Gov. Scott Walker is scheduled to sign the Legislature’s union-shop-ban bill into law today.
The Senate passed the bill first, followed by the Assembly following 24 hours of debate that included these brilliant insights as chronicled by my Facebook friends in rough chronological order:
- Rep. Cory Mason (D–Racine) said “We already saw that there is bipartisan opposition to this bill that came out of the Senate.” That would be Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R–Stevens Point), who voted against knowing full well that it would pass anyway, similar to former Sens. Mike Ellis and Dale Schultz. Mason’s comment is technically correct but meaningless.
- Rep. Chris Danou (D–Milwaukee) said “I know that very few of you have a good sense of history, but you need to look into the history of ‘right to work’ laws.” To which someone commented that Danou should research the history of labor unions and organized crime. (Followed by a comment that Jimmy Hoffa was unavailable for comment.) Danou also touted Madison’s economic growth (the result of having both state government and UW–Madison in Madison and nothing the city has done) as the proof that progressive policies work, failing to mention Rayovac’s moving from Madison to Middleton, Gander Mountain building in De Forest and not Madison, and, most famously, Epic Systems’ huge campus in Verona, not Madison. Or, for that matter, Madison’s unaffordable housing.
- Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D–Milwaukee) joked that the Minnesota Vikings would love to see the Green Bay Packers jailed for union activities. Brostoff should have found out whether members of the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans or Arizona Cardinals have been similarly jailed for their NFL Players Association activities in right-to-work states. (Short answer: No.)
- Rep. Jill Billings (D–La Crosse) cherry-picked statistics and then claimed she wasn’t cherry-picking statistics.
- Rep. Dana Wachs (D–Eau Claire) referred to the 1970s Green Bay Packers (which is only useful when talking about gross incompetence, of which Wisconsin Democrats have demonstrated a lot) and dyslexia.
- Rep. Melissa Sargent (D–Madison) said “I wish that you had the courage to not steal from the wallets of hard-working Wisconsinites,” failing to see the irony in opposing a bill that ends stealing from the wallets of hard-working Wisconsinites by banning mandatory union membership. (To which I replied that some legislators steal from hard-working Wisconsinites every time they get paid.) Sargent also said “I hope that you won’t sleep better tomorrow.”
- Rep. Gary Hebl (D–Sun Prairie) said “Don’t listen to where the money comes from,” perhaps referring to the $575,000 unions gave Senate Democrats to vote against the bill and the $115,000 unions gave Assembly Democrats to vote against the bill.
- Rep. Chris Taylor (D–Madison) made obligatory complaints about the American Legislative Exchange Council, because fiscal responsibility is contrary to Wisconsin values, or something. Taylor also said “We are here because of a political stunt of this governor,” which is false; Republican legislative leaders brought up the bill despite Walker’s statements not favoring the Legislature’s considering the bill.
- Rep. Mandela Barnes (D–Milwaukee) depicted Moses and Aaron as labor organizers and the plagues brought on by “bad workplace conditions.” I’m guessing Barnes’ cherry-picking of the Bible ends when a discussion of, say, abortion rights comes up.
Then again, maybe these Democrats are just representing their constituents. Scott Reeder of the Illinois Policy Institute came to Madison to visit the Capitol and observed:
I’ve covered the Illinois Statehouse for 15 years and before that the Nevada Legislature. I’ve never witnessed anything under a dome quite like what I saw in Madison this past week.
My only thought after observing the shenanigans — they sure aren’t doing themselves any favors.
After all, it’s kind of hard to have a serious public policy conversation with someone clad only in long johns.
As I was standing in line to enter the Senate gallery, the fellow behind me explained that Scott Walker engages in mind control and a group called “ALEC” had people locked up for being delusional.
The woman in front of me in line explained to me that Walker, a Baptist preacher’s son, couldn’t be a Christian because of his opposition to some of organized labor’s positions and Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
I asked the woman if she loved Scott Walker. There was a long pause and then she sputtered, “just a little bit.” …
One could argue that the folks demonstrating in Madison these past four years are among the people most responsible for Walker’s rise to national political prominence.
The rascals on the left alienated themselves from the majority of voters. After all, a hero needs a villain.
David had Goliath. Batman had Joker. Hamilton had Burr.
And Scott Walker? Well, he has the unions.
As union demonstrations spiraled out of control, rank-and-file voters found themselves identifying more with Walker.
They couldn’t bring themselves to support what they saw as an increasingly radical labor movement.
During the last four years, Walker has won three races for governor, including a recall election that was pushed by the unions.
I asked the fellow in long underwear why Walker keeps winning, and his answer was telling — “I have no idea.”
Maybe he ought to look in the mirror.