So in the last 3 weeks we’ve seen Walker in the Republicans do the following:
I guess the old saying about being “in for a penny, in for a pound” is true. But seriously, if they’re so confident that this is what’s so good for people and what the people want why do they have to keep thumbing their noses at the law, rushing things through, and operating under the cover of darkness. The only thing I can think of is that Walker and the Republicans know their goose is cooked and the only way to get what they want is to keep playing hardball.
Regardless, things should really start getting interesting as Judge Sumi is scheduled to resume hearings on the restraining order tomorrow morning in Madison. At that time we’ll get an idea about what she thinks about the restraining order that she issued being violated (assuming she thinks it was).
So what a week it’s been here in Wisconsin watching Walker and his goons operate. On Tuesday, March 1st, Walker gives his my way or the highway budget address which is then followed by any and every little petty thing that he and the GOP can do to try to stop the protests and force the Wisconsin 14 back to Madison where the GOP will ram the bill as is through. Either the GOP is really spooked, which they should be as poll after poll shows that the public sides with the unions, or they really are a bunch of petty little brats who will only do things their way otherwise they’ll take their ball home. Anyway, the details…
Full Budget Proposal
- Major cuts to local municipalities and schools with restrictions that local governments can’t raise taxes to offset cuts
- Massive cuts to UW System and Technical Colleges
- End statewide recycling
- More money for roads (and road building firms – massive campaign contributors)
- Decrease Capitol Gains taxes
- Forced sales of dogs to medical research [Link]
Walker / GOP Response
Wisconsin Capitol Now Closed To Visitors (2/28/2011)
Judge Orders Capitol Open, Walker Doesn’t Obey (3/1/2011)
Walker Gives Budget Address, Only Lobbyists Allowed In (3/1/2011)
GOP Senators Implement Fines For Missing Democrats At $100 / Day (3/2/2011)
Dane County Sheriff Refuses To Serve As Walker’s “Palace Guard” (3/2/2011)
GOP Senators Order Arrest Of Democratic Senators (3/3/2011)
Capitol Police Tackle Democratic Lawmaker Trying To Access Capitol (3/3/2011)
So it’s generally been a pretty good couple of days all things considered. There was the big rally at the Capitol Square on Saturday the 26th that drew between 70,000 – 100,000 people. Of these people in attendance there were very few Walker / Tea Party supporters…. and when I say very few I mean like less than 50 people in total. Not too shabby. Walker went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning where he regurgitated the same old garbage that he’s been saying for weeks now. David Gregory actually held his feet to the fire a bit (of course not the level I’d prefer, but you can’t have everything) which you could tell was irritating Walker. I think his generally insecurity as a person came out a bit when he started to have to answer a few “big boy” questions. Also on Sunday the government tried to remove the protesters from the Capitol, ostensibly for cleaning purposes, at 4 PM. There was an announcement made earlier in the day that this would happen and at 4 PM the police started asking people to leave. Some did leave, but others were determined not to and didn’t. The interesting thing though was that the police did not step in, start arresting people, and hauling them out. As always it appears the police know what side they’re truly on and are really cool with the protesters (as they are protesters themselves!). Finally a new New York Times / CBS News poll was released today showed that nationwide the US public “oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent.” This is an increase in percentage points for opposing weakening rights of previous polls from the past couple of weeks. The poll also suggested that Americans would rather increase taxes that decrease services. Interesting.
Which brings me to my pessimistic blog post title. Walker is due to release his FY2011-2013 budget tomorrow (3/1/2011) at a press conference. No one was expecting it to be very pleasant to begin with, but based on the fact that it’s one of the last major weapons in his arsenal that he has complete control over and with the heat he’s been taking I’m expecting him to be more brutal and vindictive with it. The reasons for this belief are that he acts like a spoiled brat (not bratwurst mind you, but the ornery child type) to begin with and we all know how those types like to lash out when they’re not getting their way. Another reason for this is to possible try to prove that his two threats last week to start laying workers off weren’t just paper tigers. In case I haven’t mentioned it he first threatened to layoff 1500 people if the Wisconsin 14 didn’t come back and pass his debt restructuring scheme by last Friday and then warned that he’d “have to” layoff 5000-6000 people if his plans weren’t passed by Tuesday (tomorrow). We’ll see what happens there as there was a new article put out today that details his debt restructuring scheme as nothing more than borrowing money on a 10 year loan which will actually cost the Wisconsin taxpayer $14 Million the first 2 years. If he succeeds in this plan he’ll be joining the ranks of all the other governors that he constantly scolds for “kicking the can down the road” and not “dealing with the problem today.” Hypocrite. We’ll also see where he gives his budget press release from as even though they failed to clear the Capitol building last night, they are slowly but quietly trying to get everyone out as they’re not allowing anyone into the building any more. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has a great blog post on it today.
All that said I have to leave this post with one final thought. I stumbled across the following story today which sums up the whole state of the US economy and Tea Party politics:
“A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, ‘Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie.’ “