Well, they did it — probably unconstitutionally, certainly amorally, but the Wisconsin state senate Republicans crammed through their union-crushing bill last night. The Republicans took the pieces of Walker’s legislation that affect unions—including eliminating bargaining rights for most public-sector unions—and made them into a separate bill which they claimed they could pass without Democrats being present.
Which they did. And the response wasn’t very happy from the union workers and protesters and plain decent people of Wisconsin (and beyond) gathered for so long in Madison.
Gonna get uglier before it gets prettier.
“The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs.”
Walker is a liar. As I said before, this isn't about saving the budget in Wisconsin. It's about union-busting. Because if you bust the unions, you hurt Democrats. This guy (Walker's closest ally) even admits it:
FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.
Anyway, last night's gambit only served to make the air significantly more toxic, enraging working families and their Democratic allies. Indeed, if the GOP were sweating over Democratic recall efforts before, Republicans have to realize they just put their majority in serious jeopardy.
If pushing the union-busting bill was the equivalent of poking the hornets' nest, ramming it through this way was the equivalent of beating the hornets' nest with a tire-iron and then daring the hornets to do something about it.
Walker and the GOP had a chance to accept a very favorable compromise. If the recall efforts are successful, they may soon wonder why they rejected a good deal.