Last evening State Senate Republicans stripped the provisions from the larger bill — which they could have easily done straight from the get-go — and are moving them quickly through the legislature, having evidently calculated that the national uproar they've created simply in threatening to bust the State employees' unions would be tougher to ride out than the impending uproar over actually busting them.
It appears Scott Walker's insistences were based on pure political disingenuousness; he did not campaign on the question of stripping public employees' of their collective bargaining rights although it was his and his right-wing financiers' plan all along, as he revealed and reinforced during an astonishing 20-minute telephone conversation with a prankster he believed to be Kansas-based oil billionaire David Koch, whose "grassroots" front outfits are jacking up their attacks on Wisconsin workers despite the burgeoning support for the latter.
The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate says there will be no vote on a bill taking away union rights for government workers until Democrats return. ... Scott Fitzgerald says he will not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present. — Associated Press, 02/21/11So Scott Fitzgerald hasn't been entirely truthful either, because he began that process last night. The State Assembly will take up Fitzgerald's truncated bill this morning. One vote to watch is that of Rep. Jeff Stone, who is running for Milwaukee County Executive.
That election takes place just around the corner on April 5.
Stone voted for the full budget repair bill previously, but then expressed misgivings about the union-busting provisions, the ones now isolated from the rest. (Xoff notes that Stone waffled yet again, during an appearance with the local AM radio clown Charlie Sykes.)
Now's he's got a chance to nail it down, for good or ill, on the record.
Nate Silver's analysis suggests that the pandemonium inspired by Walker and Fitzgerald's reckless maneuverings could well drive Democrats and independent sympathizers to the April 5 poll in greater numbers than Republicans and recent surveys have shown Wisconsin public opinion running two-thirds against Walker's refusal to budge on the Koch-appeasing union-busting provisions.
In the meantime State Democrats have been mobilizing recall initiatives against the eight Republican State Senators who are so eligible and the Dems now claim they will meet the requirements — which are deliberately restrictive and entail collecting tens of thousands of verified signatures within 60 days — in several of those cases. If that proves true, then the "enthusiasm gap" is reclaimed.
Another candidate on the April 5 ballot is the conservative incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who tends to form majorities with his three most dedicatedly right-wing colleagues. Prior to his appointment to the court by a Republican governor in 1998, Prosser was a career Republican politician, for a time presiding over the Wisconsin State Assembly. Facing three roughly ideologically equivalent challengers in last month's primary, Prosser managed 55% of the result based on a turnout of only 9.3% of eligible electors.
The two Scotts Walker and Fitzgerald's late night hijinks are undoubtedly rousing the other 90.7% who, according to even conservative pollsters, are overwhelmingly not disposed to look kindly upon Walker's hard-right performances nor anyone perceptibly associated with him, including both Jeff Stone and Justice Prosser.
Whoever wins the Supreme Court election takes office August 1.