After a wild and raucous night at the State Capitol, the scene inside the building Thursday morning looks just like it was a few weeks ago when protesters camped out overnight.
At 6:30 a.m., there were dozens of people who stayed the night and were camped out in various locations in the building.
Dozens? What happened to the madding crowds that rushed to the capitol last night, breaking into the building in an absence of security? Apparently, order got restored overnight, and as of this morning, the only people still at the capitol are the dozens inside who refused to leave:
Outside the Capitol, the scene looks just like any other normal business day. The driver of one car was slowly driving around the Capitol Square, honking his car. But his horn and the sound of buses running routes were the only sounds outside.
Police officers said they were only letting people who work inside the Capitol and members of the media inside the building. No pass, no entrance.
At least for now, the protesters inside the building will be allowed to stay, probably because police figure expelling them won’t be worth the trouble. They can’t block business in the Assembly, and their friends outside have all gone home. Even if the masses come back today, capitol police will be prepared to deal with them, and today’s rules will keep them out of the building. The protesters won’t be able to do the fleebaggers’ work in holding representative democracy hostage.
Don’t be surprised if the protests today turn out to be a dud, either. Teachers used up all their sick days in the earlier demonstrations, and the timing on the Assembly vote will work against organizing anything more noteworthy than what happened last night. The unions lost last night when Governor Scott Walker and the GOP dropped the nearly month-long effort to get Democrats to come back to Madison and engage in the legislative process. The game is over
The fleebaggers issued dire warnings about electoral backlashes last night, but that’s probably wishful thinking. Recall drives rarely succeed, especially when driven by special interests. This session of the state legislature has another 18 months before the next election to demonstrate how it will govern Wisconsin. If they manage to balance budgets and trim government spending without raising taxes, and therefore help Wisconsin’s economy gain strength, then the Republicans will have nothing to fear from the next election. If they do manage that, the Democrats who ran away and then got caught with their pants down rather than respond to substantial offers for compromise will be the ones who will approach the next election with trepidation, as well as a reduction in their union-based funding.
It’s over. The fleebaggers lost, which is what happens in democracy when people refuse to engage while in the minority, especially when they demand to dictate outcomes to the majority. The people of Wisconsin, and representative democracy, are the winners today.
Update: On the other hand, perhaps a few more demonstrations might help clarify things even further. For instance, let’s have Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, and Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state’s AFL-CIO, give us their idea of extremism:
Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, declared that the governor and his Senate “cronies” had “turned our proud state of Wisconsin into a banana republic.”
“Senate Republicans have exercised the nuclear option to ram through their bill attacking Wisconsin’s working families in the dark of night,” added Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Tonight’s events have demonstrated they will do or say anything to pass their extreme agenda that attacks Wisconsin’s working families.”
Walker turned Wisconsin into a banana republic and exercised a nuclear option by — holding a vote? One that the GOP had held off for three weeks to get Democrats to return to Madison? Geez, no wonder they want Card Check. Who knew holding binding votes in a legislature was nuclear, and the hallmark of banana republics?