Democracy in Wisconsin?

WI Assembly GOP Passes Walker Budget In Surprise Vote — Dems Chant “Shame!” | TPMDC
[Via Talking Points Memo]

The Wisconsin State Assembly has just passed Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, including its controversial provisions to eliminate almost all collective bargaining rights for public employee unions as well as many other provisions to weaken union organizing.

After much buildup in the 61-hour debate — of Republicans wanting things to be over, and Democrats railing against Republicans who they said would cut off debate — at about 1 AM Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Kramer (R) announced that he would hear a voice vote for a roll call on final passage. Immediately, the majority Republicans shouted their ayes, and the Democrats were booing, as they tried to be recognized to demand a separate motion to cut off debate.

Then Kramer called the vote. Within seconds, the digital vote system on the wall announced 51 ayes and 17 nays, and voting was suddenly closed. With a total of 96 members, that got to a majority for the bill but left 28 members who hadn’t had a chance yet to vote.

At that point, the Democrats got up, chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and similar exclamations, as the Republicans filed out of the room.


Four of the nays were actually Republican votes, so only 13 Democrats even had a chance to vote. Twenty-five Democrats were not even allowed to vote.

There were consistently 36-38 nays on every vote during the day. 58-38 was pretty standard. Interestingly, the vote to suspend the rules passed 57-5 but there is no listing of the recorded vote. Is that the supposed voice vote?

Even when the Republicans are assured a win, they have to disenfranchise the other side. It may have even been illegal. I can see why this could get ugly soon, with legislators booing and throwing things.

This is what representative government is becoming. Those with power abuse it and those without get very, very angry.

The beating of Senator Sumner on the floor of the Senate is a reminder of what can happen when things get ugly. As seen then, little effective government gets accomplished when passions run that high.

The really amazing thing about this bill is not only the union-busting aspect but the sell-off of state assets. The bill states that they can be sold without bidding for any price the state determines. And in a nice Orwellian twist, any price the state determines is, by definition, in the best interests of the state.

So, they could sell their power plants to business interests, say Koch Industries, for $100 and it would be okay. Of course, they would be really stupid to do that, as the public might see that as unethical. But it would not be illegal.

This is what we get when the bandits are leading the stupid.

3 thoughts on “Democracy in Wisconsin?

  1. RE:Sumner beating—it is my understanding that, once again, it was the Democrats who lost their temper. What happened to all of the civility they promised? Yelling “shame, shame” on the floor doesn’t strike me as either civil OR democratic. The Dems are so much better at spending than at saving that it isn’t any wonder they get upset. By the by, who is paying for them to stay in fancy motels in Illinois?

    1. As you probably know, the political philosophies of the Southern Democrats from the 1850s are almost all in the Republican party while the views of the radical Republicans are almost all in the Democratic party.

      Secondly, the Republicans in this case showed very little civility or comity with their fellow legislators. They should feel shamed by their actions to prevent a proper vote.

      Republicans have shown as large an ability to spend as Democrats. What they have not shown is the fiscally responsible aspect of raising revenues to pay for that spending. In fact, all they seem to do is increase spending while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Then followed by cutting services for the rest of us.

      What evidence do you have that anyone is paying them? I’d not be surprised to see someone is but I have not heard.

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