The best part of the video comes in the very beginning, when Rep. Paul Ryan tells the WMC Business Day audience on Wednesday that he finds the flight of the Fleebaggers “curious.” The last two years of Democratic control in Washington weren’t a lot of fun for Republicans, Ryan says, but none of them ran away from their jobs. “Elections have consequences — they won, we lost,” Ryan says. “That’s the way it works. So I just don’t understand this lack of respect for the rule of law.”
The Fleebaggers continue to insist that all they want is negotiation and debate, but according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the debate in the Assembly was the longest that anyone can remember:
As debate on the budget-repair bill begins its 48th hour, longtime Capitol figures said it was the longest in their decades of memory.
The Assembly first came in shortly before noon on Tuesday to debate Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to repeal most union rights for public workers. Dick Wheeler, the dean of the Capitol press corps who has covered the Legislature since 1972, said he had not seen such a long-running debate.
“There has never been anything since I’ve been here that’s been a continuous 48-hour debate,” Wheeler said.
Longtime legislators of both parties agreed.
After 61 hours, some Democrats in the Assembly still complained that Republicans illegitimately “cut off” debate … after 84 amendments had been held for votes, most of them defeated. It isn’t about debate, it’s about the inability to accept the fact that elections have consequences, chief among them that the minority doesn’t control the agenda. Steve Eggleston reminds people that the last budget-repair bill in Wisconsin came when Democrats controlled the legislature and a Democrat was governor — and the debate lasted 24 hours combined in both chambers with no public hearings at all.
The Fleebaggers say they’re protecting democracy, but it would appear from those measures that democracy improved when Republicans took charge. That’s one consequence Wisconsin voters should appreciate.
Update: The fortnight-long campout at the capital is now over:
Campouts in the Capitol appear to be coming to an end today, according to a flier handed out to police.
At 4 p.m., police will begin restricting sleeping areas in the Capitol and ordering the removal of items such as tables, mattresses and coolers, according to a flier being distributed to police today in the Capitol.
The flier also orders the removal of sleeping bags and mats and states that there will be no sleeping on the capitol floors 2, 3 and 4. It’s not clear if sleeping will still be allowed on the main floor.