Cairo to Madison (to Rockford?): Egypt-style Revolution in the Midwest?
We pointed out previously that Wisconsin’s incoming Governor Scott Walker was facing a daunting task in fixing the state’s out of control spending. In addition to lowering taxes and courting new businesses, Walker introduced a budget adjustment bill targeting public union benefits. Highlights include asking union members to contribute 5.8% towards their pension, 12.6% towards their healthcare, and restricts collective bargaining to salary only. This approach helps shore up the budget shortfall while retaining all state workers and avoiding layoffs. The contributions also amount to roughly half of what the average private sector worker contributes.
This didn’t sit well with the public unions, particularly WEAC, the very powerful Wisconsin Education Association Council. Their Madison-area teachers orchestrated a “sick-out” on Wednesday with nearly 40% of them absent, forcing the closing of schools. Amazingly many of these same teachers showed up at the capitol to protest while they were “sick.” (Can you imagine calling in to work sick and then showing up in front of your place of business to protest your employer?) The “sick-outs” have now extended to Milwaukee and other areas for Thursday and are expected to continue through Friday. This isn’t sitting well with parents, even those who support the teachers’ cause.
Governor Walker had anticipated that the unions’ response would be, let’s say, “vociferous.” He alerted the Wisconsin National Guard to be ready in case things got out of hand. Of course the unions seized on this as an opportunity to demonize both Walker and the National Guard as a dictator with jack-booted storm troopers.
As if blowing off work and abandoning kids wasn’t bad enough, some of the teachers who did show up forced their classes to attend the protests in support. Many of the students had no idea why they were even there.
Unsurprisingly, an angry group of unions and clueless students has also attracted Madison’s local chapter of socialists who are always looking for useful idiots to nudge in the “right” direction. They’re holding an event next Wednesday titled “From Cairo to Madison” aimed at teaching people to organize against the Republic.
While union members may have congregated in the state capital of Madison to protest, many apparently neglected to vote in Tuesday’s primary election. In the race to replace the conservative Walker as county executive in very liberal Milwaukee County, it was another conservative, State Representative Jeff Stone, who garnered 44 percent of the votes in a 5-way race. He now faces liberal millionaire philanthropist Chris Abele who took in 25 percent of the vote in the general election. In the statewide primary for supreme court, sitting Justice David Prosser, another conservative, also coasted to a win and will square off against Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.
In a showing of their true colors, the minority senate democrats fled the capital today in an effort to prevent senate quorum. That is, 20 members of the senate must be present to proceed with the proposal and the republicans number 19. The capital police and state troopers were sent to retrieve the AWOL senators but they had fled out of state to Rockford Illinois. It is ironic that a party that sprung a member from jail in an attempt to push through union legislation just last December would find themselves skirting the law to prevent passage of the same. Even more amusing was the fact that this cadre of fiduciary fugitives fled a bastion of liberalism only to be sent packing by Rockford’s Tea Party.
As I write this, I am receiving text messages from a state representative that read: “All hell is breaking loose down here! Someone tried to storm the assembly chamber” followed by ” We have huge numbers of officers here helping. We have to be escorted everywhere.” And finally “In this room I am watching history being made. Not just Wisconsin history, this will ripple nationwide and could just change the course of our country.”
He has good reason to be cautious. Unlike the Tea Party movement that has been a model of civil discourse, there have been at least 9 arrests at Wisconsin’s capital. Signs clearly equate Walker to Hitler, Mussolini, and Mubarak and some read “Death to Tyrants.” (with the word ‘political’ scribbled above as an afterthought.) Imagine how the media would react if a Tea Party rally looked like this:
Not everyone came to support the unions though. This young man is dynamite!!!
Governor Walker held a press conference at the end of Thursday to chastise the absent senators and ask them to return to the work the citizens of Wisconsin pay them to perform. He also reemphasized that he was holding firm to his original proposal and would not compromise. If Walker succeeds, he just may spark a grassfire that sweeps across other states strangled by public sector unions. Furthermore, with the unions spending copious amounts of resources defending themselves at the state capital, will they have anything left in the tank for 2012? Buckle up and stay tuned.