Perhaps aware of the de minimis nature of some of the measures, they have been quick to accuse their critics of hysterical overreaction. “You are so grossly exaggerating the words of this bill, it makes me sick,” complained one of the architects of the legislation, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Walker, for his part, has expressed support for the last-minute legislation and is widely expected to sign most, if not all, of it.

But—and I write this as a longtime friend of Walker—that would be a huge mistake. Signing the lame-duck legislation would be an especially classless way for Walker to leave office; it will tarnish his reputation in ways that I’m not sure he grasps. And, frankly, it’s just not worth it.

Walker, obviously, is not one to walk away from a scuffle. His confrontation with union power made him a national figure, and he is not likely to be intimidated by either protesters or critics. But that fight was about something consequential. This one is only about tribalism and a petty will to power.