Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to destroy public employee unions under the ruse of cost-cutting is great political theatre. Wow, in recent weeks we've seen...
Massive rallies of 70,000 people or more calling for compromise, rather than Koch-brother commanded Republican intransigence. Fourteen Democratic state senators fleeing to Illinois to deny a quorum and, hence, a vote on the union-busting bill. And today, Walker refusing to negotiate with the Dem senators.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday dismissed as "ridiculous" a letter from a Democratic state Senate leader who suggested a meeting "near the Wisconsin-Illinois border" to discuss the state's budget impasse.
I guess Walker also believes that 65% of Wisconsin adults are ridiculous, because that's how many favor him negotiating with Democrats and public employee unions to find a compromise, rather than sticking with Walker's Big Baby attitude of "my way or the highway."
Walker's approval rating is sinking rapidly -- 54% in Wisconsin don't like his job performance. This bodes well for recall efforts aimed at Republican legislators and Gov. Walker himself.
Regardless of how the standoff over the union-busting bill turns out, it'd be great if this saga ends with Walker getting kicked out of office after serving only one year as Governor. Yesterday I sent $20 off to the Wisconsin Democratic Party to support the recall efforts. Click here to make your own contribution.
So that's my #1 fantasy ending to the Wisconsin drama: Walker's legislation is scaled back to budget-balancing provisions unions already have agreed to; then Walker and key state legislators responsible for this travesty get recalled, sending a lesson to other right-wingers that the middle class won't stand for being sold out so corporations can get their tax breaks.
But like the Rolling Stones told us, you can't always get what you want. It might turn out that the courageous fourteen Democratic state senators will have to return to Wisconsin without a compromise agreement, permitting a vote on the union-busting bill to go forward.
If that happens, I hope their entry into Madison will be celebrated as a victory march, not a defeat. Because even if the horrible legislation passes, Walker and the Tea Party have lost -- having woken up a sleeping union giant and the clear majority of Americans who favor middle-class over corporate interests.
"Wait until 2012!" That should be the rallying cry as the Wisconsin Fourteen parade down the streets of Madison (riding in sedan chairs on the backs of flower-bedecked elephants would be a nice touch) on their way to the capitol.
Walker might win a vote on his budget bill, but he and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans are going to be losing a lot of other electoral contests in the next couple of years. Voters have turned against them; teachers and other public employees won't let citizens forget this come election time.
Wars aren't won or lost by a single battle.
Supporters of the middle class in Wisconsin should be proud of how they've waged their campaign against Scott Walker's budget bill. They've won the hearts and minds of countless voters both in their state and around the country. In 2012, this engergized electorate is going to punish Republicans and re-elect Barack Obama.
That isn't a fantasy. I'm confident it's going to become reality.