Viva the Free Wisconsin Resistance! Or Something

I wish national Democrats and their hangers-on had half the guts the Wisconsin Senate Democrats do. If you haven't heard, Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker is attempting to strip public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights. This comes on top of other recent stupidities by Walker, including turning down $810 million in risk-fee construction funds for high-speed rail.

The Wisconsin Senate Democrats have decided to stop the legislation by not showing up to the vote:

...State Senate Democrats are refusing to show up at the state capitol to prevent the measure to strip public employees of their bargaining rights from moving forward. There are unconfirmed reports that law enforcement is trying to round up these Dems and even that some of them may have left the state.

Adding to the bizarre sense of urgency, a Dem State Senate aide I just spoke to who is actually in the capitol told me that Dems who are on the scene don't know where the other Dem Senators are, because they appear to be in hiding from law enforcement.

"They are somewhere where they are not available to be forcibly taken to the floor," the aide said, the chant of protestors audible in the background. "They could be in the building. They could be in the basement for all I know."

The aide confirmed that the Dem Senators had been meeting to discuss the way forward as recently as an hour ago, and said he believed they were still together somewhere. "It's a thing of solidarity," he said.

Adding to the confusion, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Democratic Party told TPM that the party also has no clue as to their whereabouts.

Later, it seems the wayward Democrats were not to be found in the State Capitol. Meanwhile, the governor has sicced the state troopers on them.

Hopefully, they've fled state lines. So if you live in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, SUPPORT THE RESISTANCE! Or at least, give a wayward Senator a home.

Canada, a desperate nation turns to you....

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Didn't something like this happen in Texas a while ago?

Does anyone know how that all turned out?

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 17 Feb 2011 #permalink

Nice to see just how much Democrats hate the democratic process. It is one thing to vote against a policy because you do not like it, it is another to say F.U. to Democracy and the voters who participated in the election.

DCS: Yes, there was a dust-up over a gratuitous, Republican friendly redistricting. The Republicans called in the FAA on that one (under the presumption that the Democrats in question had flown out of state; driving out of state from Austin takes a lot longer than it does from Madison).

The problem with this strategy is that it cannot be sustained indefinitely. That's why the Republicans eventually won the showdown in Texas.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 17 Feb 2011 #permalink

My favorite part is this (from the tpm story):

This comes after the state Senate majority leader said that the State Patrol could be called in to round up the Dems. However, leaving for another state would presumably place the legislators beyond the state's jurisdiction. (Fun fact: The state Senate leader and the Assembly Speaker are brothers -- and the new head of the State Patrol is their father.)

Don't forget Tom Delay took alot of heat for ordering the FAA and requesting FBI to help find the Texans hiding in Oklahoma.

By Sideshow Bill (not verified) on 17 Feb 2011 #permalink

Mike: The majority of sconnie Democrats I've spoken too support their state senators actions. Doesn't that make them democratic, in the small-d sense? This is really no worse that the filibuster, IMO.

You can get the police to force senators to vote? You call that democracy?
I think that you may have a lesson to learn from Ghandi.

Ah, the Land of the Free.

Becaus NOTHING says "Freedom and Democracy" better than armed police searching for the duly-elected representatives of the people in order to force them into a rubber stamp vote.

Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein and the current Iranian government approve this message!

This is presently happening in Ohio as well, except I don't think there are any rules in the Ohio legislature about total absence of a party preventing a vote.

Public employees, especially firefighters and police officers are about to be royally screwed by Ohio Republicans.

Union activists and supporters are showing up in large numbers at the statehouse, but its still not getting the press it needs to sway the legislators.

And once they have their way with redistricting (more gerrymandering coming soon to a district near you!,) the gutting of the collective bargaining law will be almost impossible to reverse for decades to come.

By David Lauridsen (not verified) on 18 Feb 2011 #permalink

Mike (re #2) isn't the right not to vote also democratic?

I understand that not voting isn't what they're voted by their supporters to do, but walking out on a farce IS a legitimate technique which has been used many times before to indicate that even voting against the proposition gives that proposition far too much recognition.

Especially if you need to be quorate.

Walking out then tells the others that their position is not even sane, never mind wrong.

When you add in that Republican voices point out that "this is what the democratic result was", when nobody turns up, it gives the lie to that statement. If only Tony Blair had been given the same treatment after his "we have a mandate from the people" (when less than 22% of voters voted for him).

Shit. As much as I hate Republicans, I think the Democrats in Wisconsin perpetrated some real derp there.

If the parties were reversed, we'd be calling for the resignation of the Republicans.

By Katharine (not verified) on 18 Feb 2011 #permalink