It looks like the battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin may be nearing an end, or at least getting closer to moving forward from its current stalemate. According to e-mails obtained from Governor Walker’s office by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker may be a little more flexible in private communications with Wisconsin Democrats than he has been in public.
While I wouldn’t necessarily characterize this as great news, it definitely seems like a step in the right direction. The stalemate in Wisconsin has lasted long enough, and Governor Walker needs to learn that winning an election by a little over 5% does not give you free reign to implement whatever you’d like. Especially when public opinion has turned against the changes you are trying to make and you as an executive.
But this behavior has become all too familiar from Republicans recently. They seem to want to push us toward a situation in which the ruling party du jour gets to remake the entire country in their image, until the populace gets fed up and votes the other party back into power and they do the same thing. And while Republicans have tried to paint Obama as doing exactly that, I think an honest accounting would indicate that Obama has tacked pretty severely toward the center since his election.
But as we get closer to a compromise (hopefully) in Wisconsin in the coming weeks, let’s not forget about what happened to bring us here.
We saw what were, by all accounts I’ve read, very peaceful and respectful protests from constituents on both sides of the issue, with the worst behavior (name-calling and baseless accusations) seeming to come more from those at the top than those at the bottom (for example, Walker’s calling Sen. Miller’s letter requesting a meeting near the Wisconsin-Illinois border “ridiculous” and this snarky response from Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald). We saw the Republican-controlled Senate pass a resolution to arrest the 14 lawmakers who fled the state to prevent this bill’s being passed. We saw a Governor dismiss the elected representatives of his citizens, saying that if he could get them back in the senate chamber, “legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, [the 14 Democratic State Senators] don’t physically have to be there.”
Is that really what we want from our elected officials?
One more thing that I wanted to point to, just because it does a better job than almost anything I’ve seen yet of highlighting the real constituency of the Republican party. This segment from the Daily Show compares clips of people (many of them Fox News personalities) talking about taking bonuses away from Wall Street bankers with clips of many of those same people talking about Wisconsin teachers. It’s . . . illuminating, to say the least. Though maybe depressing is a better word for it.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Crisis in Dairyland – For Richer and Poorer – Teachers and Wall Street|