The “noise” about this is no longer limited to Madison or the state — but on the front page of The New York Times and all over the internet — thanks to the prank call where Gov. Walker shared his strategy with jokesters. As a reporter friend of mine humorously said to me: I didn’t know you lived in Libya.
It definitely doesn’t have the violence of Libya, but it certainly has been wild and even bizarre. The issue and conversation should be about public workers (except police and fire) losing their bargaining rights, paying at least 12 percent of their healthcare costs and half of their pension costs.
What we’re hearing and reading is more about the issue of “Republican Governor v. Democratic Senators.” That’s a party debate that has been going on for centuries. James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn, authors of George Washington,even quote Washington perplexed by the party problems, saying: he was puzzled that men he knew (most notably Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton) to be completely devoted to the republic could be so ideologically divided…And that was in 1792.
Apparently this morning, the Assembly voted to approve the budget, which sends the bill to the Senate. And that brings up the bizarre — 14 Democratic senators left Wisconsin last week so that no quorum could be reached. Yesterday state troopers were sent to those Senators’ homes, but they all had crossed the border into Illinois, vowing not to come back until the Governor negotiates.
I understand boycotts, but am truly not sure if that’s a strategy to be employed by an elected official. Let’s focus on the problem at hand. Both the Governor and Senators should be debating the bill and, ideally, coming up with some new thinking to compromise. The real issues have been dealt with by private sector corporate execs for years. I’m certain that if they had reached out to some corporate strategists, PR pros or Public Affairs experts everyone — politicians and protesters alike — could have all stayed home.