thru new contracts to avoid this?

Wouldn't it have been interesting if the media actually did its job - I'm a dreamer - and asked an interview question if this is about democracy, how does card check strengthen democracy?

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

While I do think Jennifer likely would not be praising a Democratic governor under similar circumstances, I do think Walker certainly won this.

Where I disagree with Jennifer is that she seems to think voters in Wisconsin will simply forget all this if the economy improves there. I don't think that is true at all.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

the party where a few control the lives of the many.


Dems R doing a great job at that, BTW.

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

PolitiHAL, I think you got your political parties mixed up. You made a perfect description of the Dems. The shoe is on the other foot and it hurts a little? Live with it.

Posted by: rchaa27aa | March 10, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I wonder does Jennifer and others, like Instapundit, go to Mickey Kaus because he is a moderate Dem. I guess a moderate is one who calls Republicans racist killers.

http://smitty116.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/mickey-kaus-republicns-racist-killers/

Maybe we can get Andrew Sullivan to help find Trigs real mom!

Posted by: smitty_116 | March 10, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Awww that sweet little old lady fox piven just might get what she agitates for, Greece redux in Madison, what's a few dead bodies over having the union actually go out and collect their dues instead of the state acting as the middleman?

Cos it's all about the cash in the end.....

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

While I do think Jennifer likely would not be praising a Democratic governor under similar circumstances


U seriously think if Jerry Brown manages to get the unions to cut back she wouldn't praise him?

Do U think she would at least say something?

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

...the Republican Party, the party where a few control the lives of the many.
Posted by: PolitiHAL | March 10, 2011 8:57 AM
----------------
You have it backwards. Wisconsin voters elected a Republican Governor, a Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the Assembly. 14 Dem senators, a minority, fled the state to prevent a vote on the collective bargaining issue. It's the Democrats who are the "few" who have attempted to control the lives of the many.

Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This was just throwing the ante into the pot. The hand itself will ultimately involve lowering the cost of labor in our society so that we can compete in the global economy. It's sad... but reality.

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

Why didn't Walker do this sooner?

Why not IN THE FIRST PLACE?

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

He gave them a chance to do their jobs.

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


Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Congress on Wednesday that 82 percent of the nation’s public schools could be failing by next year under the standards of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.”

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


Our education system is broken - it isn't fixable just by money or more staff.

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

You have it backwards. Wisconsin voters elected a Republican Governor, a Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the Assembly. 14 Dem senators, a minority, fled the state to prevent a vote on the collective bargaining issue. It's the Democrats who are the "few" who have attempted to control the lives of the many.
****************************
So I take it you were vehemently opposed to Republicans use of the filibuster to prevent votes on issues that had majority support in the Senate in 2009 and 2010?

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

He gave them a chance to do their jobs.

He gave Who? a chance to do what job?

Why try to combine a fiscal reduction bill with a bill to change the state contract with the teachers Union when the voting requirements of these non-compatible bills are completely different in Wisc? It doesn't make any sense. This should have been a done deal 3 weeks ago,nobody would have cared,but Walker,under horrible advice or under his own horrible judgement,got greedy and lazy,and thought he could get rid of teachers collective bargaining and reduce the budget in one fell swoop. Now what he has done is open the door for a teacher's strike,and unlike Reagan's air control workers,it's not as easy to replace thouands of teachers if they disobey the return to work order.

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

Mark Weisbrot in todays Guardian (UK) points out that structural victories for the right to destroy unions have given them advantages, but:

"The problem lies not in the people but in the corridors of power, in the media and the Congress and the many institutions – including liberal ones – that have been shifted rightwards by strategic efforts over the last 40 years. That is why progressives find themselves fighting defensive battles, as in Wisconsin – while the right, which has neither the presidency nor the Senate – plays offence. It will take some time to get to the point where progressive structural reforms are on the agenda.

But that time will come, and the mass uprisings in support of collective bargaining are a great and inspiring start where new leadership and organising will emerge. Inshallah (God willing), as they say in Egypt."

Recall elections for many Republicans in Wisconsin are coming, as is one for the governor. They have the power of billionaires and corporations, we numbers and the fundamental reasonableness of upper Midwesterners whose sense of fairness has been offended by what just happened.

To participate in the recall efforts, visit wisdems.org.

Now is not the time to lose heart. Now is the time to organize and to fight.

To paraphrase Ghandi, tyrants come and go and for a time can seem invincible. But love always wins in the end.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Note, last nights action reveals that the rights claim all along that this was about balancing budgets was all lies. It was never about balancing budgets. It was about using government to destroy political opposition.

Whatever the right might say from here on out, we know they are lying liars who are lying about what they are doing and why.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The reason there is any question about the legislation's legitimacy is because of how bunk portrayals like this manipulate the facts and their readers.

What exactly was Walker supposed to do here? Just continue to let the AWOL Democratic senators and the unions who own them continue to dictate? I find it stunning that someone (the author) can view the Democratic senators tactics (holding the legislative process hostage) as legitimate and then turn around and criticize Walker and the Republicans for finding a way to continue doing their jobs.

Elections have consequences. I wish someone would educate the public sector unions on this fact.

Posted by: smilek1 | March 10, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

So I take it you were vehemently opposed to Republicans use of the filibuster to prevent votes on issues that had majority support in the Senate in 2009 and 2010?

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 10:45 AM |
------------------
Of course not. The filibuster is a long-standing (since the 1830's) legislative tactic expressly provided for in the official rules of the US Senate. There is no rule expressly permitting the Senate Dems in Madison to prevent a quorum by refusing to attend a legislative session. If there was, they wouldn't have spent the last 3 weeks hiding in a neighboring state.

But you already know all of this.

BTW, the point here wasn't whether one opposes or supports a minority's attempt to prevent a vote. PolitiHAL claimed that it was the GOP majority that were the "few controlling the lives of many." I was just commenting that it is in fact the Dem minority (by definition, a group that is fewer in number than the majority) that is attempting to control the lives of the many - the voters who elected the GOP Governor and the GOP majority in the Legislature.

Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Elections have consequences. I wish someone would educate the public sector unions on this fact.
Posted by: smilek1

Walker's problem is that he decided to combine two unrelated desires in one Bill,so,of course,it caused a great deal of civil instability.
As far as consequences,it's not just the last election that has consequences,but history has consequences. The history of political consequences doesn't begin and end in 2010 or 2012 for that matter. There was nothing special in 2010 that wasn't contained in the elections of 2000/2002/2004/2006/2008 all of which had consequences that we are dealing with.

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

smilek1, please note that given the hand they were dealt the Democrats got absolutely everything they could out of the situation.

David Koch and his employees, like Scott Walker wanted to use the man-made budget crisis (created by tax giveaways to corporations and the rich) to claim to the world "We had to do this, we had no choice." Their preference would have been to pass the entire package at once, and conflate the union busting with so-called 'budget repair'. Policy wonks would know, but the average Wisconsin voter who works wouldn't have the time or understanding to know the truth.

The Democrats enacted a virtual filibuster, the whole worlds media paid attention, Walkers numbers have gone way down - he is now the most polarizing politician in America and has 'negatives' of 53 to 39.

The bill-split now put the lie to the contention that the bill was about deficit reduction - union busting has nothing to do with deficit reduction.

Eight Senate Republicans are now facing recall elections, as likely will be the governor himself.

The governor will be haunted for the rest of his life by the 'fake David Koch' call, which many sheeple don't even really understand was fake - many no doubt think it was real. (Americans don't pay a whole lot of attention).

So considering that the Republicans could have done all this *months* ago all by themselves, they instead took all these negative hits - one after the other - they single handedly revitalized the opposition and created a Democratic version of the tea party.

And with the outcome here, they have sown the wind, and will now reap the whirlwind.

Please tell me, whichever side of this issue you're on, how the Democrats could have played their cards better. They couldn't have.

In my book, even when you lose, winning is playing the game the best you possibly can.

That's why, strangely, I don't feel the least bit defeated today. And the SEIU, which I just joined last week, can probably not just use my dues, but my help as well.

Good day to all.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This episode demonstrates why government workers should not be allowed to organize and strike against the taxpayers. We must stop the vicious cycle of government unions using their members' dues to elect politicians who in return give them sweetheart contracts at the expense of the taxpayers. This is public corruption and it's bankrupting state after state. States are having to drastically curtail public services like schools and roads in order to pay way above market-level health and retirement benefits to union members.

Posted by: eoniii | March 10, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course not. The filibuster is a long-standing (since the 1830's) legislative tactic expressly provided for in the official rules of the US Senate. There is no rule expressly permitting the Senate Dems in Madison to prevent a quorum by refusing to attend a legislative session. If there was, they wouldn't have spent the last 3 weeks hiding in a neighboring state.

But you already know all of this.

BTW, the point here wasn't whether one opposes or supports a minority's attempt to prevent a vote. PolitiHAL claimed that it was the GOP majority that were the "few controlling the lives of many." I was just commenting that it is in fact the Dem minority (by definition, a group that is fewer in number than the majority) that is attempting to control the lives of the many - the voters who elected the GOP Governor and the GOP majority in the Legislature.
**********************
Actually, a rule that prevents a vote without a quorum would be the express rule. Otherwise there is no point in trying to prevent a quorum from forming if it there is no rule that requires there to be a quorum.

And Republican use of the filibuster in 2009 and 2010 had the exact same effect, the GOP minority attempting to control the lives of the many, the voters who elected a Democratic legislature and President in 2008. But you already know this.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The bill-split now put the lie to the contention that the bill was about deficit reduction - union busting has nothing to do with deficit reduction.

Eight Senate Republicans are now facing recall elections, as likely will be the governor himself.

The governor will be haunted for the rest of his life by the 'fake David Koch' call, which many sheeple don't even really understand was fake - many no doubt think it was real. (Americans don't pay a whole lot of attention).
Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 11:55 AM
-------------------

Neither does the press. You are belaboring under a misconception - as are most people. But that's because the press has misreported the story. The GOP didn't strip the collecting bargaining provision from the rest of the bill so as to permit that piece to be subject to a majority vote as a "non-fiscal" proposal. This is the talking point for you and the rest of left - "see, the collective bargaining issue had nothing to do with the budget, It's all been about busting the union."

But that didn't happen. what the Republicans did was strip from the bill the provisions that "appropriate" funds. These are the provisions that require the supermajority of 20 votes. Since the rest of the bill - including the collective bargaining piece - does not "appropriate" funds, it was subject to the normal majority vote.


Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

This episode demonstrates why government workers should not be allowed to organize and strike against the taxpayers.

This is a very illogical statement,every worker in America has the right to quit a job. (Sure there are repurcussions,but that doesn't limit the right)
60000 individuals,teachers in Wisc,have the right as individuals not to work for Wisc. If they quit,the ball is in the state';s court.
Every worker in America has the right to quit,anytime, and without notice,and that is the sole power they have. This is a Fact,BTW,
yours is an uneducated opinion.

Posted by: rcaruth | March 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

They interviewed someone from the Students for a Democratic Society?

Ayers spoke to them back in 2008 or thereabouts.....

Like I said, I can't decide what decade they want us to live in.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

member8 wrote Gov. Walker is an employee of koch industries. Koch industries did donate to Walkers campaign but by your logic all the wisc 14 runaway senators are employees of the union that donated to each of their campaigns. For that matter then i guess President Obama is an employee of the unions and also wall street which he received record amounts of money from. In your retort please stick to facts and logic and realization of the double standard you try and ignore.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | March 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The bill-split now put the lie to the contention that the bill was about deficit reduction - union busting has nothing to do with deficit reduction.

LOLOLOL the dems argue both sides hoping 1 will stick.

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

The state of WI not automatically taking out dues puts more money in the hands of the union members.

I would suggest that that is allowing the union members to control their own pocketbook.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

But that time will come, and the mass uprisings in support of collective bargaining are a great and inspiring start where new leadership and organising will emerge. Inshallah (God willing), as they say in Egypt."

It's the "Grauniad."

To paraphrase Ghandi, tyrants come and go and for a time can seem invincible. But love always wins in the end.


BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Ghandi went up against the Brits. Going up against a lefty tyrant I really don't think he would have had as much success.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Actually, a rule that prevents a vote without a quorum would be the express rule. Otherwise there is no point in trying to prevent a quorum from forming if it there is no rule that requires there to be a quorum.

And Republican use of the filibuster in 2009 and 2010 had the exact same effect, the GOP minority attempting to control the lives of the many, the voters who elected a Democratic legislature and President in 2008. But you already know this.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 12:16 PM
-----------
You can equate the rule requiring a quorum with the rule permitting a filibuster but that's not the point. There is no rule permitting them to refuse to vote. If there was they wouldn't have had to hide in another state. They could just sit in their offices and refuse to attend session. If you're right, why did they leave the state?

And you're absolutely right. I am well aware that the filibuster permits the minority to prevent the majority from imposing their will. That's the whole point of the rule. I was just pointing out that in this instance, contrary to PolitiHAL's assertion, it is the Dems who are the "few", rather than the GOP.

Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Note, last nights action reveals that the rights claim all along that this was about balancing budgets was all lies. It was never about balancing budgets. It was about using government to destroy political opposition."

member8, Let's for a second assume that this is true.

So what.

The Republicans have every right to "destroy" their political opposition ("weaken" is a more accurate term rather than the hyperventilation implicit in the word "destroy"). Politics is all about attaining political power for yourself and denying it to your opponent.

Do you think that Democrats haven't tried to "destroy" Republicans in the past?

The Republicans won the election and now they're implementing their policies (that they ran on during the campaign). That's life and the Left should just face facts and deal with it.

And if you've gotten the vapors because Walker & Co haven't admitted outright that they want to "destroy" the Democrats (regardless of how much truth there is to it), well, I could point to a million things that the Left didn't admit to because it wouldn't be politically astute to do so.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 10, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If some really want to argue the finer details, Althouse is the place to be. Great coverage of this.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

You can equate the rule requiring a quorum with the rule permitting a filibuster but that's not the point. There is no rule permitting them to refuse to vote. If there was they wouldn't have had to hide in another state.
**********************
It seems like everytime you meet an argument you don't like, you just change tacts and make a different argument you think will put you on a better footing. First there is no rule allowing them not to quorum, now there is no direct rule not allowing them to refuse to vote.

You do realize that the quorum rule here is about having legislators present for the vote, not about literally forcing them to vote against their will?

Maybe you can point me to the rule in Wisconsin that says legislators will be forced to vote against their will should they not voluntarily vote on a proposed law.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, didn't they run for a job that requires them to vote? If one doesn't want to vote, why run for the job?

So after they were elected, even knowing the numbers they faced, which were not in their favor, they didn't choose to step aside. They were willing to do their job. Part of their job requirement is to vote yea, nay or present.

Did they not pay attn to what Walker ran on? Or did they think he was lying to get elected?

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It seems like everytime you meet an argument you don't like, you just change tacts and make a different argument you think will put you on a better footing. First there is no rule allowing them not to quorum, now there is no direct rule not allowing them to refuse to vote.

You do realize that the quorum rule here is about having legislators present for the vote, not about literally forcing them to vote against their will?

Maybe you can point me to the rule in Wisconsin that says legislators will be forced to vote against their will should they not voluntarily vote on a proposed law.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 10, 2011 1:21 PM
----------
I haven't changed a thing. I have stated the following in each post: there is a Senate rule permitting filibuster. There is no rule permitting Wisconsin legislators to refuse to attend session. This is why they had to leave the state.

You dodged my question that asked if there action is legit, why did they leave the state? I will give you the courtesy you denied me and answer your request to be shown the rule "that says legislators will be forced to vote against their will should they not voluntarily vote on a proposed law.

Here's Section 7 of the Wisconsin state constitution: "Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide."

I can't wait to see how you dodge this one.

Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

“People are really upset that the Republican senators passed this bill illegally — they did not give 24 hours notice,” Fiksel said. “We feel like it’s a slap in the face.”

Poor HS senior boy, doesn't he know we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it?

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"So what."

RitchieEmmons, using government to destroy the political opposition is the kind of thing we Americans usually associate with totalitarian regimes and third world dictatorships run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses.

But the so what in this case politically - most upper Midwesterners are very fair minded people. They're highly suspicious of people who come down the pike claiming they want to change the course of history, and they have an ingrained sense of fair play. The polls have been breaking against Walker, whose negatives are now 53-39 according Rasmussen.

And now he and his Senators have been proven to be liars in the eyes of all Wisconsinites.

You, candidly, are saying "so what, we are liars."

You yourself aren't facing a recall election. These Senators just spent a lot of money to get reelected and now suddenly they have a recall election to fight with well funded opponents, and their unofficial campaign slogan is that they're liars. Lotsa luck with that.

The so what is, bad policy, bad politics, and Wisconsin is now ground zero of total war between money and people. Now the mask money was wearing has been pulled aside.

Money may win this battle. But love always wins in the end.

Peace be upon you.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

RitchieEmmons, using government to destroy the political opposition is the kind of thing we Americans usually associate with totalitarian regimes and third world dictatorships run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses.

Or we audit them to death..........

The so what is, bad policy, bad politics, and Wisconsin is now ground zero of total war between money and people. Now the mask money was wearing has been pulled aside.

Money may win this battle. But love always wins in the end.


What about those who love money?

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

So your contention is Wisconsinites will vote to raise taxes on themselves? Or vote in people who will?

They had that opportunity in November - it looks like they decided against it at that time. They have that opportunity every 2 years.

----------

WI might be Ground Zero, but other states have already passed reforms.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

One teacher doing his job points out how Gandhi and repercussions are spelled. And get a load how his pupils glow at his glowing pupils!

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

gop... Actually they have that opportunity in the recall elections which will be taking place within 60 to 90 days. Recall elections are legitimate and democratic.

As I said, the Republican Senators have sown the wind, and now they will reap the whirlwind.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

RitchieEmmons, using government to destroy the political opposition is the kind of thing we Americans usually associate with totalitarian regimes and third world dictatorships run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses.
Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 1:41 PM
----------------
Not quite. Using the legislative process that forms the basis of a constitutional republic is the hallmark of our version of democracy. This is how decisions are made - by elected representatives expressing the will of the people. Often, these decisions have the effect of hurting one's political opponents (I think it's pretty clear that RitchieEmmons meant the figurative "destroy" rather than the literal version).

If you want an example of the real totalitarian attempts to (literally) destroy the political opposition you have to look to the left, the Dems and Obama who have done everything they can to demonize and delegitimatize the Tea Party with false claims of racism and incitements to violence. The left doesn't use democratic means here, they use one of the primary tools of the totalitarian - a complicit press.

Posted by: paco33 | March 10, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The dem senators have as well. 8 pubbie, 14 dem, depends if they're safe or not.

Walker will be there & it is now in his interest to get as much of his legislation thru as quickly as he can since it seems quite a few legislators from both sides may be iffy.

Hopefully that includes Voter ID & CC.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

State GOP Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald told Fox News on Thursday that some of the people filing petitions against members of his caucus have "direct links" to President Obama's political team in Chicago. He suggested the president is keen on aiding labor groups in the state so they can deliver for Democrats in 2012.

Republican state Sen. Randy Hopper [said] "People from Organizing for America have been running the protests in Madison for quite some time now... I think that there's no question that the president has some involvement in this. I don't know what."


Definitely Voter ID. Boy, to have the bus biz a few months from now.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow - even in IL major school reform this year. Tenure, getting rid of bad teachers....

However, I don't think we'll see the same agitation as in Wisconsin.

It is about the money & power, after all.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 10, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

gop: "I think that there's no question that the president has some involvement in this. I don't know what."

That is wishful thinking. The president is going out of his way to not be involved. In politics, you don't strike downward. If the president so much as made a statement about it, he would be elevating little Scott Walker to a higher position. Walker would no doubt love this, and this guy who is sure the president is involved rather wishes the president was involved.

No doubt the president is discussing the situation with labor leaders. But he's not going to go to Wisconsin. He's not speaking about it directly. He won't get involved.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

That was a weak response at 1:41 pm member8.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 10, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Member 8 -You obviously know a lot about this situation and admittedly know very little. In fact, I do not even know what collective bargaining means. So let me ask a few questions, please: 1) Do Wisconsin teachers have to join the union? 2) Do they have to pay dues? 3) Why does the union own a health insurance company?

Posted by: Inagua1 | March 10, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

A blogger at Firedoglake offers this take:

• Assembly. First, the state assembly has to pass the bill. That shouldn’t be too difficult; because it’s supposedly “non-fiscal,” there’s no hope of a quorum fight that could be caused by a Democratic walkout. And Assembly Republicans already voted for the whole budget repair bill – at 1 in the morning a couple weeks ago – with only a few defections. So passing the anti-union piece, which was in that other bill, shouldn’t be a big struggle for them. It’s pretty clear this will go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

UPDATE: The Assembly’s going to take this up tomorrow morning. So that’s not much of a hurdle.

• Legal challenges. There are going to be a number of legal challenges to this bill. It will not be implemented right away. There’s the near-term challenge of how the bill got passed tonight. It was done in a way that may have violated open meetings laws, by not allowing 24 hours notice for a public meeting of the conference committee. There are other statutes about collective bargaining that may be brought up in court and fought. And there’s the issue of the bill having a fiscal impact. Scott Walker spent three weeks claiming that collective bargaining was a fiscal issue, and then the legislature just passed the bill as “non-fiscal.” Courts will have to wade through a lot of this, and it’s sure to go up to the state Supreme Court. Which brings us to…

• Supreme Court fight. The matchup between David Prosser (R) and JoAnn Kloppenberg (D) for the state Supreme Court on April 5 just got very interesting. It’s a statewide vote, and the balance of power on the state Supreme Court is at stake. Right now there are 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the court, but one of those Republicans is Prosser. Expect lots of organizing and millions of dollars poured into this election, which is much like a political election, with debates and everything. If Democrats win, the legality of what took place tonight may be put in greater question.

• General strike. Union leaders are reportedly discussing a general strike, and the mood of the protesters, who stormed the Capitol upon word of the bill, echoes that. You could see some kind of near-term labor walkout, at least in Madison and possibly throughout the state.

• Recalls. This will only energize progressives and labor to get the required signatures for recalls. All 8 Republicans eligible for recall voted to strip public employee unions of their rights, despite clear public opposition. Many of these Republicans, frankly, are going to recall as early as this summer, and if just three of them lose, the balance of power will switch to Democrats in the state Senate. There are also races for three open seats in the state Assembly coming up in May, so even more movement could occur.

• Scott Walker. If his approval ratings were slipping before, they may fall off a cliff now. Walker cannot be recalled until January 2012, and that’s a long way off. ...

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Walker did not campaign on ending collective bargaining for public employees - he would not have been elected if he had - but his methods have revealed that it was his plan all along. He introduced the measure to an unsuspecting public on a Friday, with a vote scheduled only days afterwards. That is the context by which the flight of the Democratic senators must be viewed. Walker's tactics are not consistent with a system of representative democracy, and those who wish to defend his methods should take a moment and consider your response should these methods be used in the interest of eliminating something you feel strongly about.

What has driven the stalemate has not been the Democratic senators - who probably were ready to negotiate some weak compromise - but the militant presence of many tens of thousands of people occupying the Wisconsin legislature and rallying all over Madison. Consistently for these weeks there have been huge numbers - vastly outnumbering any similar counter demonstrations,and much larger than any "Tea Party" events over the past couple of years, although the scope of these demonstrations have been rather downplayed by the MSM coverage.

Walker forced the battle into the streets, and it will remain there over the next while. These people aren't going to just shrug their shoulders and go away. Walker used underhanded methods to do an end run around representative democracy and gaining an informed mandate for his radical intentions, and in doing so he has spit in the face of large numbers of the citizens of his own state. And they are really ticked off about it.

Posted by: jeff41 | March 10, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Funfact: The majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate is Scott Fitzgerald. The Assembly speaker is his brother Jeff Fitzgerald.

The governor has sent the state police looking for the missing Democrats. The troopers are under the direction of the new chief of the state patrol, Stephen Fitzgerald. He is the 68-year-old father of Jeff and Scott and was appointed to the $105,678 post in February by Governor Walker.

Posted by: member8 | March 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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