March 10, 2011
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After the move made by Republicans in Wisconsin to pass a bill taking away some collective bargaining abilities, the response are coming in. On one side, its said that what was done was no different than what Dems have done to get legislation passed, and that to decry it would be hypocritical. On the other side, the criticism is blistering, and the governor may find that support from his own party supporters may have slipped away. Here are a couple of good pieces of analysis.
From the Washington Post, on the “Plum Line” blog, Greg Sargent speculates that the amount of maneuvering needed by Gov. Walker and Republicans to get the collective bargaining bill passed means the fight is only going to get worse:
There’s no quibbling with the fact that if it does stand, Walker and Republicans will have gotten their way in the short term fight. But let’s recall an important fact: Republicans control the governorship and state legislature. The fact that they were forced to resort to this trick is itself a concession that they had lost the battle as they themselves had previously defined it. And in so doing, they were forced to pull a maneuver that will only lend even more energy to the drive to recall them.
On the other hand, Mickey Kaus at The Daily Caller says the situation was definitely a win for Gov. Walker:
If Walker’s concessions had been accepted, he still basically would have won (largely because of the dues provision). But the 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.
So, it can be said that the Wisconsin Republicans either stood their ground, or they ignored the will of the people. It can also be said that Democrats did represent the will of the people, or they are being hypocritical (reconciliation is ok, but just when they do it). We shall see who wins the messaging war.
March 10, 2011
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14 Democrat Senators in Wisconsin continued to stay holed up in Illinois in what had been a successful attempt to prevent the passing of a bill that would strip collective bargaining abilities from public workers (important sidenote: they would retain the ability to bargain for pay, something that seems to get ignored). In their view, leaving town was their way of fulfilling the will of the people–even though the obvious “will of the people” was that they wanted Republicans in charge, based on the last election results. They were determined to prevent what they felt would be a removal of of rights from occurring.
All that changed in minutes.
Republicans realized that a quorum is only needed for spending bills. So, they removed the collective bargaining piece from the spending bill and passed it as a separate bill which did not need a quorum. Just like that, Dems’ out-of-state foray was rendered moot. Of course they are crying foul. One senator, speaking on the Lawrence O’Donnell show on MSNBC, talked of how he was driving back doing 80 miles per hour in an attempt to stop what was happening. O’Donnell, sympathetic to the guest, failed to make an obvious point: if they had actually been in Wisconsin instead of hiding out, there would’ve been no need to have to “come back!” Very simple idea, really.
Now, there you have it. a group voted into the minority who leaves the state in order to avoid legislation they don’t like and putting the government process on hiatus now screams bloody murder because business continued on without them. How does THAT make sense?
CNN: Union supporters to rally after Wisconsin Senate passes limits
Runaway Wis. Dem Drove Back As Fast As He Could To Stop GOP
February 18, 2011
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In one of the articles about the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, it was mentioned that protesters were not only at the capital building, but also at the governor’s house. Seeing that reminded me of incidents reported after AIG gave their executives bonuses, and protesters loaded vans and set up shop outside the residences of AIG employees and executives in an effort to guilt them into returning the bonus money.
Other reports of people protesting at (and doing damage to) politician’s homes, as well as unions and other organizations handing out flyers with home addresses of protest targets are readily available on the web. Which made me wonder: is that taking things too far?
Lets acknowledge that there is a right to assemble. There is also freedom of speech. But is such style of protest really a peaceful move? I would say no. When you show up at someone’s residence, it is by default an attempt at intimidation. “We know where you live!” is the message given by such actions. I say its taking things too far. Besides, how would these protesters respond if the person being targeted responded by hiring security to come in and create an opposing show of force? What if counter-protesters showed up at the houses of the protesters? I can hear the howls of…well, of protest.