Monday, February 28, 2011


By the time you read this, the situation may have changed – again. But I think we’re at “endgame” here with the demonstrators in Madison, the 14 absent Democrat senators, and Governor Walker.

I don’t see any moves left for the 14 senate Democrats who decamped to Illinois to forestall a vote on the Budget Repair Bill. Despite the constant presence of protesters at the Capitol, the guv has made it quite clear that he’s not willing to talk, not willing to negotiate.

The simple fact is, he has the votes; and eventually, if not already, he’ll get his way.

And then the lawsuits will begin. There’ll be lawsuits about the vote in the Assembly to pass the Budget Repair Bill; there’ll be lawsuits about keeping people out of the Capitol; there’ll be lawsuits about busting the public employee unions. Lawsuits enough to provide plenty of billable hours for plenty of lawyers on both sides, even with pro-bono contributions by the legal eagles on both sides.

I think my friend Bill Lueders’ brilliant analysis in last Thursday’s “Isthmus” is dead-bang on: there is a lot of harm being done here, and it may be irreparable harm. On both sides. There are very strong feelings on both sides of this union-busting issue, and nobody is changing anybody’s mind. Both sides have been digging in deeper for the past two weeks.

Regardless of where you fall on the issues, our state politicians have been kicking the budget problem down the road for far too many years, and now it truly is coming home to haunt us. This is not a time for one-time-only quick fixes. Too many of those slick tricks have gotten us where we are now – broke, with bills coming due.

And the City of Madison called into question its willingness to “give a little” when last week the City Council, in special session, approved extensions of the contracts with several of the public employee unions to avoid, temporarily, the increases in contributions toward health insurance and retirement that are sure to come. Like it or not, that sort of thing does not sit well with the “other side.”

Last week I was energized; this week, I’m saddened.


  1. There’ll be lawsuits about the vote in the Assembly to pass the Budget Repair Bill;

    Recess Supervisor (he has a blog!)--with whom I frequently disagree--posted the realities on that.

    In short: the Ass'y operates under rules NOT subject to Court interference. And the rules are made, and enforced, by the majority.

    You're right to be sad. This has become grotesque, not comical. But breaking self-feeding monopolies has always involved pain.

  2. Colonel,

    Some time back I remarked that the "Stupid Party" would surely fumble the ball again and then the Dems would be back in power. Then they'll over-reach once more while extending the reach of government and implementing more of their agenda...and that over-reaching will cause them to be booted out of office and the Pubbies will be back in lose it again when they can't quite figure out how this government stuff is supposed to get the picture.

    None of this is permanent. In the few morose moments I have, I realize that the Left has won. To the Right, squabbling over the remaining scraps looks like something substantive.

    Then I wonder about what will happen if Walker gets his way and the Senate passes the bill and he signs it into law. All that proves is that no political program is permanent. In this case it's collective bargaining for public employee unions.

    I must say that I'm amused whenever I hear or read comments by lefties that Walker won't gain a second term. Yes, he will...maybe even two more, if he wants them. Lefties don't seem to understand (I don't count you among them) that lines have to be drawn eventually when it comes to public expenditures. It isn't an endless dessert bar presided over by friendly legislators. I know that you've emphasized that the big issue for the unions is the collective bargaining "right", but that "right" is exercised to increase pay and benefits as much as possible.

    I heard an interesting comment about the nature of public employee unions today, probably from Walter Williams on Limbaugh's program: union money supports simpatico political candidates. When those candidates get into office, they agree to generous bennies for union employees, thus ensuring their re-election. Not much different from what happens with corporate support of other candidates. There isn't anything inherently morally superior about public employee unions.

    Rambling a bit, here, but I'm not saddened by what's going on in Madison. Something had to happen sooner or later, and Walker seems to be skilled enough at the executive game to call the bluff of the unions and the Democratic Senators. My only grumble is with how long it's taking for the other shoe to drop.

    The Town Crank

  3. I'm not saddened by what's going on in Madison

    Given your premise, Cranky, I'd agree.

    But to me, it IS 'sad' that 14 people well past the age of 15 are mocking and frustrating an election-result of the magnitude of November's.