“’It was like, ‘I’m in the minority, and I’m going to dictate to you what your options are,” said one GOP source about Miller’s letter. It was just three days ago that Miller had sent Fitzgerald a letter urging more negotiations, despite the fact that Governor Walker had been negotiating with at least two Democrat senators for nearly a week. ‘With his recent letter, it became clear that all he wanted to do was stall,’ said the GOP source…

“What is perhaps most stunning is that Fitzgerald’s maneuver tonight seems to have caught the Democrat Minority Leader completely off guard. Senators Miller and Fitzgerald have access to the same legislative attorneys and were likely given the same options for resolution. ‘I think [Miller] actually thought he was going to win,’ said one GOP source.

“Following the vote on the bill, GOP senators were hustled out of the Capitol via an underground tunnel that takes them to a government building across the street. For the past few days, senators have made this walk and been loaded onto a bus that takes them to their cars parked in a remote area. Yet after the vote, protesters had apparently caught wind of this process and surrounded the bus full of senators. One witness told me he had seen protesters surrounding the bus and trying to rock it back and forth.”

***
“While average voters don’t follow the minutiae of legislative tactics and procedures they do tend to bristle at the idea of things going on behind closed doors; anything that feels like an end run around the ‘way things should be done’ tends to be politically treacherous…

“Wisconsin state Senate Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller said that ‘tonight 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.’

“And, Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, added: ‘Senate Republicans have exercised the nuclear option to ram through their bill attacking Wisconsin’s working families in the dark of night.’

“The next few days are critical for Republicans in the state. They must find a way to explain this move to voters in a way that makes it seem like democracy at work rather than democracy subverted.”

***

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

***
Click the image to watch.