Report: Wisconsin’s Democratic senators located at hotel in Illinois; Update: We’re not coming back until GOP caves on bargaining rights, says Dem

posted at 5:17 pm on February 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

The Party of Ideas™:

Wisconsin state Democrats who refused to show up for a vote on Governor Walker’s budget repair bill have been located.

The lawmakers are in Rockford, Illinois at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort.

Law enforcement officials have been looking for at least one Democratic senator to bring in for a quorum required for a fiscal measure, but Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach confirmed to Newsradio 620 WTMJ that he and all of his Democratic colleagues boarded a bus and left the state…

According to the Twitter account of Democrat State Senator Chris Larson from Bay View, “For those looking for us, we are right here, standing with the people of Wisconsin.”

Paul Ryan said this morning that Madison is starting to look like Cairo, but as Larry Kudlow notes, at least the demonstrators in Tahrir Square were pro-democracy. These morons were actually phoning the media from their formerly undisclosed location to insist that they “were left with no choice” but to skip town, as staying would have meant … losing on a fair-and-square vote. I confess, I’m mystified by how this tactic is supposedly strengthening their hand. The idea, presumably, is to give the protesters time to pressure the Republican majority, but it’s unthinkable that the GOP would cave now. The Democrats look too petty and gutless to be allowed to win and there are too many people around the country watching for this to end in a humiliating Republican crumble. This is, I take it, just kabuki by the Democrats aimed at showing the left how committed they are to unions before they eventually slink back into town and take their medicine during the vote.

Governor Scott Walker issued a statement a little while ago telling them to get back to work and I hear that he’ll be holding a presser shortly, which is the smart play given the opportunity to leverage the Democrats’ petulance in public opinion. In the meantime, are there any end-arounds available here to force the vote in their absence? Ace suggested looking into state rules about declaring a seat effectively vacated, but I assume the absence would have to be much longer than this. A clever reader e-mailed to suggest that one of the Republicans in the senate could switch parties, which would provide the one Democrat needed to form a quorum. Another possibility if this really escalates is having the GOP minority in some other state legislature walk out in protest of the Wisconsin Democrats’ stunt, although that’d be politically risky insofar as it might alienate voters at home. All ideas welcome!

Update: Our Greenroom contributor, MadisonConservative, comments below that Wisconsin Republicans aren’t known for having spines of steel. There’s at least a chance that they’ll cave here. Duly noted, but the eyes of the conservative world are now upon them. They’ll face left-wing fury if they stand firm and right-wing fury if they cave. Best to at least retain the support of their own side by staying put.

Update: One of the Democrats tells WaPo’s Greg Sargent that they’ll stay away for as long as it takes. All in:

“Each of us is in a secure location,” he told me, confirming that they were not all together but were monitoring events on the Web and on Twitter. Larson refused to say whether he and his fellow Dems had left the state, as some have speculated.

“We’re going to be staying away until we hear that they are taking the right to organize seriously,” Larson continued, referring to Republicans. “They’re going after 50 years of history in one week. Until they take that off the table, it’s a non-starter.”

Meanwhile, reader Ben D. e-mails with a correction and to propose a nuclear option for Walker:

There are 33 legislators and 20 are needed for a quorum so switching parties wouldn’t do it. 17 Repubs around I think if my memory is correct.

Anyhow, Walker has said he’s doing this to avoid laying off 8000 people. Start the process of laying off 8000 people and begin notifying agencies to pick the people losing their job if the Dem’s don’t show up and vote for this solution. Protesters would howl but Walker has a long history of standing firm in the face of the squeaky wheels at protests. I personally think it’d provide some pressure for them to show up.

We need to fix our budget hole by July so it’s the 8000 or the vote, tell Dems to pick.

That’d be extremely risky insofar as it’d make martyrs of the people dumped to force the Dems’ return. He’d have to water it down somehow.

Update: Piggish liberal hero/former congressman David Obey salutes the Age of Civility:

“All I know is that last week, when people were asking where Mubarak was — whether he had gone to Sharm el-Sheikh or Paris — I was saying he was ensconced in the governor’s mansion in Madison,” Obey said in a telephone interview with TPM.

“I think what Gov. Walker is trying to do amounts to political thuggery,” Obey continued. “It is one thing to say that these are tough times — everybody’s got to cut back and public employees are going to have to take cuts like the rest of us … but he’s using it as an excuse to gut the ability of workers to organize and bargain collectively. In my view that’s outrageous — and what is especially outrageous is his demand that the legislature pass this in a week’s time.”


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Hey when’s the Tea Party counter-rally?

Iblis on February 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Saturday at noon.

steveegg on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

This is the most incredible act of stupidity on the part of a public union and the Democratic Party. Wisconsin will go red in 2012.

SC.Charlie on February 17, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Paging Jerry Brown…..Jerry Brown,,,call Governor Scott Walker

Rovin on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

And BTW, let me be the first to say it.
THIS IS WHY “PURITY” MATTERS.
I may be wildly off base, but a strong tea party backed GOP politician will stand up to the left.
The GOP establishment’s Castles will not. So, we lost with COD, where we won, we really won.
Also, this is the beginning of full on lefty attacks on the GOP. This is the Fort Sumter moment. This isn’t going to stop until well after Nov. 2012.

joeindc44 on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Facebook people, show Governor Scott Walker your support.

ladyingray on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

<blockquote
Texas Democrats Go on the Lam to Avoid Quorum

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 From Fox News:

Congressional Democrats from Texas praised their colleagues in the state House on Wednesday for going on the lam to avoid a vote on legislation they oppose.
The Texas Democrats praised the fugitive lawmakers as heroes, likening their actions to the bravery shown by the defenders of the Alamo.

Fifty-one lawmakers remained at large on Wednesday, the third day they have left the floor of the Texas House an empty place despite pending business.

Senate Republicans who make up 88 of the 150 seats in the House have wanted to vote on a redistricting plan that would likely have saved several Republican congressional seats and possibly could lead to an increase in the number of Republicans elected to the U.S. Congress.

But the House Democrats are having none of it, and in a surprise — and illegal — move, they went into hiding in a hotel/command center in neighboring Oklahoma, defying House rules that say lawmakers cannot intentionally miss a quorum call.

scottjenn on February 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Let the union contract run out as well as their jobs.

Kermit on February 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

May have been covered in the comments, but…if the Dems in exile have publicly stated that they will NOT return UNTIL the legislation is withdrawn, then why can’t the Repubs in return say that they will not withdraw the legislation and declare those Dem seats vacant because of the public declaration by the Dems?

Al-Ozarka on February 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

The problem is that they do not have quorum, therefore they cannot do anything, even open the session. They need quorum before they can vote to do anything.

txmomof6 on February 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

The Dems left town, the State?

Good lock em out and announce new elections for all open seats!

dhunter on February 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Hang tough Governor Walker and Republicans..Hang Tough!..:)

Dire Straits on February 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

MadisonConservative, thanks for the link, but…

I’m not a lawyer, but many of the teachers say the reason more of them were demonstrating today than previous days was that they received calls from their local union reps telling them to do so. McIver News also says the union is considering calling for a statewide strike tomorrow. Don’t these details prevent this from being labelled a “wildcat strike”?
Additionally, it seems these folks are not protesting an unfair labor practice but an economic decision regarding their future contract, notwithstanding the teachers’ claim that the decision to issue a new contract seems “unfair.” That would seem to make it an illegal strike, per the reference you included.
Of course, lawyers always read words differently than I do….

rwenger43 on February 17, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Public Sector Unions are the laundering mechanism whereby taxpayer dollars are transformed through employees’ dues into multi-hundreds of billions pouring into Democratic Party/obama election fund coffers.

obama will never let his union cash cow (our tax dollars) be blocked from winding up in his hands.

It should be illegal for unions whose employees receive taxpayer dollars to donate to any political causes. Ever.

These public employees are grossly overpaid in salary and benefits. Teachers, firemen, policemen, etc., are not special Americans deserving of these outrageous perks.
They should be paid fairly, not as some “superstar” class of Americans that the union PR machine has labeled people we all need to thank, i.e., “have you hugged a teacher today?” Would that be the teacher that filled my kids’ heads with Planned Parenthood “sex ed” perversion? No, a hug isn’t what I have in mind, and while we’re at it, I demand my insanely bloated property tax dollars back from them and from the Dems and obama that they laundered them to.

tigerlily on February 17, 2011 at 7:28 PM

p.s. State and Federal workers should not be allowed to further unionize, i.e., adminstrative office drones forming unions. Oh, and Andy Stern should be shipped to siberia. With ObaSoros.

tigerlily on February 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Can I take a quick drive up to Rockford and make citizens arrest?

Knucklehead on February 17, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Can I join you?

annoyinglittletwerp on February 17, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I’ll bring the tasers. I love tazing Libs.

Geochelone on February 17, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Unlike the situation with the Texas Dems who abandoned their jobs in order to prevent quorum, this issue has direct impact on everyone who has school kids. In that case it was a power struggle about redistricting, but you could ignore it. Parents and businesses cannot ignore school closings. Also, if I am not mistaken don’t schools have to be open to receive funding from the federal government?

txmomof6 on February 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Also, this is the beginning of full on lefty attacks on the GOP. This is the Fort Sumter moment. This isn’t going to stop until well after Nov. 2012.

joeindc44 on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Agreed, it’s a full on led by POTUS, pitting unions and leftist community organizers against the rest of us. This is a milestone in our history.

petefrt on February 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Unlike the situation with the Texas Dems who abandoned their jobs in order to prevent quorum, this issue has direct impact on everyone who has school kids. In that case it was a power struggle about redistricting, but you could ignore it. Parents and businesses cannot ignore school closings. Also, if I am not mistaken don’t schools have to be open to receive funding from the federal government?

txmomof6 on February 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Teachers who refuse to return to work should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and fired.

portlandon on February 17, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Also, if I am not mistaken don’t schools have to be open to receive funding from the federal government?

txmomof6 on February 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Schools receive federal funding for the number of students in attendence on any school day (which is why so many go to school in bad weather, at least for a half a day – it still counts).

I’m sure Obaka will make an exception for these schools, though.

ladyingray on February 17, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Teachers who refuse to return to work should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and fired.

portlandon on February 17, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Fired and charged criminally. Works for me. This is exactly why essential government workers should not be allowed to unionize in the first place. The next Republican President needs to revoke the executive order JFK issued to authorize them.

txmomof6 on February 17, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Screw them.

Fire every teacher that doesn’t show up for work tomorrow, arrest those Dem Senators, and strip them of office.

Midas on February 17, 2011 at 7:42 PM

If I was a teacher I would email my students that when school reopens I expect to see a paper a day for all days school is closed on Rush, Hannity, Levin radio shows and Palins FB posts!

dhunter on February 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Maybe parents should protest in front of teachers homes!

dhunter on February 17, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Somewhere, in some dark lit room a withered old Dan Rather is chanting, although somewhat incoherently “Courage. Courage”.

Rambotito on February 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

and the problem is ?
let them stay out
the republicans should close down the capitol and just say when your ready to act like adults we will be here . till then tic toc , let the contracts run out, we will then fire every teacher and hire back independent contractors.

ColdWarrior57 on February 17, 2011 at 7:51 PM

The color yellow. “That’s why the color yellow makes me sad.” Crybabies!

curved space on February 17, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Teachers who refuse to return to work should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and fired.

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

GO GET EM Tea Party!

conservador on February 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Oh… and I completely apologize for thinking that calling the National Guard was “over the top” – Here’s an idea, declare an emergency and send the guardsmen out to the schools to fill in for the teachers who’ve called in.

2nd Ammendment Mother on February 17, 2011 at 6:46 PM

You can’t do that! The kids might learn something useful.

Slowburn on February 17, 2011 at 7:54 PM

More “Democrat” contempt for democracy.

WannabeAnglican on February 17, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Teachers who refuse to return to work should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and fired.

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Where have you been? No lefty trolls for 4+ pages; I’m sure Ed was worried about losing the extra hits diverse opinions bring.

rwenger43 on February 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Also, this is the beginning of full on lefty attacks on the GOP. This is the Fort Sumter moment. This isn’t going to stop until well after Nov. 2012.

joeindc44 on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM
Agreed, it’s a full on led by POTUS, pitting unions and leftist community organizers against the rest of us. This is a milestone in our history.

petefrt on February 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

First New Jersey and now Wisconsin. Tomorrow California. Americans taking back their country—one state at a time.

Seriously, what did these people think happened last November 2nd across this nation? Did they think we’d ignore the unions paying off liberal Democrat politicians in this vicious cycle? The days of entitlement have come to an end—there’s no more money to feed the union/public pension programs with zero contributions from the individual employee. The days of the free ride of 100% guaranteed pensions are over. What the unions don’t understand is this is taxpayer revolt, and they are not going to win this battle—not even with their community organizer in their corner—his days are numbered too.

Bring on 2012!!!

Rovin on February 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Do explain

katy the mean old lady on February 17, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Firing teachers makes government smaller… as if enforcing government regulations and contractual agreements has anything to do with size.

ExpressoBold on February 17, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

You remind me of Alan Colmes–your intelligence peaked during the first Clinton administration.

But just in case you are sincere about your misrepresentation of conservatism, let me explain:

The state government is not BIG government when it considers firing unperforming employees. It is in fact attempting to become SMALLER government in faithfully performing its financial responsibilities to all its citizens.
How can you possibly think a state government is getting BIGGER by freeing its citizens of the job of carrying all state union employees luxuriously and securely all the way through their employments, sick days, protest days, retirements and end-of-life costs?
Government does have some essential duties. Treating all former employees as retiring knights of the realm is not one of them.
If Thomas Jefferson’s retirement pension wasn’t guaranteed, why should an office employee for the school district’s be? I believe TJ contributed more to the country’s existence than the random school employee has.

rwenger43 on February 17, 2011 at 8:19 PM

“…and what is especially outrageous is his demand that the legislature pass this in a week’s time.”

Piggish fat liberal

This is particularly odd in light of the license taken by House Democraps under Obama for various no-notice votes. Obey is a tool

Jaibones on February 17, 2011 at 8:38 PM

The GOP Senators of Wisconsin should vote anyway. Any constitution does not provide for abdication of duties by all the senators of one political party. A quorum is only valid if the elected people act in a responsible way and not run away like kindergartners on the playground.

The governor should tell the teachers if they don’t show up for work tomorrow and do their best – THEY ARE FIRED! BUST THE UNIONS AND BUST THEM NOW!!!

THERE IS NO PLACE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR FOR A UNION!

Sporty1946 on February 17, 2011 at 8:39 PM

effin’ cowards!

stevezilla on February 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Breitbart needs to get involved and find out who’s paying for the hotel. If the unions are paying, that could be a gamechanger

Raisedbywolves on February 17, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Go ahead and explain how it’s big government, genius.

MadisonConservative on February 17, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Grow Fins = Idiot now. Idiot Always!

Sporty1946 on February 17, 2011 at 8:45 PM

It’s tough for Grow Fins. No Pictures.

Sporty1946 on February 17, 2011 at 8:46 PM

So let me see if I understand the Libs.

Shutting down schools in Wisconsin = good
Shutting down Government = bad

Red State State of Mind on February 17, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Well, the children’s parents drew a heavy sigh
Seeing no one else had come
And a bell was ringing in the empty school
For the teachers on the run

Libs on the Run
Libs on the Run

C’mon Grow, sing a long with me…..

Red State State of Mind on February 17, 2011 at 9:16 PM

It’s tough for Grow Fins. No Pictures.

Sporty1946 on February 17, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Logic & stuff is HARRRRRDDD

Red State State of Mind on February 17, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Yeah, while we’re at it, do away with social security, the FDIC coverage of bank deposits for failed banks, military retirement/Tricare for Life, the VA hospitals, the GI Bill, unemployment compensation, government regulation of utilities, Medicare, Medicade, the Fed’s Prescription plan, all environmental regulations, fire all the police as well and let’s all arm ourselves and get the rope out, disability insurance and a thousand other Socialist programs and let folks sink or swim on their own for a change, the first time in 200 years.

Oh, and abolish HOAs.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 17, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 17, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Couple things:

1) Even a journey of ten thousand miles begin with a single step.

2) It’s important to figure out where the overton window is here. You don’t want to push too hard for things that are ungettable because it can alienate the people you need to vote your way on everything else.

alwaysfiredup on February 17, 2011 at 9:38 PM

WTF

Wisconsin

Teaching

Frauds

Yoop on February 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Some people just don’t believe in democracy, now do they?

Dhuka on February 17, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Suddenly in favor of big government.

Grow Fins on February 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

RWenger said it well above.

Fins you are pathetic.

CWforFreedom on February 18, 2011 at 1:04 AM

I bet the unions are footing the bill for the Democratic legislators in hiding. Probably an illegal contribution/gratuity, and they can’t be using state credit cards because they are NOT on official business – in fact, they are ducking their official duties.

Frog-march the lot of ‘em – Senators, union officials, anyone involved – straight to jail.

Adjoran on February 18, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Bipartisanship – Democrats getting what they want.
Partisanship – Republicans getting what they want.

JFS61 on February 18, 2011 at 1:54 AM

The Senators are not keeping to any oath of office to faithfully represent their districts and uphold the State Constitution.

I believe that would have some legal and criminal repercussions, no?

And extradition from other States for the enforcement of State constitutional issues should be acceptable under the US Constitution as all States have an interest in the republican form of government in every single State and the Democrats are putting that at risk.

Force them to uphold their Oath to the people.

Or toss them out and get new Senators by any means stipulated in the State Constitution.

States are the Sovereigns that signed on to the Constitution and the powers of the States and the people are necessary to the orderly running of our States and the Nation.

ajacksonian on February 18, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Hiding in Rockford,Illinois

So that’s why they needed sanctuary cities….

Don L on February 18, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Pull a Obamacare move. Make all striking teacher buy expensive anti-strike replacement insurance. It’s for the children…

Don L on February 18, 2011 at 8:16 AM

“I think what Gov. Walker is trying to do amounts to political thuggery,” Obey continued.

Ooh, look. Projection.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

And here I thought voting present was cool.

*Oval office reverie*

Barnestormer on February 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Hey when’s the Tea Party counter-rally?

Iblis on February 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Saturday at noon.

steveegg on February 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Yea, Tea Partiers work for a living, and at jobs where you would be fired for “calling in sick” three days in a row to attend a wildcat strike.

agmartin on February 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Time to declare the seats vacant and hold special elections to replace people who refuse to perform the peoples business.

Losing a vote is no excuse for this behavior. Dems really are a disgrace.

dogsoldier on February 18, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Well If I was Governor I would announce that 10% of all state employees will be laid off thanks to Shut Down by Democrats. That the jobs were lost because Democrats will not do thier job.
Staff cuts for State Legislatures will be 50% unless the legislator gives a reason why they need that staff member. So those legislators still in the state can save thier employees. But Those not in the Capital get cut. Going after the Highest paid members first. Because the State needs to save on Salaries. ONce we understand the budget issue. One month later Another 10% will be laid off. Trying to balance the budget. Cut staff for all Committees by 75%. Start moving money to pay for services required for Safety of the people. ANnounce that all Departments provide means to save money they have 2 Weeks to show where they can save money. Announce What programs will be cut due to Unions demands must be met. But Schools will be required to find Programs to cut. SPorts/Music/Arts programs are the first to be cut to all state Public Schools. Those involved with those parts will lose thier jobs.
Then School Districts must show a way to Cut expenses by 25% of money spent by the state. And what actions required to provide saving to the State on thier expenditures. With Identify how to save an additional 25%. Education can not be lacking for Reading, Writing, Science, History and Math. All other subjects/Programs are to be evaluated to provide value or they are Cut.
Management costs must be cut by 25% immediately. If School districts can combine services between schools to make this savings This is to balance the budget. Thank the Democrats for thier support on all these executive actions that must now take place. We are working on Balancing our budget. If the Legislature will not meet. Then I guess I as GOvernor must make the hard choices. The Legislature is now shut down but the requirement of the BUdget is that it must be balanced or we can not send out Unemployement Checks, Welfare Checks or any other services checks due to lack of money unless these cuts take place. I as governor do not want to remove money to help the people of this state in a tough Recession period. We need jobs and people working. Until it takes Place and the economy starts recovering we can not provide excessive services. IF the State Employees go on strike. Remember it is you the People of the State are their Employer. IF services can not be provided due to the Unions. It is the Unions/Democrats that are preventing services from taking place.
A tough speech saying the Legislature makes the tough choices or He has to. Is an IMportant message to give to his Citizens. With no help from the legislature. We have to make the hard choices and I am sorry for the People the Unions and Democrat Party have forced me to lay off due to thier actions.

danfinrud on February 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Why must Democrats always be the ones who introduce and ratchet up the incivility?

I’m thinking of the unprecedented Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearing-lynchings.

Unprecedented judicial filibusters (requiring the Gang of 14 to break)

Unprecedented Texas Democrat Reps fleeing similarly in 2003

Even the Tea Party protests, CNN’s Anderson Cooper starts snickering at calling middle aged and old people the sexually derogatory and racist euphemism “Tea Bagger”

A majority of prominent Liberals have no shame, and few have a moral compass either.

scotash on February 19, 2011 at 1:15 PM

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