Well, Burgher Wa*ker got his way - barring potential court challenges to the way he rammed his "budget repair" power grab through the Wisconsin legislature - but judging by the way the public and newspapers like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
turned on him, he's not going to enjoy a particularly long political career. From
the aforementioned paper:
In these days of massive budget deficits, the cost of government labor at all levels must be reined in. Limits on collective bargaining, carefully drawn, are reasonable. The state is $137 million short for the rest of this year alone.
But the Republicans went too far in their zeal to bust the unions and too far in their stubborn tactics to accomplish that mission. They are forcing these changes on an unwilling state at great cost - and they still haven't filled the budget hole the original measure was designed to fill (emphasis mine).
The Republican's blinkered blitz may have violated the state's open meetings law. Robert Dreps, an attorney and expert in the law, said he didn't think the conference committee could meet on such short notice. Normally, 24 hours are required, although an "emergency" meeting can be held with just two hours' notice. The furious pace raises a question: Once Republicans decided to split up the bill, why not debate it? What are they afraid of?
Both sides in this sorry affair have opened wide the door to extremism. The Democrats should not have fled the state. The Republicans did not need to resort to the petty contrivances of the Fitzgerald brothers - Scott in the Senate, Jeff in the Assembly - who called votes without Democrats in the room, played games with Democratic paychecks and even resorted to fining their absent colleagues.
Why the rush? This is, in my opinion, the best part - but only if you actually like gawking at the political equivalent of a multiple-fatality car crash:
Republicans, in the end, did what they had said they would not do: They cast aside provisions in the "budget-repair" bill that actually dealt with the budget and took an up-or-down vote on ending most collective bargaining. Fiscal matters require a Senate quorum of 20; the Republicans have only 19 members.
That's right. The Repubs in the Senate effectively did this as a naked, entirely opportunistic "get the unions" move and not much more despite all protests to the contrary. And the Journal Sentinel smells an ugly precedent being set in the offing:
Both parties are playing with fire. A walkout to thwart legislation will be as attractive to Republicans when they are no longer in power as it is to Democrats now. And scorched-earth tactics, such as those practiced by Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald, will seem just as attractive to Democrats when they regain control of the matches and accelerant.
Walker never campaigned on disenfranchising public-employee unions. If he had, he would not have been elected. He got a spare 52% of the vote - hardly a mandate for what he is trying to do.
My guess is that more than a few of the 52% who voted for Der Burgher greatly regret making that decision. They should.