On Saturday, the 14 AWOL Wisconsin state senators returned to Wisconsin after camping out in Illinois for a while. They didn’t exactly get a warm welcome from their Republican colleagues:
In a sign that Republicans are still smarting from the exodus of Democrats during deliberations on the budget, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told his caucus on Monday that Democrats remain in contempt of the Senate.
That means, he said, that Democrats can’t vote on bills or amendments.
“When taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.”
The Democrats didn’t like that warm welcome. In this case, I have to agree with them. Fitzgerald should drop the whole “contempt” thing and move on. The Democrats looked foolish enough fleeing the state. Don’t be foolish and continue to hold it against them. It is time to move on.
And that goes for the union thugs too, who are attempting a recall against the Senate Republicans (from Washington Examiner‘s Byron York):
If you’re a Republican, it’s a scenario straight out of “Alice in Wonderland.” Fourteen Wisconsin state senators, all Democrats, flee the state for three weeks, bringing government to a halt in an effort to stop Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill. After three weeks, the fugitive Democrats return in failure. And then, when a rich and highly organized effort to punish lawmakers is launched, it’s directed not at the Democrats who ran away but at the Republicans who stayed home and did their job.That is precisely what is now happening in Wisconsin. Local and national labor organizations, enraged by the successful Republican effort to limit the collective bargaining powers of public employees unions, are pouring money and manpower into petitions to recall GOP state senators. At the same time, Republican drives to recall runaway Democrats, while rich in volunteer spirit, are working with far less money and organized support.
This is absolutely outrageous. Both sides need to grow up and GET OVER IT. For God’s sake, stop acting like little children:
Officially, there are eight Republicans and eight Democrats facing recall petitions. But it appears the most serious challenges involve three on each side. Democrats are working hard to knock off Republican senators Dan Kapanke, Alberta Darling and Randy Hopper. Republicans are targeting Democratic senators Robert Wirch, Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen.
Wisconsin law requires recall petitioners to gather thousands of signatures before an actual election is held. The specific number, based on voting in the most recent elections, is different for each district but ranges from about 15,000 to 22,000.
That’s where the organizing strength of the AFL-CIO and its unions come in. Labor and its Democratic allies realize that Wisconsin is a critical battle and are desperate to make sure other states do not follow Wisconsin’s lead. Republicans, meanwhile, seem less aware of the stakes.
Beyond organization, there is a difference in the two recall efforts. The conservative drive to recall Democratic senators began in outrage over the Democrats’ flight from the state. How could lawmakers who took an oath of office do that? The liberal drive to recall Republicans began as an effort to pressure those senators to vote against Walker’s budget bill. Now that the bill has passed, it’s an effort to make examples of the senators who supported it.
The unions are such a corrupt force, but it’s those evil, racist, Tea Partiers whom the lazy, left-wing media seek to demonize.
Republicans in Wisconsin should stand on principle and fight back against the recall effort by continuing their own, but they should also extend an open hand to the Democrat legislators so they don’t look like jackasses in the process. Maybe this whole fight over recalls can be prevented (probably not).