Wisconsin: end of week one

by Harry on February 22, 2011

Again, today’s rallies at noon and at 4 have been large, though not massive. The Assembly is debating the bill, and the Dems are doing everything they can to delay it: when I was there an hour ago they were debating a motion to refer it to another committee—whereas they can only speak a few minutes each on a motion to table, they can speak forever (and it certainly seemed that was what they were doing) on a motion to refer. The senators are still outside the state (and donations are pouring into their coffers, I gather—the Reps are going to face a lot of money at the next election). Walker has delayed the budget speech for a week. There must come a point at which the observation that he is, in fact, incapable of governing will affect people’s view of him. Here’s a video by one of our graduate students:

{ 48 comments }

1

Tom T. 02.23.11 at 1:30 am

There must come a point at which the observation that he is, in fact, incapable of governing will affect people’s view of him.

Or of those opposing him. Is there any polling as to how this is playing among the Wisconsin public?

2

rosmar 02.23.11 at 1:38 am

Thanks for being out there, and for posting that video.

3

bob mcmanus 02.23.11 at 1:44 am

Dammit, Harry, why hasn’t anyone mentioned This! h/t Digby and dday at FDL

“Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Special Session Assembly Bill 5 which requires a 2/3s vote to pass tax rate increases on the income, sales or franchise taxes. “

Y’all have turned Wisconsin into California, without the sunshine and oranges. Good luck to ya, you’re gonna need it.

4

Brett Bellmore 02.23.11 at 1:46 am

So, if the House Republicans were to desert Washington, and hide somewhere in Mexico, this would prove that Obama was incapable of governing? I’m at somewhat of a loss for where the difference would be found.

5

John Quiggin 02.23.11 at 2:13 am

Just testing

6

sg 02.23.11 at 2:39 am

I don’t know about “prove,” Brett, but it seems like in that case Obama would be incapable of governing.

And in a country so steeped in bipartisan bonhomie as America, surely if Obama had forced those republicans to run to Mexico, it would mean that he had been very very bad. I mean, they only want to help him for the good of America, right? If he can’t get along with them under such bipartisan goodwill, surely it’s proof that he’s not fit to govern…

7

etbnc 02.23.11 at 3:24 am

Some Wisconsin poll data:
Blumenthal on Wisconsin poll

8

Grad Student Lurker 02.23.11 at 4:03 am

This is my first time posting here. I’m in Wisconsin and the AFL-CIO has started airing television commercials. The commercial is focused on firefighters and has a firefigher as the main announcer. What is great about the commercial is the final line at the end. (I’m paraphrasing here) “Governor Walker we agreed to your cuts. This is about preserving our rights.” It’s really important that everyone involved keeps hammering this point home.

9

joe koss 02.23.11 at 4:04 am

Bob, don’t forget about this gem either: “Scott Walker of Wisconsin promised to eliminate their states’ corporate taxes.”

10

Unlearner 02.23.11 at 4:29 am

It’s a beautiful building.

11

logern 02.23.11 at 4:53 am

So, if the House Republicans were to desert Washington, and hide somewhere in Mexico

Yes, I could support a border fence.

12

mregan 02.23.11 at 6:41 am

The original post referred to the Republicans as the “Reps”–doesn’t that sound entirely too wholesome, like their “Rep”resenting something other than unenlightened self interest? Let’s start a thread on something else, more truly representative with which to refer to our erring brethren. I’ll start: how about “Pubes”? It’s vaguely salacious, and conviently offers reference to their obvious self concern.

13

Spaghetti Lee 02.23.11 at 8:51 am

Well, Brett, it actually does prove that Walker is a terrible governor. A smarter governor would realize that his proposal was going over like a lead balloon given what lengths people are going to protest it, and he would reconsider and take a course that people found more acceptable. That’s what it means to be a leader in a democratic society. Walker, apparently, is rushing in where Mitch Daniels and Rick Scott fear to tread, and has stumbled upon the genius idea of holding peoples’ jobs hostage until his bill gets shoved through. Again, not a smart leader we’re dealing with.

14

angellight 02.23.11 at 9:24 am

Gov. Walker is another drone motivated by money and power and with no Heart and Compassion for the people who work hard everyday for a living. He is no better than a dictator or a Hitler. Hitler did the same thing in May of 1933, which is to jail union members and abolish them. These acts are how democracy dies and a tolitarian society is born.

15

Cian 02.23.11 at 11:20 am

A smarter governor would get at least some of his stuff passed. A stupid governor achieves sod all. A really stupid one gets recalled, which I imagine is where this is going.

16

Brett Bellmore 02.23.11 at 12:01 pm

It’s not going over like a lead balloon, it’s popular with some, unpopular with others. The others are in a position to skip work to protest, apparently without the consequences people would face in the private sector for such an action. The ones it’s popular with are pretty much stuck with having to show up for work, and aren’t terribly impressed that they’re paying for people to protest.

It appears to me the Wisconsin Republicans have found a workable strategy, though: The 20 quorum only applies to financial bills, so the Republicans are queuing up a series of non-financial bills, such as voter ID, which Democrats can’t block unless they come back.

In the mean while, to answer my own question: If House Republicans fled to another country so that no laws could be passed, it would not prove that Obama was incapable of governing, it would prove something about House Republicans. And it doesn’t demonstrate that Walker can’t govern, if Wisconsin Democrats flee to another state, any more than it proves that you can’t drive if somebody shoots out the tire of your car.

It just proves they’re sore losers.

17

Cian 02.23.11 at 12:14 pm

The ones it’s popular with are pretty much stuck with having to show up for work, and aren’t terribly impressed that they’re paying for people to protest.

Citation please.

18

belle le triste 02.23.11 at 12:33 pm

Shorter BB: I have internalised the interests of my paymasters and declare them identical to the natural order of things.

If you’re this resentful that none of YOUR current political allies will come protesting when you have your work contract and future plans arbitrarily curtailed or changed, without recourse, it’s because you have the wrong political allies. Unionise, Brett! You’re halfway there but gazing in the wrong direction — the extremely rich and powerful are not your pals and buddies!

19

Salient 02.23.11 at 12:46 pm

It just proves they’re sore losers.

The privileged are quite comfortable thinking this is all just a game.

The ones it’s popular with are pretty much stuck with having to show up for work, and aren’t terribly impressed that they’re paying for people to protest.

I’m glad to know all the retirees are on our side. Thanks for admitting this!

In fact, since there are very few people who work seven days a week and long enough hours to prohibit them from showing up ever, all you’re doing is proving the overwhelming unpopularity of Walker’s proposal.

Honestly, Brett, even I think more people support your point of view than you seem to!

20

Harry 02.23.11 at 12:47 pm

The last poll I gave something like 54 against the bill, 41 for. USA Today had a poll yesterday showing that nationwide 61% would oppose a bill like the one in Wisconsin if it were proposed in their state. Brett’s getting really boring, and it is worth remembering that he actually knows nothing at all about how anyone in Wisconsin thinks or feels about this. A fun update in an hour or so.

21

Brett Bellmore 02.23.11 at 12:48 pm

Shorter belle le triste: I have no response to what Brett Bellmore said, so I will substitute something he didn’t say under the pretense of condensing his comment.

“Shorter” is pretty much always a tacit admission that you’ve lost an argument.

22

Cian 02.23.11 at 12:49 pm

Shorter Brett:
“I know you are because you said you are”.

23

Salient 02.23.11 at 12:49 pm

Also:

The others are in a position to skip work to protest, apparently without the consequences people would face in the private sector for such an action.

Common consequences for massive strikes in the private sector have included tear gas, firefighter hoses, beatings, vicious dogs, and National Guard strikebreakers.

What exactly are you trying to encourage?

24

Harry 02.23.11 at 12:55 pm

Yes, Brett might want to check out the justice for janitors video. I guess being beaten up so badly that you miscarry is a fair outcome for private sector strikers.

25

ejh 02.23.11 at 1:12 pm

Harry, you couldn’t let know whoever made that video that sí takes an accent, and that there needs to be an inverted exclamation mark (¡) before it?

26

engels 02.23.11 at 3:14 pm

Thanks for all the updates.

27

Brad 02.23.11 at 3:21 pm

Seconding engels @ 26.

28

Barry 02.23.11 at 3:51 pm

Brett Bellmore 02.23.11 at 1:46 am

“So, if the House Republicans were to desert Washington, and hide somewhere in Mexico, this would prove that Obama was incapable of governing? I’m at somewhat of a loss for where the difference would be found.”

Just to help you out on that whole ‘no memory except the current news cycle on Fox’ thing that you have; the GOP spent two years doing maximum obstruction, and just about every right-winger in the media and every on the internet blamed President Obama.

29

Sev 02.23.11 at 5:22 pm

30

Brett Bellmore 02.23.11 at 5:45 pm

Make that “maximum obstruction” within the law, while the Wisconsin Democrats’ obstructive tactic is outside the law, which is why they had to flee beyond the jurisdiction of state police.

31

Salient 02.23.11 at 5:51 pm

the Wisconsin Democrats’ obstructive tactic is outside the law

Actually, while the state executive has the authority to drag them back into the chamber, their leaving the state is not illegal. That is, they haven’t broken any laws. They can’t be, like, arrested for a crime. (In which case there’d be extradition between states.)

But you know that already, which is why you tried to weasel with the phrase “outside the law” instead of using the more clearly false equivalent “illegal.” You’re less fun to talk with when you lie like that.

32

Cryptic ned 02.23.11 at 6:32 pm

To live outside the law you must be honest.

33

Christopher Phelps 02.23.11 at 7:50 pm

Brett’s getting really boring, and it is worth remembering that he actually knows nothing at all about how anyone in Wisconsin thinks or feels about this.

This is very true. I’ve been thinking about Iowa (where I grew up and my family, including my 94 year old grandmother, helped put Obama over the top in 2008), Minnesota (where my sister lives and we summered every year), Wisconsin (where I worked on my uncle’s farm, damaging his pole shed by ramming a 1940s International Harvester tractor into it), and Ohio (where I lived ten years). They all have a very different feel to them. Tip O’Neill once said all politics is local. There’s a huge Wisconsin tradition kicking in here, hence the Badger red of the protestors.

My Wisconsin memories of Madison, before many research trips there, are of my uncle, a longhair U-W Ph.D. in biology who taught for a whole career with his wife on the Baraboo campus; we’d drive in from time to time. Out in Baraboo the farmers in the area, including one who kept bees like my uncle, were Lutherans. We’d go to the old clapboard church and picnic with them on Sundays. It was like the Granger world, still around in the 1970s. My uncle, the back to the lander, whose Dylan albums I would listen to half-comprehdingly, and the Scandinavian-inflected locals out in the hinterland. It had a good feel to it.

But Harry, this is now world news. We on the outside are permitted to interpret its meaning too. It’s already spilled over into Indiana and Ohio. Every state in the union practically faces similar legislation from a highly disciplined, quasi-Leninist GOP under Rove’s watch. So even if Brett is from the other side, and even if Wisconsin gets all the due, please don’t get too parochial on us. I’m almost tempted to say that’s a British trait, not a Midwestern one. But then I’d be trumping your Madison with my Iowan.

34

Lemuel Pitkin 02.23.11 at 8:03 pm

“Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Special Session Assembly Bill 5 which requires a 2/3s vote to pass tax rate increases on the income, sales or franchise taxes. ”

Why can’t this law be repealed with a simple majority vote?

35

Christopher Phelps 02.23.11 at 8:07 pm

It could, after another election.

36

sg 02.23.11 at 11:20 pm

The others are in a position to skip work to protest, apparently without the consequences people would face in the private sector for such an action

Did you miss the part where it was pointed out that private sector works will retain their right to strike, and it’s only being taken from public sector workers?

37

Harry 02.23.11 at 11:46 pm

Oh I know full well that this is world news, and that anyone can interpret its meaning. Its the a priori expostulating about things one knows nothing at all about that bothers me (note, not enough that I’m deleting his comments, which would be rude).

38

Brett Bellmore 02.24.11 at 12:23 am

I know they will. But private sector workers, most of them, are subject to summary firing if they lie to their employers about why they missed work. I certainly am.

And that’s what a “sick-out” is: A lie. That’s it’s an implausible lie doesn’t change that. And most private sector employees are well aware that, in the teachers’ place, they’d likely lose their jobs.

39

Substance McGravitas 02.24.11 at 12:29 am

And most private sector employees are well aware that, in the teachers’ place, they’d likely lose their jobs.

You’ve sold me on this union business.

40

Harry 02.24.11 at 12:59 am

I think most employers would hesitate before firing half their workforce for a sick out, especially if they their workers are skilled and the functioning of their workplaces depended on a high level of continuity. Maybe some would be stupid enough to, though.

41

sg 02.24.11 at 1:41 am

Brett, I suspect that the law enshrining the “right to strike” for private employees means they can’t be fired summarily for going on strike. Which doesn’t mean they won’t be, but we’re talking about rights here, not their practical application.

So here we have you cheering on the state in taking a right you possess away from other people. Aren’t you meant to be some kind of libertarian?

42

Moby Hick 02.24.11 at 1:53 am

Maybe I should stop giving people ideas, but it wouldn’t be that hard to pretend to accept 9 of 10 (or 19 of 20 or whatever) sick notes from teachers and fire the remainder. The Romans weren’t noted for timidity, but they only found it necessary to decimate.

43

nick s 02.24.11 at 2:45 am

Aren’t you meant to be some kind of libertarian?

Yeah, it’s instructive to see Mr Guns And Liberty showing what he thinks of coercive state and managerial power. Perhaps he thinks state employees ought to pack heat when they discuss pay and conditions, instead of having a union as their force multiplier?

44

Cian 02.24.11 at 8:23 am

Maybe I should stop giving people ideas, but it wouldn’t be that hard to pretend to accept 9 of 10 (or 19 of 20 or whatever) sick notes from teachers and fire the remainder.

And how do you think that would end?

45

Henri Vieuxtemps 02.24.11 at 9:52 am

Sickout is simply an action practiced by workers who are, by law, not allowed to strike. Happens all the time, what’s so special here? Employers have their methods, employees have theirs.

46

Cian 02.24.11 at 10:28 am

I’ve always liked “Work to Rule”.

47

engels 02.24.11 at 11:55 am

I have a pretty low opinion of libertarians but Brett Bellmore is not a libertarian, just a troll.

48

DiSc 03.01.11 at 5:04 pm

As an Italian living in Holland I am probably an unlikely commenter on US events. However, here it comes:

I was a foreign exchange student in Waushara County at the end on the ’90s. Then 17, I was inhebriated by the American way of life, and stayed staunchly pro-US even in the dark days of the Iraq invasion (you might not remember, but some 90%+ of European public opinion was against. It took me a lot of effort to stand my ground).

For various reasons, I did not return to the US until last September. What I found broke my heart: the lowering of working conditions, unemployment, general hopelessness and diminished expectations, the fascist Beck/Tea Party/Fox propaganda, the awareness that those who created the whole financial mess are essentially above the law.

To Wisconsinites and Americans of either political camp this may mean nothing, but protesters in Madison are restoring my hope in the US as a land of freedom and democracy. God bless you and good luck.

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