Free Markets, Free People

The situation in Wisconsin

I’ve been busily reading everything I can about the Wisconsin situation as it stands right now.  It has been an interesting exercise.  Of course, one look at Memeorandum and you can instantly tell which ideological side a particular blog falls on.  Also interesting are the titles of some of the stories/posts.  Talk about sensationalist. 

Of course, that’s not to say that we’re not hearing the same thing from some of the participants on the protests and demonstrations.  Things like this:

“In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.”

And where were the Democrats?  In Illinois.  BTW, it was actually a few weeks and 30 minutes as the Democrats were invited, nearly daily, to come back from their self-imposed exile and participate.  A fact that James Joyner notes in his reply to the above quote:

Oh, nonsense. They were overwhelmingly elected in November and prevented from acting only by bad faith on the part of the Democratic minority. And the Democrats have the ability to either try to force Republicans out via the recall process or rally back to a majority in 2012 and undo this legislation.

That’s the process, isn’t it?  Just as it appears that the majority of the country thought that the passage of the health care bill in Congress was a travesty and made the point on November 2nd of last year, now Wisconsin voters – who put the GOP into the majority – have a process they can use to reverse what has happened.  But pretending that it was “disrespectful” to do what they did or a conspiracy to “take government away from the people” is, as Joyner notes, “nonsense”.

Apparently the move by the Republicans in the Senate was precipitated by two things as Christian Schneider at “The Corner” points out:

A letter Democrat Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller sent the governor today, indicating Miller’s unwillingness to further negotiate any details of the bill, was what prompted the GOP’s decision to take the bill to the floor.

“It was like, ‘I’m in the minority, and I’m going to dictate to you what your options are,’” said one GOP source about Miller’s letter. It was just three days ago that Miller had sent Fitzgerald a letter urging more negotiations, despite the fact that Governor Walker had been negotiating with at least two Democrat senators for nearly a week. “With his recent letter, it became clear that all he wanted to do was stall,” said the GOP source.

Another action that provoked the GOP senators to act was Democrat Senator Lena Taylor’s very public decision to have a spring election absentee ballot sent to her in Illinois. The spring election is scheduled for April 5th, which indicated Taylor’s desire to stay out of the state for another month. “That sure didn’t help,” said one GOP source.

Gov. Scott Walker has an Op/Ed in the WSJ that’s an interesting read.  One of the points he raises is about what unions are claiming and how unions are actually acting:

The unions say they are ready to accept concessions, yet their actions speak louder than words. Over the past three weeks, local unions across the state have pursued contracts without new pension or health-insurance contributions. Their rhetoric does not match their record on this issue.

Of course it could be said that they are simply establishing their negotiating position.  But my guess, given the outcry these past weeks, is that they feel they have the backing not to have to negotiate the cuts they previously said they were willing to make. 

Since the bill has been passed the uproar will most likely continue for a couple of days or so, peak and subside.  Outside forces have been attempting to finance and enable recall drives.  Under WI law, a politician has to have been in office for a year before he or she can be recalled.  Interestingly that applies to only 16 Senators, 8 GOP and 8 Democrats.  Even more interesting is every one of them has a recall petition being initiated against them.

As I understand it, Walker won’t be eligible for recall until next year.  Will the public still be motivated at that time to sign on or will it go the way of Indiana?

When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargaining in Indiana six years ago, it helped government become more efficient and responsive. The average pay for Indiana state employees has actually increased, and high-performing employees are rewarded with pay increases or bonuses when they do something exceptional.

In fact, an oft neglected part of the story, which John Fund revealed recently, is why Walker and the GOP are taking the action they’re taking:

The governor’s move is in reaction to a 2009 law implemented by the then-Democratic legislature that expanded public unions’ collective-bargaining rights and lifted existing limits on teacher raises.

A state already headed for the financial shoals saw a Democratic legislature expand the “rights” of the unions that had help put them in office and lift the limits on pay for other government union members.  I have it on good authority that the GOP Senators, when faced with this legislation, didn’t flee to Illinois.

Recalls aren’t easy things to do, and, we’ll see how they work out in Wisconsin.  My guess is, after everyone has a chance to cool down a bit, the recall drives – for both sides – will meet with less and less success. 

And, of course, depending on which side is most successful is making the case for their side, voters will either return Democrats to the majority in 2012 and see the bill repealed or the voters will decide what was done wasn’t such a bad thing (we’ll see how the budget deficit looks next year) and leave well enough alone.

We’ll monitor and report.



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12 Responses to The situation in Wisconsin

  • Well, the moonbats have whipped themselves into a fine froth.
    This is an amazing spectacle of lies, gross exaggeration, hyperbole, frenzy, and fear-mongering with a heavy admixture of demagoguery.
    One hopes, when reality reasserts itself with these people, that at least most of them will be ashamed and embarrassed at how they were used by the Collective, and specifically the White House.

  • The “new civility” sure is getting quite a test down in Madison isn’t it?

    Oh wait, only the Tea Party does it.

    Watch for the collective whitewashing of this Obama-financed riot by the MSM.

    Oh well…..I hope they choke on it.

  • Senate Republicans were harried by swarming crowds. “We tried to get out of the building after the vote, because they were rushing the chamber, and we were escorted by security through a tunnel system to another building. But, after being tipped off by a Democrat, they mobbed the exit at that building, and were literally trying to break the windows of the cars we were in as we were driving away,” Republican senator Randy Hopper tells NRO. Such tactics, he sighs, were hardly unexpected. “I got a phone call yesterday saying that we should be executed. I’ve had messages saying that they want to beat me with a billy club.”

    Got that…???
    The mob was tipped off by a Deemocrat about the security arrangements for state senators, so the mob could act.
    Thugs. Collectivist outlaws.

  • When you’ve pretty much had things go your way for a lifetime, as left-liberals have, it’s hard to deal with defeat, and even harder to deal with irrelevance.

    We saw the previews of this when Bush was elected over Gore. Bush wasn’t even really conservative, and supported plenty of big government initiatives. Yet just seeing their reign come to an end, with the GOP taking the White House and both houses of Congress, was sufficient to drive plenty of leftists into apoplexy.

    They swore they would come back, and they threw every single asset into the pot in 2006-2008: their money, their media credibility, even violence and intimidation at times. When they won back the Congress, they thought their defeat had been avenged and it was time to get back to the serious business of sponging off the rest of us and telling us what we would have to do for them.

    Now, it’s worse than they ever saw under Bush. At least some GOP politicians learned that just talking a good game and then trying to split the middle with leftist, parasitical demagogues is a losing strategy. Plus the ambient financial situation is clearly much worse, which gives those in touch with reality some additional motiviation to make real change.

    They sense, as some visceral level, that their time in the sun is over and the emotional appeal of their philosophy is no longer enough. Like toddlers that have never learned to deal with not getting something desired, they lash out, throw temper tantrums, break things, and blame everyone in sight except themselves.

    Therein lies the best results of this incident. The foolish Manhattanites who think the news universe rises and sets with the New York Times won’t find out the real story, but common people in the Midwest and other parts now have clarity on what the big government contingent stands for. It isn’t civility. It isn’t responsibility. It isn’t concern for the public. They stand for intimidation, violence, applied anarchy, and continuing to sponge off others no matter the consequences. These supposedly caring people, who claim their entire philosophy is about helping others (in contrast to wicked, uncaring limited government advocates) are exposed as the dishonest, thuggish parasites some of us knew they were all along.

    Clarity. May it spread from Madison like a ripple spreads on the surface of a lake.

    • We all have a role in that spread, Billy.
      I listened to bites of Jesse Jackson and Fat Mikey Moore.  There is NO attachment to reality.  I listened and watched the mob last night.  They have NO FREAKING idea of what is really in play.
      I’m betting that common sense and reality will assert themselves over time, but we have to talk and write to help that process along.

    • Good post Billy.

      You bring up two things I have pondered.

      One is Bush. Did he ever pass anything without bipartisan support? Medicare part D was Republican, but it was really just Democrat lite, and he got behind it 100%. He also backed–not just signed, but pushed–Ted’s “no child”.

      The other is leftist rage. I think it is rooted in a childish Utopian worldview. My Democrat mother-in-law really does believe everyone has a right to whatever they need, that green energy works because Gore, Obama et al support it, and so on. I think the difference between left and right is in large part a result of the difference in Utopian thinking on the relative sides–the right has it’s own Utopians who are also childish, but they are a smaller element.

      • I’m bringing up Bush because I find Bush hate to be very odd. He was consistently bipartisan. Even the Iraq War won 60% of Senate Democrat votes and 40% of House Democrat votes. Yet several years later, Dem Senators who voted for war were attmpting to trash General “Betrayus” on the Senate floor (several years later and he was heading up their surge in Afganistan).

        I suppose one could counter with the conservative rage with Clinton, despite him reforming welfare and otherwise adopting the Republican agenda. But I think there is a clear difference: at first Bill was attempting HillaryCare, banning rifles, and otherwise acting the leftist. Bill’s triangalation was mostly self serving (except for some things we knew he supported, like NAFTA), and he engaged in a sort of EO “guerrilla war”, and a lawsuit war against tobacco and gun companies. I have trouble seeing any Bush agenda items that gave the left much reason to hate. Yet hate they did . . .

        • I never believed Bush hatred was primarily about Bush. He was too moderate and too accommodating to the left for that.

          The two primary factors were (1) the aforementioned left’s apoplexy at losing the pre-eminent governing position in America, and (2) the de facto pacifism and extreme anti-militarism of the left. Bush could do a thousand things that would be just as approproriate for a Democrat to do, but actually using the military to defend the country was simply unforgivable to many basically pacifist leftists.

          You can see it in the “Bush lied, people died” mantra, and the “worst foreign policy mistake in history” gabble. He didn’t lie – you have to be bat-sh!+ insane to believe he thought there wasn’t any WMD there but he would use it as an excuse anyway. And despite various mistakes, it has turned out not too badly, for something supposedly a world-historical mistake. Then there are the claims of imperialist aggression, though the 1991 war (which the left just hates to talk about, because it was started by naked aggression) wasn’t ended, just in cease fire, and Saddam committed any number of actions during the cease fire that were acts of war.

          So you can’t parse the left’s hatred of Bush as founded in anything other than their own toddleresque anger at losing, and their idealistic-and-historically-illiterate view of the use of military power.

          • Bush’s three sins:

            1.  He had an (R) after his name

            2.  He was openly Christian

            3.  He campaigned and won

            The left cannot forgive those things.

  • Aren’t the facts on ground morally equivalent both with and without “collective bargaining” … or did I miss something ?
    Shoot !  For a bunch that seems to having no problem performing a “wallet-ectomy” on everybody else, they certainly don’t like being on the other end of the deal.

  • The feeding frenzy at the public is following all the historical precedents. Game over!
    Good night, America! It’s been swell!

  • Damn!
    That should be: “The feeding frenzy at the public trough is following all the historical precedents.”