The law of diminishing political returns is catching up with the Fleebaggers as they contemplate how to maximize the publicity and political impact of their return from Illinois.
The Wall Street Journal:
Playing a game of political chicken, Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to stymie restrictions on public-employee unions said Sunday they planned to come back from exile soon, betting that even though their return will allow the bill to pass, the curbs are so unpopular they'll taint the state's Republican governor and legislators.
The Republicans rejected the idea that the legislation would hurt the GOP. "If you think this is a bad bill for Republicans, why didn't you stand up in the chamber and debate us about it three weeks ago?" said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. "People think it's absolutely ridiculous that these 14 senators have not been in Wisconsin for three weeks."
That's the bottom line for the Fleebaggers. Wisconsin residents may slightly favor the union position on the labor reforms being offered by Governor Walker, but they separate their support for organized labor from the antics of the 14 Democratic senators who took it on the lamb 3 weeks ago.
Sen. Mark Miller said he and his fellow Democrats intend to let the full Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker's "budget-repair" bill, which includes the proposed limits on public unions' collective-bargaining rights. The bill, which had been blocked because the missing Democrats were needed for the Senate to have enough members present to vote on it, is expected to pass the Republican-controlled chamber.
He said he thinks recent polls showing voter discontent with Mr. Walker over limits on bargaining rights have been "disastrous" for the governor and Republicans and give Democrats more leverage to seek changes in a broader two-year budget bill Mr. Walker proposed Tuesday.
Before Sunday's developments, Mr. Walker said he wouldn't be swayed by the polls. "If I governed by polls I'd still be in the state Assembly," Mr. Walker said on Friday. "I won reelection twice as county executive in an area of the state that went two-thirds for President Obama by identifying a problem, telling people how I was going to deal with it, and then moving forward with the solution."
Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the governor, said Sunday that Mr. Walker "looks forward to the Senate Democrats returning as soon as possible."
The flight from reality by the Dem senators did not help their cause and probably hurt it. And they are dreaming if they think their little Kubuki dance earned them any negotiating power on the budget proposed by Walker last week. The GOP will steam roll the Democrats on the budget and just about anything else they want to. That is the price the Dems will pay for running away from debate for 3 weeks and counting.