I'm writing this post about an hour before thousands of Wisconsin high school students are planning to walk out of classes in support of their teachers and other public employees and their unions. Here's wishing them success. Courage is contagious.
Rachel Maddow was a bit premature in declaring victory in Wisconsin Tuesday night.
As I pointed out at the time, it was way too early to celebrate. Maddow had assumed that polls showing the mounting and overwhelming opposition to Gov. Walker's assault on the state's teachers and public employees unions had forced Walker to compromise and negotiate. She must not have listened closely to his phone conversation with the Koch impostor where he candidly admitted to using the bait of a compromise only to trick the 14 Dems into returning to Wisconsin. He never had any intention of compromising his attack on the unions. In fact it was one day after Maddow's "we won" declaration, that the Republicans went into an illegal secret session and passed a bill which essentially eliminates collective bargaining rights for teachers and all public workers.
The period ahead will be a tough one for teachers with massive layoffs on the horizon and swelled class sizes facing those teachers who are still working. On top of that, many will lose their benefits, including health care coverage for their families and possibly, their pensions.
This new gaggle of T-Party Republicans, unlike their more right-centrist counterparts, are ideologically driven and couldn't care less what the voters think. It all reminds me of former vice-president Cheney's response to a reporter who told him that polls showed two-thirds of Americans opposed the war in Iraq. Cheney replied, "So!"
To give her her due, Maddow had it essentially right in that the Republican tactical victory on Wednesday is likely to turn into a strategic defeat for them in the upcoming elections. AFL-CIO Pres. Richard Trumka has even thanked the gov for overreaching and waking up the movement:
"We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year award! Because Gov. Walker's over-reaching has brought us to this moment to talk about jobs. This is the debate we've wanted to have. Well, guess what? Suddenly the debate came to us, and we're winning."Yes, thank you Gov. Walker for waking us up. Now it's up to us to get organized for the long haul. In Wisconsin it means continuing the protests which have sparked more resistance in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan and to get the recall process started.
The Republican coup d'etat apparently also awoke President Obama.
According to an AP story in today's papers, the White House is denouncing the Wisconsin Senate vote, calling it an assault on public employees. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama believes it is wrong for Wisconsin to use its budget troubles “to denigrate or vilify public sector employees.”
Pretty daring for the Great Triangulator.