The Wisconsin Governor does not like unions.

Kraint wrote:

Really, when is the last time you heard about a Republican at the national level crossing the aisle to vote for something, anything, that the official party position was against?

Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown come to my mind for some reason, but New England Republicans tend to be fairly moderate (which seems to be a rare thing in the party these days).

Kraint wrote:

I really don't think the Republicans are coming together to achieve goals, they are purging the non-believers. ANY Republican that votes against the party line gets ousted in the next election. What happens now is that a Republican is elected, not an individual that is a member of the party and has his/her own views on things. Really, when is the last time you heard about a Republican at the national level crossing the aisle to vote for something, anything, that the official party position was against?

This is the weakness of a 2 party system. Republicans flubbed us for 8 years. Obama is a center right politician which alienated the Left and they stayed home. The rest of the country was just plain unimpressed with what Obama was delivering. What other choice did these people have but to vote Republican? Now, the Republicans are flubbing us again.

Just got back. Crowds today were significantly higher than Feb. 26th (the snowy day where estimates were in the 70-100k range).

I saw plenty of passion, and no small amount of anger, but (once again) zero violence. I'm pretty fried right now from standing in high wind for over eight hours, but will write more thoughts after I crash for a bit.

Why are people still going if the bill has already passed? What are they expecting to happen?

Dirt wrote:
Kraint wrote:

I really don't think the Republicans are coming together to achieve goals, they are purging the non-believers. ANY Republican that votes against the party line gets ousted in the next election. What happens now is that a Republican is elected, not an individual that is a member of the party and has his/her own views on things. Really, when is the last time you heard about a Republican at the national level crossing the aisle to vote for something, anything, that the official party position was against?

This is the weakness of a 2 party system. Republicans flubbed us for 8 years. Obama is a center right politician which alienated the Left and they stayed home. The rest of the country was just plain unimpressed with what Obama was delivering. What other choice did these people have but to vote Republican? Now, the Republicans are flubbing us again.

I agree with everything but this. The major problem of the 2 party system is just that, it is only 2 parties. The problem is multiplied when both choices are not ideal. Each side is going to do what they can for their own and no one is looking out for the majority.

LeapingGnome wrote:

Why are people still going if the bill has already passed? What are they expecting to happen?

Recall Elections, most likely.

obirano wrote:
dirt wrote:

This is the weakness of a 2 party system. Republicans flubbed us for 8 years. Obama is a center right politician which alienated the Left and they stayed home. The rest of the country was just plain unimpressed with what Obama was delivering. What other choice did these people have but to vote Republican? Now, the Republicans are flubbing us again.

I agree with everything but this. The major problem of the 2 party system is just that, it is only 2 parties. The problem is multiplied when both choices are not ideal. Each side is going to do what they can for their own and no one is looking out for the majority.

Obama is not even remotely as liberal as he is made out to be, it's just that the right-wing politicians have moved the goalposts so far into crazyland that the current "political center" is the conservative stance of a decade ago. An embarrassing amount of the legislation that Obama has championed in the last two years are just iterations of things republicans where championing in the 90's.

For example: while a senator for Illinois he voted in favor of the Great Wall of Mexico. That pissed off the Latin American community something fierce, and was a surprisingly un-Democrat vote from him.

FWIW, however, Wikipedia had the following information regarding his voting history while in the Senate:

Ratings of Obama's liberalism by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), based on 20 ADA-selected votes each year, declined from 100% in 2005 to 95% in 2006, with one vote the ADA counted as not-liberal in 2006, and 75%, with five missed votes, in 2007.[56][57]
A study of the voting records of all 100 senators, using an average of the ratings of seven liberal interest groups, described Obama as "among the most liberal", scoring an 92%, of the Democrats.[58]

They have to position him as "liberal" because that term was made poisonous in the late 80's, and so any opponent of a Republican must be liberal, or how can he be vilified? The fact that progressives and liberal Democrats have been beating him up since he's been elected, and that he's given the Republicans many, many concessions (some of which they took, some they didn't, all of which they shouted down) doesn't seem to weigh on the scales, because everyone knows he's a liberal, and so he's not going to do what's right for America. Ask Fox - it's the label that matters, not the content.

Gitmo is still open. Military tribunals for terrorist suspects. Indefinite detention. Bush bailout policies continued. Lack of enforcement for Wall St (just wait till you see the report that says there were *zero* improper foreclosures....). Most of the 90's era Republican health care ideas. Tax cuts instead of policy changes. Backing off of gay rights. Support for corporate interests over citizens in a variety of areas.

Oh yeah... Dangerous liberal. Well, it makes sense - he's a foreigner, after all, and someone who lies to get into the job can't be trusted in the first place. Let's just hope Michele Bachman's speech the other day in the birthplace of the American Revolution, Concord NH, will help remind Americans of the True Path we need to get back on. We need more patriots like her, with a deep understanding of history, to restore the Constitution to the position it had before Roosevelt trod all over it. God help us every one, because the Congress sure as hell won't!

ruhk wrote:

An embarrassing amount of the legislation that Obama has championed in the last two years are just iterations of things republicans where championing in the 90's.

e.g.: "Obamacare"

Yeah, every time someone calls Democrats or Obama Liberal I want to chortle patronisingly and pat the whole of America on the head.

He's only 'Left' in relation to the increasingly right wing bent of the Republicans, who seem to be successfully pulling American society along with them. That's why the 'Secret socialist' thing is so ridiculous.

LeapingGnome wrote:

Why are people still going if the bill has already passed? What are they expecting to happen?

To keep the political pressure on. Our next steps are both legal (getting an injunction against the law which was illegally passed by the State Senate), and political (the recall efforts against 8 GOP State Senators). The former will be straightforward and is already in the hands of lawyers, but the latter will require keeping people motivated and engaged over an extended period of time.

It was never likely that the rallies, in themselves, would cause the shift we needed - though kudos to Senator Schultz and the 4 Assembly members who stood up to their party leadership in the course of representing their constituents. Others may have been on the fence - it's possible that Governor Walker got wind of enough legislators wavering that he pulled the trigger on ramming through the CBA provisions rather than trying to wait out the Wisconsin 14.

Regarding the crowd: Madison police estimated Saturday's rally at between 85k-100k protesters, 50 tractors, and 1 donkey. Once again, zero arrests. It felt significantly more packed than the snow day they estimated at 70-100k - several of the streets feeding into the Capitol were packed a block or more deep, in addition to the masses filling the street, sidewalks, and Capitol lawn. I'm not sure what's up with 100k being their high-end estimate for both days. As has been the case throughout this process, the protesters were passionate but peaceful, wonderfully creative, and demonstrated an ownership attitude towards the space they were using to peaceably assemble.

IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5056/5521533082_0e69b3dfc6.jpg) IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5135/5520929497_67778a41ec.jpg) IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5134/5520872821_056fa7ec37.jpg) IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5178/5521544090_7b52a3654e.jpg) IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5019/5521540210_443c6bc7d0.jpg) IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5176/5520954529_96431645dc.jpg)

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

I think maybe it's more just the lack of compromise that bothers me. Just because one party holds the majority doesn't mean the minority should be completely dismissed. Shouldn't there be some level of compromise? Maybe there's been more than has been exposed, but it really seems like the majority party is ramming through the legislation with no regard to the minority. Call me crazy but that doesn't seem like democracy to me.

Actually that's exactly what Democracy is. Democracy's largest failing is the "Tyranny of the Majority" the well-known expression "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner" is the worst case scenario of that. There are some things that you can do to mitigate that, the easiest thing to do is allow a filibuster or super-majority system (I'll treat them as the same thing, because as your use of a filibuster increases it basically acts like a supermajority is required anyways) that has the benefit of needing a larger majority to start making trouble (and the larger it is the harder it is to get things started), however that has the downside of inflaming Democracy's other weakness: the fact that it's hard to get anything done.

Requiring a 2/3rds vote for everything makes it harder for a slim majority to run roughshod over the others, but it also would slow down government of all sorts to a crawl.

Different types of government have other specific things in place to fight against the Tyranny of the majority. At the Federal level both the Executive and Judicial branch are involved. The President can Veto laws (an elegant solution for deciding which important issues require a super majority without a blanket decision) and most importantly the Supreme Court can rule laws as violating the Constitutional Rights of a minority. The Supreme Court is the last line of defense, they are so insulated from the public in how they are voted in (and then never need to run again) precisely to keep them as far away from a possibly tyrannical majority as possible. Not to mention a possibly tyrannical President.

Yonder wrote:
Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

I think maybe it's more just the lack of compromise that bothers me. Just because one party holds the majority doesn't mean the minority should be completely dismissed. Shouldn't there be some level of compromise? Maybe there's been more than has been exposed, but it really seems like the majority party is ramming through the legislation with no regard to the minority. Call me crazy but that doesn't seem like democracy to me.

Actually that's exactly what Democracy is. Democracy's largest failing is the "Tyranny of the Majority" the well-known expression "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner" is the worst case scenario of that

[Also a bunch of other good stuff]

Democracy can be practiced that way, but the fact that tyranny of the majority is consistent with democracy doesn't mean that it's an essential trait.

Negotiation and compromise are essential to a healthy democracy, in my view.

ruhk wrote:
obirano wrote:
dirt wrote:

This is the weakness of a 2 party system. Republicans flubbed us for 8 years. Obama is a center right politician which alienated the Left and they stayed home. The rest of the country was just plain unimpressed with what Obama was delivering. What other choice did these people have but to vote Republican? Now, the Republicans are flubbing us again.

I agree with everything but this. The major problem of the 2 party system is just that, it is only 2 parties. The problem is multiplied when both choices are not ideal. Each side is going to do what they can for their own and no one is looking out for the majority.

Obama is not even remotely as liberal as he is made out to be, it's just that the right-wing politicians have moved the goalposts so far into crazyland that the current "political center" is the conservative stance of a decade ago. An embarrassing amount of the legislation that Obama has championed in the last two years are just iterations of things republicans where championing in the 90's.

This is an argument that doesn't hold any water to me. How far back do we look to see if someone is conservative or liberal? As far back as is convienent or should we look at the traits of each in the 80s, 50s, and maybe the 1800s? Political views and stances change over time.

Note: before I get raked over the coals as a conservative trying to stir trouble, I am for neither side at this point. They both annoy me.

People are rarely raked over the coals here for a position, rather they are raked over the coals for failing to justify it.

How far back do we look to see if someone is conservative or liberal? As far back as is convienent or should we look at the traits of each in the 80s, 50s, and maybe the 1800s? Political views and stances change over time.

Note: before I get raked over the coals as a conservative trying to stir trouble, I am for neither side at this point. They both annoy me.

I tend to think that "as far as is convenient" is a fair response. Obama is center right vs the 80s, 70s, 60s, and (on certain platforms) the 20s. He's a pretty psycho crazy liberal nutjob compared to the 1790s, 1400s Spain, and the Roman Republic.

You're right that political views and stances change over time -- you can draw a correlation between the length of women's skirts and how well the economy is doing, after all. People tend to get scared and vote conservative whenever there's an economic downturn, so Obama being right of center in a recession shouldn't surprise people.

I don't particularly think that means we need to start prefacing every "xxx politician is technically center-xxx of the political spectrum" with "in comparison to xxx time..." I think it's a fair assumption at this point.

A XXX politician would rock. Oh, wait, that's not what you mean.

DSGamer wrote:

A XXX politician would rock. Oh, wait, that's not what you mean.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/i5J4O.jpg)

DSGamer wrote:

A XXX politician would rock. Oh, wait, that's not what you mean.

Here you go.

Oh, and closer to home. ;)

Seth wrote:
How far back do we look to see if someone is conservative or liberal? As far back as is convienent or should we look at the traits of each in the 80s, 50s, and maybe the 1800s? Political views and stances change over time.

I tend to think that "as far as is convenient" is a fair response. Obama is center right vs the 80s, 70s, 60s, and (on certain platforms) the 20s. He's a pretty psycho crazy liberal nutjob compared to the 1790s, 1400s Spain, and the Roman Republic.

I like to stick to the classic definition.

liberalism

lib·er·al·ism
   /ˈlɪbərəˌlɪzəm, ˈlɪbrə-/ Show Spelled[lib-er-uh-liz-uhm, lib-ruh-] Show IPA
–noun
1.
the quality or state of being liberal, as in behavior or attitude.
2.
a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.

See this here:

Robear wrote:

Gitmo is still open. Military tribunals for terrorist suspects. Indefinite detention. Bush bailout policies continued. Lack of enforcement for Wall St (just wait till you see the report that says there were *zero* improper foreclosures....). Most of the 90's era Republican health care ideas. Tax cuts instead of policy changes. Backing off of gay rights. Support for corporate interests over citizens in a variety of areas.

Doesn't fit that definition, no matter how you may want to look at it.

Obama is not even remotely as liberal as he is made out to be, it's just that the right-wing politicians have moved the goalposts so far into crazyland that the current "political center" is the conservative stance of a decade ago. An embarrassing amount of the legislation that Obama has championed in the last two years are just iterations of things republicans where championing in the 90's.
This is an argument that doesn't hold any water to me. How far back do we look to see if someone is conservative or liberal? As far back as is convienent or should we look at the traits of each in the 80s, 50s, and maybe the 1800s? Political views and stances change over time.

Uh, it's really easy to look at the *policies* proposed in '93 and compare them to the Obama health care proposal. That shows clearly that much of his health care proposal was also central the Republican proposal in '93, and some of those same politicians voted against it this time around. Policy proposals don't change over time, so your objection here is mistaken.

WI GOP, not satisfied with current whole in foot, reaches for a bigger gun.
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wis-goper-scott-fitzgerald-dems-in-contempt-not-allowed-to-vote-in-committees.php?ref=fpi

This will definitely soothe all of those protesters around Madison.

He's got to get as much done as he can before the injunctions and the recalls get into gear.

Kraint wrote:

WI GOP, not satisfied with current hole in foot, reaches for a bigger gun.
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wis-goper-scott-fitzgerald-dems-in-contempt-not-allowed-to-vote-in-committees.php?ref=fpi

This will definitely soothe all of those protesters around Madison.

It's like their political playbook is cribbed (poorly) from watching the World Series of Poker.

"All in."

"Sir, I haven't dealt the c-"

"All in."

Less flippantly, this is a case study in how not to govern. The injunctions will grind slowly along, and the recalls will happen. Democrats need only 3 of the 8 senatorial recalls to succeed to flip the balance of power. It seems likely that the Assembly will face recall efforts on the same timeline as Governor Walker.

I just can't see any kind of exit strategy for them here. If you go out of your way to polarize the electorate and motivate the opposition's base, what can you possibly stand to benefit?

It looks more and more likely that Bob Schwoch's assessment is spot on - namely, that Walker's actions should be viewed through the lens of him trying to land the 2012 GOP VP spot. That may work (though I expect losing all the court cases and the recall effort in the meantime will hurt him). I can't think that there's any way the GOP members of the Republican legislature come out of this intact, though.

What am I missing?

It's very rare for a Democratic government to ever completely reverse the damage done by Republicans -- by moving the bar so far, they make it very difficult to move it all the way back.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

What am I missing?

As far as I can see their best case scenario is the recalls not going through, and then the population at large forgetting/forgiving them before the next election. I don't see this as being likely at all, but maybe they do?

Another scenario is that they already realize they are way past the point of no return, and Robear is on the money.

And, at the very least, what Malor said was spot on as well.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

I just can't see any kind of exit strategy for them here. If you go out of your way to polarize the electorate and motivate the opposition's base, what can you possibly stand to benefit?

The GOP is being straight-up stupid here. For some of these State Senators, it seems like a "keeping face" issue. They've crossed the Rubicon, and they can't go weak now. Run this to the hilt and get done what you need to get done.

For the governor, I can't say I knew very much about Scott Walker before now, but it strikes me that he is a very ambitious man. I think it's possible he's looking to use the governorship as a stepping-stone to a larger political office, and punching unions in the nose this way is a real "red meat" move to fire up the conservative base for a future Presidential run in 2016, perhaps. And as long as the GOP controls either the House, the Senate or the Governor's mansion, their union-busting measures stay in place. I think they hope it's long enough to sap the strength from the union movement, 'defund' their political enemies and yeah, they think by then it'll "all blow over". By the time the Democrats do control enough of the government to reinstate unions, I think the Republicans hope that people will not support unions enough to make it political unfeasible to reverse these sweeping changes made in 2011.

The guys who lose their office? I wouldn't be too shocked if they get lucrative positions as lobbyists or at a conservative think-tank if they lose their positions, as a reward for helping out big businesses that gain to profit handsomely from this current government in WI.

Otherwise, I just don't get it. It's stupid politics, and I seriously believe killing unions is bad for Wisconsin and bad for America.

Yonder wrote:
Dimmerswitch wrote:

What am I missing?

As far as I can see their best case scenario is the recalls not going through, and then the population at large forgetting/forgiving them before the next election. I don't see this as being likely at all, but maybe they do?

Another scenario is that they already realize they are way past the point of no return, and Robear is on the money.

And, at the very least, what Malor said was spot on as well.

Didn't over half of Wisconsin vote Walker into office when this was part of his election campaign? I have a hard time believing that he will be recalled, and if the voters of Wisconsin are the same ones that voted him in, I'd imagine he'll will the next election if he runs. Say what you like about his policies and decision making, but he's been remarkably true to his campaign promises of budget reform.

Walk-O-Meter - Tracking Walker's campaign promises.

Clearly the large percentage of Wisconsinites who didn't vote for him are unhappy with his policies and are quite vocal about it, which is fine, and in fact encouraged in our style of government. I just wouldn't be to quick to assume that everyone in Wisconsin agrees with them.

I don't think we're talking about Walker getting recalled -- although given that he won 52% -- 47%, it's not too crazy to think that 2% + 1 of the population that voted for him are now disgusted with his antics.

More realistically, these recall elections are going to go after state senators, which may be more vulnerable.

Walker will face a recall effort - Wisconsin law dictates that he must serve a full year before he can be recalled, which is why the noise right now is about our state senators (eight of whom are eligible for recall currently).

It's important to remember that a couple of things: Walker won with 52% of the vote in an extremely low-turnout election. His margin of victory was 125,000 votes. We've had close to that many folks demonstrating at the Capitol on a single day.

Walker also did not run on a platform of eviscerating labor rights (or many of the other things he's trying to force through). Wisconsin, historically, has been a labor-friendly state. Public-sector unions first won legal recognition in the US here in Wisconsin (in 1959).

Additionally, the extremely poor behavior by our state GOP has turned some supporters and fence-sitters against them. It's a stereotype borne of truth that Wisconsinites value politeness, and the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. I've talked with several folks at the protests who either voted for Walker or were traditionally Republican, and they're mad as hell at how this has all gone down.

Nomad and I do both agree that it's important not to take any of these recall efforts for granted, although I think if we turn out the vote, we win handily. I expect many efforts in the next month or two geared to suppress voting - there will be much public hand-wringing by Walker's political allies about "vote fraud", and anti-voting laws voted through on the pretext that they will stop that (largely fictive) problem.

I suspect too that if several of the state senate recalls succeed, that will create a momentum effect. If that happens, Walker could spend the rest of his term creating Head Start programs and working in a soup kitchen, and he'd still bounce as he gets thrown out of his office. Sometimes (like with the 2008 election) momentum proceeds *against* one party no matter whether that party has made an effort to change. (As yet, of course, the Republicans have not shown a willingness to reach out, and I suspect that will continue, but the point stands.)

Walker's roundhouse blow against the unions may have knocked the Republicans clean out of Wisconsin's leadership by 2012.