Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that our state was such a dreadful place politically that the government geeks from Wisconsin were among those trying to urge Illinoisans to flee to within their borders?
|WALKER: Taking PR lessons from Blagojevich?|
Let’s just say that is a good part of the reason why I’m getting my kicks from the sight these days of Wisconsin politicos seeking a type of political asylum within our borders. Illinois has become the land of sanity, compared to the blatant partisanship and politicking taking place in the land that hasn’t hosted a World Series in nearly 30 years.
IT WAS ALREADY making national newscasts that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was planning to use a Republican majority in the Legislature to ram through a measure meant to alter the right of state government workers to collectively bargain.
That’s putting it politely.
What the governor and the GOP partisans really want to do is do away with the idea of having to deal with labor unions when it comes to their state employees. Perhaps it is the fact that organized labor leaders wind up backing their Democratic opponents that is the real reason they want to do away with unions.
Or maybe they really believe they ought to be able to impose by fiat their desires upon their employees.
IN SHORT, ALL the high-minded rhetoric being spewed these days about the issue is just a cover for the fact that this is a blatantly political maneuver.
So the opposition engaged in equally-blatant political maneuvering to out-maneuver Walker and his cronies. They stood away from the Statehouse in Madison.
|QUINN: Looking good by comparison?|
There are many reports of Wisconsin state legislators being sighted at assorted hotels and other public places in Illinois. Some of them are even true.
WE HAVE THE people who can’t stop this move from passing coming to Illinois. Because the Legislature’s rules prevent them from taking action on the measure is a certain number of lawmakers are not present. There has to be at least one Democrat on hand (or one Republican, if a Democratic majority of the future were to try to pull an equally strong-armed tactic).
So the Republicans alone can’t vote on the issue. They may have a majority, but they don’t have enough of a quorum to literally do this on their own.
Now I will acknowledge one point. These legislators eventually are going to have to go home, where they will then be forced to show up in Madison to act. Heck, the state police have been sent to the home of Minority Leader Mark Miller, only to find out that he isn’t there.
So eventually, this bill will pass. Walker eventually will get his anti-labor desires approved into law by a purely partisan political vote. But he’s not going to get a moment of glory that he can spin into a political triumph for the political cause.
IF ANYTHING, HE’S the guy who brought some shame on his home state – perhaps even more than Rod Blagojevich ever did with his goofy behavior during his six years in office.
I honestly believe using the police as an entity to pressure lawmakers is bordering on fascist tactics – even though I realize those officers would not have been allowed to arrest Miller or any other legislator (Wisconsin legislators can’t be arrested when the Legislature is scheduled to be in session). It definitely is the wrong image to use; Wisconsin as an anti-labor, police state.
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Even if it weren’t for this, there is the sight of those protests taking place in Madison these days to show opposition to the labor measure.
It may be true that many of those people picketing the Statehouse these days have been organized labor activists from other states – including Illinois. But the raucous racket has created a spectacle that we haven’t seen in our state’s Statehouse probably since the early 1980s when Illinois played a decisive role in the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment never was ratified.
I DON’T KNOW how long the Wisconsin legislators will stay here, although I reiterate again that Gov. Pat Quinn should find a way to grant them some form of asylum – although he had his share of fun on Friday by welcoming them to our beloved state.
|... to come out of Wisconsin|
“In Illinois, we always believed in working together as a team and not kicking somebody in the shins,” Quinn said to WBBM-AM. “Public employees deserve some respect.”
Which I’m sure the Mighty Quinn views as payback for Walker’s rhetoric of a month ago about resurrecting the “Escape to Wisconsin” tourism slogan when Illinois bit the bullet to try to close the severe budget gap that exists in Illinois state government/
It seems that Wisconsin people are more interested in “escaping” to Illinois, even though it is not permanent, than any of our people are interested in going up there, or to any surrounding state.