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The Wisconsin Saga Comes (Close) to a Close

The Wisconsin GOP have extracted the small portions of the stalled bill which require a quorum and passed the remainder without Democratic participation. So, the stalemate is over and Republicans have won. GOP senate leader Scott Fitzgerald released a statement:

Before the election, the Democrats promised "adult leadership" in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job.

In doing so, they have tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate. This is unacceptable.

This afternoon, following a week and a half of line‐by‐line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take our counter‐offer,which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.

With that letter, I realized that we're dealing with someone who is stalling indefinitely, and doesn't have a plan or an intention to return. His idea of compromise is "give me everything I want," and the only negotiating he's doing is through the media.

Enough is enough.

The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job. They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy. The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can't act on our agenda.

Tonight, the Senate will be passing the items in the budget repair bill that we can, with the 19 members who actually DO show up and do their jobs. Those items include the long‐overdue reform of collective bargaining needed to help local governments absorb these budget cuts, and the 12 percent health care premium and 5 percent pension contribution.

We have confirmed with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau that every item in tonight's bill follows the letter of the law.

The people of Wisconsin elected us to come to Madison and do a job. Just because the Senate Democrats won't do theirs, doesn't mean we won't do ours.

It's possible the GOP actually waited for the Democrats to return on hyper-ethical principles (hoping to involve them in a proper vote). Otherwise they conservatively hoped to avoid the potential stigma of a one-party vote, or daringly allowed the circus to continue in hopes of favorable poll results. I imagine a combination of all three.

Liberals are, naturally, unhappy. MoveOn decried the vote as "shameful, unprecedented, and probably illegal" before calling for the impeachment of the entire Republican senate. Union protestors in Madison yelled "You are cowards!" (Ironically, given their representatives are hiding in another state.) But it's hard to take seriously accusations of ethical wrong from those who have countenanced three weeks of truancy by the entire Democratic senate.

And the fleebagger 14 haven't promised to return anytime soon. They fear that their return could permit a vote on the original bill. A nefarious mind would suggest the Republicans continue with their (non-quorum-dependent) agenda while the Dems continue thinking it over.

The left's strategy will seek to move the battle from the legislature to the courts (the Wisconsin Supreme Court is up for grabs in April) and to recall (impeach) GOP senators and Scott Walker. More interestingly, there is already talk of general strikes - which could easily backfire on the unions.

National attention will soon shift to Indiana and Ohio - and possibly onward from there, if the process begins to ease with repetition.

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Discussions - 10 Comments

That was a great piece of information., I enjoyed reading it..,
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The democrats fled so that democracy could happen. How people don't see that yet is rather surprising.
If you watched the video where the vote took place, there is no way you can say that republicans have won. They knowingly sat there and violated the law, and now claim it was to help further the 2012 election in their favor.

No, they broke no laws because they stripped the spending out of the bill (and the quorum rule pertains only to spending bills). And what stupidity to say that the Dims withdrew from the democratic process so that democracy could happen. Wisconsin and the U.S. are constitution republican governments and are NOT ruled by mobocracy. The only beef the Dims have is LOSING.

Whew! What a relief. Looks like the adults are back in charge in Wisconsin. I bet that in about a year or so the budget deficits and finanical condition of the state will improve dramatically thanks to the adults.

Now onto the Stupid State. I have a tinge of hope that maybe, just maybe, the temper-tantrum throwing children that run the Stupid State will be overtaken by adults. Please pray for us adults in California aka the Stupid State.

They stripped the spending out of the bill, sure. But just what exactly is a financial bill that has nothing to do with spending? They're going around the law in ways they know they can't do. They also barely gave a notice before they grabbed a group of people together to vote in private on this.
You don't seem to understand. The senate has no filibuster option, so this is the only way they can bring this issue to light. Otherwise, the republican would have been the mob and would have rammed this bill through weeks ago with no knowledge by anyone who doesn't follow these things very closely. Most republicans didn't even know this was coming and they had voted for something like this, and the majority of people definately don't support the tactics going on.

"The democrats fled so that democracy could happen."

That is a blindingly stupid thing to say. Democracy happened on November 2nd 2010, and Gov Walker won by campaigning on these kinds of reforms (and won with a greater share of the state's vote than President Obama received nationally). The WI Democrats were using parliamentary tactics to prevent a vote on a bill which would pass with a majority of the democratically elected representatives. Those same democratically elected representatives used parliamentary tactics to pass the bill.

You can't hold an election then claim everything the winners do is undemocratic because you don't agree with them. If balancing the budget proves unpopular in WI then all those GOP reps will be voted out in two years and the state Democrats can vote itself into prosperity.

I apologize for the incivility of my tone. Uncalled for.

Walker didn't campaign on this collective bargaining. The start of this bill was the first time it was brought forward like this. And yes, both sides used tactics. However, leaving the state is perfectly legal. I've already mentioned how and why what the republicans did violated the law.

I'm not claiming everything they do is undemocratic. I have nothing against either party. But democracy doesn't end after elections are held, and being elected doesn't give you free reign to do anything you want when it goes against what the people want.

And no worries about your tone.

But legislation by intimidation (i.e, he who can marshal the most people in protest wins) is NOT democracy, it's mobocracy, and precisely what our republican form of government is designed to prevent. Unfortunately, the union movement, which is inveterately leftist, root and branch, doesn't understand representative government and never will.

I applaud Gov. Walker and his Wisconsin Republicans.

My final two cents: what you are talking about Anon is basically direct democracy, or as close as we can get with the constraints of time and space. There is a reason this nation was founded as a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy. I recommend you read Federalist #10.

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