While Democrats, both nationally and in the Badger State, are pulling out all stops to thwart Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s necessary — and fiscally responsible — reforms, they are showing themselves to be the real opponents of democracy and responsible governance. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach whines from Chicago (a city which, by the way, is not in the state in whose legislature he was elected to serve) that it’s the governor’s “responsibility to bring the state together. The state is not unified. It is totally torn part.”
Yet, it is Erpenach, his fellow partisans and their union allies responsible for tearing the state apart. They orchestrated the angry rallies. They walked out of the legislature, expressly in order to prevent legislators from doing their jobs:
“I’m starting to hold [Democratic Minority Leader Mark] Miller responsible for this,” [Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott] Fitzgerald said. “He shut down democracy.”
The protests have attracted teachers, grade school children, college students and other workers over four days. Police report they have been largely peaceful, with only nine people cited for minor acts of civil disobedience as of Thursday night.
The school children did not show up of their of their own accord, but were dragged there by their teachers who walked off their jobs in order to protest the policies of their elected representatives. The majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate is right, with the apparent blessing of the national party, his Democratic counterpart is shutting down democracy. Even some liberal pundits agree. On Time’s Swampland blog, Joe Klein reminds us:
An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that. . . . .
But we’ve had far too many state legislatures, of both parties, that have been cowed by the political power of the unions and enacted contracts that force state and city governments to be run for the benefit of their employees, rather than for their citizens. This situation is most egregious in far too many school districts across the nation. The events in Wisconsin are a rebalancing of power that, after decades of flush times and lax negotiating, had become imbalanced. That is also something that, from time to time, happens in a democracy.
Seems Wisconsin Democrats just aren’t too pleased with what happens in a democracy, so they’re fleeing the state in order to prevent their fellow elected officials from responding to the will of the people as expressed in an election held barely three months ago.
Democrats who try to compare Governor Walker to ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak seem to forget that election while failing to consider that Mr. Mubarak never had to make his case to the voters of his jurisdiction in a competitive contest. (Erpenach called “the governor’s style ‘dictatorial’ at times“.) Democrats and their union alliees had their chance to defeat the Badger State Republican and failed. Thus, as John Hinderaker reminds us, “it is democracy they are trying to frustrate, not dictatorship.”
UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin points out that even, while disagreeing with parts of Governor Walker’s plan, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial board took state Senate Democats to task for throwing “a temper tantrum Thursday”:
One leading Democrat – Obama was his name, as we recall – put it well after winning the White House in 2008: “Elections have consequences,” he told Republicans at the time. Indeed they do. The Democrats’ childish prank mocks the democratic process.
Read the whole thing.
UP-UPDATE: The introduction to this AP article sums it up:
Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing a state government they no longer control.
Emphasis added. If Republicans did it, Democrats would call it “obstruction.”
UP-UP-UPDATE: Blogging from ground zero of the protests (and with more pictures of activists comparing the elected governor of Wisconsin to Hitler*), Ann Althouse confronts the protesters:
One of the main chants in the Capitol is: “This is what democracy looks like.” And I’ve been asking protesters: Don’t you think what happened last October was democracy? [ADDED: I mean November!]
*If Scott Walker were like Hitler, citizens who tried to protest his policies, particularly those who did so right in front of his offices, would be shipped off to concentration camps. Or forced to leave the state. You’d think teachers would be able to make such distinctions, you know, with their knowledge of history and all.