They ran away all the way back on February 22 to block the right-to-work bill being pushed by Republicans. The GOP withdrew the bill the next day, yet only now, 33 days later, are the fleebaggers finally making their way back home. So what’d they win? A few concessions on Daniels’s voucher program, a cap on exemptions from the state’s wage law for certain projects, and … that’s it. From Capitol & Washington:
Proposals to limit teacher union collective bargaining, expand charter schools and vouchers, and other labor union bills are still very much alive, despite a five-week-old demand from Democrats that those bills be killed before they would consider returning.
Evansville Courier & Press statehouse reporter Eric Bradner reports via his Twitter feed that Democrats won “tiny” concessions on HB 1216, a key labor bill, as well as the voucher bill. While details of the minor changes were not disclosed, Speaker Bosma reportedly said they were not substantive. If Democrats are looking for a political victory, it’s clearly not the simple act of being present.
I’m amazed that not a single Republican legislative minority anywhere in the country has used the past month as an opportunity to stage a walkout of their own. This loathsome tactic richly deserves some payback, if only to force Democratic majorities to internalize the cost of having mainstreamed it.
You could argue that the tiny concessions earned by Indiana Dems are enough to make them think twice next time, but I doubt that given what’s happening in Wisconsin. Grassroots righties may not want to hear it but alarm bells are ringing: Republicans face a serious backlash there, from Walker’s poll numbers to the increasingly likely prospect of state supreme court justice David Prosser losing his reelection bid on April 5, which would give the left a 4-3 majority.
Two sources with knowledge of internal GOP polling tell us that Prosser and Kloppenburg are near even, a bad sign for the incumbent. “She has driven his negatives up,” one source says. “It will be hard to drive hers up. Her lack of judicial experience should hurt her, but it also makes her harder to pin down. The question now is: Does the Right have enough resources to counter the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s millions? And even if they do, is it too late? It is going to be touch-and-go for these last few days.”…
With the state Republican apparatus mostly sitting on its hands and wallets, the Wisconsin Club for Growth is planning to step in with more than $300,000 to boost Prosser. They did the same for him during the primary, playing a major role in generating early momentum. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), a chamber of commerce–type group, will also be instrumental in helping Prosser compete financially with the GWC and its progressive offshoots.
Guy Benson notes that the Wisconsin GOP is starting to mobilize, but it sure does sound from his other links that we’re being out-organized here. What a disaster if Prosser ends up losing narrowly. Exit quotation from Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes, speaking to NRO for the piece quoted above: “Scott Walker could survive losing the state senate. But it would be devastating if he were to lose in the supreme court. If Prosser loses, almost everything that Walker enacted could be overturned.”
Update: A nice catch from Philip Klein. Mitch Daniels famously got into trouble when the fleebaggers first walked out by arguing that the right-to-work bill was a bad idea. It gave Democrats an easy pretext to walk out, he argued, which would jeopardize the GOP’s top legislative priority this term — namely, education reform. But education reform was one of the things Republicans ended up making concessions on today, cutting the number of vouchers available this year to 7,500. If that was top priority, why compromise on it?