Wisconsin Recall: Republicans Hold 4 of 6, Senate

The second round of the rolling Wisconsin recall elections was held yesterday. The Republicans are still in charge.

The second round of the rolling Wisconsin recall elections was held yesterday. The Republicans are still in charge.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (“Republicans take 4 of 6 in recall elections, hold Senate“):

Democrats won two state Senate seats in Tuesday’s historic recall elections, but failed to capture a third seat that would have given them control of the chamber.

By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor’s office. Tuesday’s elections narrowed their majority – at least for now – from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.

Republicans may be able to gain back some of the losses next week, when two Democrats face recall elections.

What an idiotic process. So, not only can Wisconsinites petition to recall specific elected officials, they don’t even do it in a consolidated manner. Which makes every seat ripe for cherry-picking and intense outside money competition in “elections” that only the most angry and interested voters will show up for. And, as a bonus, partisan outrage gets professionally stoked 24/7/365.

While both sides are naturally claiming victory here, Nate Silver cautioned ahead of the returns against over-reading them.

 

True, there are also other swing states, like Florida, Ohio and Michigan, in which there areunpopular Republican governors. But to the extent this is a problem for Republicans, the results in Wisconsin on Tuesday night will probably only provide us with a very fuzzy clue about that, in the same way that special elections to the House provide only the vaguest hints about elections fought under other circumstances. And unlike some special House elections, this one is being contested on explicitly local issues.

The one thing it would be safe to say is that, if Democrats have a strong night, Mr. Walker will be in some jeopardy, as he could face his own recall election next year.

If you are going to read into the results, it is probably best to compare them to Mr. Walker’s performance in 2010 rather than the margins that the state senators themselves achieved that year. Ordinarily, nobody pays much attention to state senate elections. If some Republican incumbent was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote in 2010, but survives the recall with 55 percent of the vote, it would be dubious to cite that as a sign of progress for Democrats since the elections were contested under substantially different circumstances.

Elections scheduled in other than the standard “Tuesday after the first Monday in November” pattern are generally very low turnout affairs. Presumably, even in these strong Republican precincts, it’s easier to organize angry union members and government workers than those who are pleased with their current representation.

With rare exceptions, the American tradition has been for fixed-term elections–usually 2 or 4 years–with removal possible only for criminal malfeasance. Many parliamentary systems, though, have mechanisms for early elections in the event the party or coalition that gained power as a result of the last election can’t effectively govern. There are advantages to both systems.

But the recall process, which we were first introduced to nationally with the 2003 election that removed California Governor Gray Davis from office and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, is hugely problematic. A handful of conservative Republicans, including George Will and yours truly, argued that at the time even though our team stood to benefit. As I wrote less than a month into my blogging “career,”

[T]his movement strikes me as dangerous. It’s one thing to recall a politician who has committed a crime or some other serious breach while in office; it’s quite another to use it to get a second bite at the apple. Even if unsuccessful, this will cost the state a sizable amount of money and distract the elected officials, especially Davis, from doing the jobs to which they were elected. And, if successful, this will create a dangerous precedent similar to the Senate’s defeat of Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 1986. From now on, this will be considered a legitimate tactic for one party to attack a weak politician of the other party. Republicans were rightly upset by New Jersey Democrats for flouting the state’s election laws by swapping a losing candidate for a winner at the 11th hour; they should oppose this flouting of the spirit of California law just as vigorously.

Now, in fairness, it’s not something that’s caught on. California hasn’t recalled another governor in the ensuing eight years and Wisconsin’s is the first that I can recall getting national attention since then. So, maybe this tool–unavailable to voters in most states–will remain reserved only for circumstances when the voters are genuinely outraged rather than one constantly used. But we have a long history of special circumstance measures suddenly becoming routine.

Graphic: WXOW ABC19 News

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. WR says:

    Perhaps these special circumstances have something to do with the outrageous abuses of power committed by the Republicans who took office in a low-turnout election. In state after state they set about enacting a radical corporatist agenda, beggaring the middle class to give huge tax breaks to the super-rich and passing laws to make sure their political oppponents lost their voice in the next election, whether through wiping out unions or using the phony threat of voter fraud to make it much harder for the “wrong” kinds of people to vote.

    But I guess it’s impolite to react to this. Those who are affected should just accept this power grab meekly and wait for the next election as those who took the power work to make sure their voices are never heard again.

    You might want to take a look what’sgoing on in England. This is the result of a government that decides only a small part of the people are worthy of representation, and the rest should just stay down and shut up and take whatever scraps are thrown to them. When you tell great swaths of the country that the social compact no longer applies to them, don’t be surprised when they decide they don’t have to live by it anymore.

  2. Jay Tea says:

    What a sad state of affairs. When legislators fleeing the state, mob occupation of the capitol, death threats, the purely partisan attempted recall of a Supreme Court justice, and the partisan targeting of recall elections against state senators all fed by millions and millions in union dollars from across the nation can’t overturn a valid and honest election, our democracy is truly dead.

    (/sarc, just in case it’s needed)

    J.

  3. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Actually, I saw two things that summed up the English riots pretty well:

    “The people on the cart are rioting against the people pulling the cart.”

    “What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire.”

    We’re starting to see Britons taking up their own defense now. Kind of like in the LA riots — when the police can’t or won’t stop the mobs, some people join the mobs, some people stand against them.

    J.

  4. Rob in CT says:

    I too think that recalls becoming routine would be a bad thing. But as you say, it’s unclear whether this is a start (or rather continuation/acceleration, given the Davis in CA thing) of a trend, or an exceptional instance.

    Anyway, it didn’t work – close, but not enough. That might help prevent it from being tried elsewhere. I dunno.

    WR – I don’t think the UK riots & the Wisconsin recalls share much.

  5. Jay Tea says:

    @Rob in CT: Next week, we get the tat for the tit, as several Democrats in Wisconsin go up for recall. The actual results probably won’t be as entertaining as the spin after.

    J.

  6. I don’t think that there’s any broad lesson you can draw from an off year recall election for a state legislative seat. Nonetheless, many on the left (and several MSNBC hosts) tried to nationalize this election and they failed miserably.

    FWIW, there are two more recall of elections next Tuesday. Both Democratic seats. And I’m told that the GOP has a decent shot of picking up at least one. Which would make last night’s results even more meaningless.

  7. Jay Tea says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Meaningless? Absolutely. But will it stop the Democrats in Wisconsin? Get real.

    To them, democracy only triumphs when they win. If they lose, then obviously something’s wrong with the system and the results of that election MUST be overturned, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary.

    J.

  8. Catherine says:

    “America. By the corporations for the corporation.” I cannot believe so many of you fell for the Republican PR pitches all paid for by corporate interest. You have allowed Rep to keep control over your lives. Unreal. . You have paved the way for the wealthy to stay wealthy and for the other 98% of the population to get poorer. So, you think you can afford to send your kids to private school? What about that pension? What about safe work places – that organized labour fought and some were killed for. These are the ideals that you have thrown out.
    I am so sorry for those who had the good common sense to vcte Democratic. This is the party of the people. How in the hell could others vote a party in that has been caught cheating on this election process?

  9. Rob in CT says:

    democracy only triumphs when they win. If they lose, then obviously something’s wrong with the system and the results of that election MUST be overturned, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary

    This can be said about rabid partisans of many political movements. “Elections have consquences” (said triumphantly by Republicans during the Bush II era) except when the Democrats win and pass legislation, then it’s “ramming things through” and other such nonsense.

    Using a seldom (or never-before) used option is apparently terrible when the Dems do it, but great when the GOP uses it. I mean hell, Jay, it’s like you have already forgotten the whole debt ceiling thing. It had never been used that way before. The GOP used it opportunistically to force changes they could not otherwise get (as they control only 1 house of Congress). By your logic above, this was wrong and they should have waited until the 2012 elections and, if they won, then enact their agenda. But they didn’t. They played chicken with the debt ceiling to get what they wanted *now*, without winning back the Senate and/or WH. And you LOVED IT.

  10. mantis says:

    To them, democracy only triumphs when they win. If they lose, then obviously something’s wrong with the system and the results of that election MUST be overturned, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary.

    Jay’s typical “both sides do it” stance is only ever employed to defend Republicans. Republicans in Wisconsin got recall elections against Democrats too, but he ignores that and blames only the Democrats. He ignores California’s recall. As always, IOKIYAR.

    Keep in mind that Wisconsin Dems are not making the straw man arguments Jay has created, that there is “something wrong with the system.” They are making the argument that the Republican majorities in the state have far overreached their mandate and since the state allows recalls, they would try to bring some balance in power back as a check against that overreach. But to Jay that’s evil and shows they hate democracy. When California Republicans do it to Gray Davis, well that’s just fine. Just fine indeed.

  11. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: And why can’t the police stop the mobs? Oh, yes, a third of the force has been laid off because England’s conservative government has decided that “austerity” is the way to go — slash all government so more and more tax dollars can be paid to the banks that ruined the world’s economy. But as we see in both your posts, anyone who tries to reverse this is a thug and a criminal.

    It must be nice to have a mommy and a daddy who feed and clothe and house you so you can spend your days preaching the gospel of Randian superiority.

  12. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: So I guess you’re in favor of the governor’s move to pass a bill limiting voting to those who can provide a DMV-issued ID, and then trying to close down the DMV offices in Democratic districts. Because of your strong belief in “democracy.”

    Hey, I think your mommy’s calling. Your breakfast is ready.

  13. Jay Tea says:

    @Rob in CT: This can be said about rabid partisans of many political movements. “Elections have consquences” (said triumphantly by Republicans during the Bush II era) except when the Democrats win and pass legislation, then it’s “ramming things through” and other such nonsense.

    I agree, in general. Find me an example of Republicans going to anywhere near this extreme to literally overturning a valid election — legislators fleeing the state to deny a quorum, mobs taking over the capitol, the attempted recall of a Supreme Court justice who didn’t rule “the right way,” and the recall of state Senators for “not voting the right way,” and I’ll go along with you.

    Yes, let’s get the Texas legislators out of the way. That’s one parallel. That leaves plenty of others to go.

    J.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    One odd thing about these recalls is that they are happening at a time when the seats have just been redistricted in a partisan fashion by the Republicans. In my state, where the Dems did this to the Repubs, the Repubs are spending this time getting familiar and known to new constituents. The Wisconsin dems appear to be fighting yesterday’s battle.

  15. PD Shaw says:

    Some background on the losers that I found somewhat amusing:

    One of the seats was solidly Democratic, held by a Republican due to an apparent fluke of nature. The other was held by an alleged adulterer who had moved outside his district to live with his young mistress, and whose wife was supporting his recall.

  16. mantis says:

    Find me an example of Republicans going to anywhere near this extreme to literally overturning a valid election

    Holding another election is not “overturning” a valid election, it’s just having another one sooner, which is allowed under Wisconsin law. How come you aren’t condemning the recall campaigns against Wisconsin Democrats? Oh right. IOKIYAR.

  17. Jay Tea says:

    @mantis: In the case of the recalls of the Democrats, I’m invoking the “payback’s a bitch” clause. This is when one side devises a new underhanded tactic, and the other side realizes that “taking the high road” has its drawbacks. Instead, they use it in retaliation.

    If we’re lucky, the reprisal demonstrates how it’s a bad idea for either side to use.

    If not… well, the way things are going in Wisconsin, the Democrats will end up losing at least one seat in this move, meaning that they had a net gain of one seat out of the tactic — and there are even more Democrats who could be targeted in the next round of recall elections.

    And ain’t it funny how no one wants to talk about the Runaway Senators, the mob seizure of the capitol, or the Epic Fail recall of the Supreme Court justice?

    J.

  18. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: I realize that facts are meaningless to you, but that Supreme Court election wasn’t a “recall.” It’s what’s called “an election.”

    As for all those other horrors you clutch your precious pearls over, the fact is that when the government moves to take away the rights of its citizens, they’re going to fight back.

    Someday you’ll move out of mommy and daddy’s house and find out what life is like for people who actually have to make a living. I don’t think you’re clever enough to get a job whoring for the rich like, say, Jonah Goldberg.

  19. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: My mommy and daddy have been dead 20 and 15 years respectively, WR. Your point?

    And just what “rights” were taken away in Wisconsin? They were privileges, granted by the state and taken away by the state. And funnily enough, the schools in Wisconsin are almost uniformly better off now financially than they were before the showdown.

    Head on back to Democratic Underground with your fellow DUmmies. You have absolutely no business messing around with grownups.

    J.

  20. mantis says:

    And ain’t it funny how no one wants to talk about the Runaway Senators,

    Quorum rules in the Wisconsin Constitution provide this tool for the minority, and a means to address it if abused. What’s your problem with legislators using what means their state constitution allows?

    the mob seizure of the capitol,

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    or the Epic Fail recall of the Supreme Court justice?

    So what’s your problem? That a recall election was held, or that the recall petitioners lost?

    In any case, I’m happy to talk about all three of them. Perhaps you would like to enlighten us to how doing things allowed by the state constitution or the US constitution, even exercising fundamental 1st Amendment rights, is somehow anti-democratic and wrong.

  21. Jay Tea says:

    “Peacably.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Plus, I’ve long agreed with the sentiment that “it’s not illegal” is not a defense, it’s a confession.

    Oh, well. We’ve seen how the people of Wisconsin feel about it — the liberals have lost, and lost decisively, at each step of the process. They’re fighting themselves into irrelevance.

    Funny thing, that — act contemptibly enough, long enough, and people will develop contempt for you.

    J.

  22. mantis says:

    “Peacably.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Are you implying that the protests at the WI capitol were violent riots? Based on what, exactly?

    Plus, I’ve long agreed with the sentiment that “it’s not illegal” is not a defense, it’s a confession.

    Do you feel the same about Republicans’ use of the filibuster?

    the liberals have lost, and lost decisively, at each step of the process.

    Well, they just won two senate seats they didn’t have on Monday. Or are you exempting those seats from your “analysis?”

    Funny thing, that — act contemptibly enough, long enough, and people will develop contempt for you.

    Yeah, that explains why Walker is so unpopular now. He didn’t even have to act contemptibly for very long, either!

  23. mantis says:

    And I suppose that congressional Republicans are now more unpopular with the public than during the Clinton impeachment because of their contemptible behavior, right Jay?

  24. Dave Ely says:

    @Jay Tea: Just in California:
    Rose Bird
    Paul Horcher – recalled for making a deal with Willie Brown
    Doris Allen – Recalled for making a deal with willie Brown
    And of course Gray Davis

  25. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, let’s look at the scoreboard:

    Democratic Senators flee the state to stop the bill — it passes anyway.

    Union-subsidized mobs take over the State House, running up hundreds of thousands in damages, to bully the Republicans to stop the bill — it passes anyway.

    Unions and other liberals from all across the country spend millions to defeat a Supreme Court justice — he wins re-election handily.

    Unions and other liberals from all across the country spend millions of dollars to recall six GOP Senators, needing at least three to win back the Senate — they bag two, one of whom was seriously damaged goods.

    Next week, two Democratic Senators will face their own recall elections.

    So, after all that fuss and money and outrage… how do things stand?

    How’s all that workin’ out for ya?

    It’s working out just great for the schools in Wisconsin — no budget-related layoffs of teachers, several districts are reporting that they’ve suddenly got a lot more money to spend on students than before.

    I was especially impressed by this union “benefit:” http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/26/one-reason-why-wisconsin-needed-union-reform-captive-benefits/

    No wonder they wanted to keep their collective bargaining rights — the union was making a HUGE killing off of health insurance alone.

    J.

  26. Jay Tea says:

    @Dave Ely: I recall two of those cases: Bird was recalled for being grossly out of step with the public opinion on the death penalty. She refused to uphold the law. And Davis was recalled for many reasons, most of which boiled down to “gross incompetence.”

    And further, from what I recall (from across the country), those recalls were bipartisan and strictly targeted to individuals over specific causes, not “let’s get rid of the Republicans because they won election and carried out their campaign promises.”

    J.

  27. Rob in CT says:

    The whole “mobs take over the capital” thing seems seriously overblown. I wasn’t there, of course, but from afar it seemed like a bunch of people protesting political changes they didn’t like.

    As for the rest, obviously IOKIYAR, but not if you’re a Democrat. I’m sure some Republicans have ducked quorum at some point. I didn’t approve of the Dems in WI doing that, for what it’s worth. I happen to think elections do have consequences – bad ones if you elect (present-day) Republicans, but hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    It would be interesting (in the Chinese curse sense) to see “payback’s a bitch” play out if the Dems ever decide to use the debt ceiling the way the GOP did. After all, it’s part of the political toolkit now. It’s been done, and it basically worked (in terms of policy, though it may impact the GOP’s election prospects). When the shoe is on the other foot… when it’s the hated Democrats doing it, will you be defending the tactic? I won’t. I bet you will.

  28. mantis says:

    How’s all that workin’ out for ya?

    I don’t live in Wisconsin, but I do find your adoption of campaign slogans rather pathetic.

    I notice you put forth no effort to back up your implication that the Wisconsin protests were not peaceful. I notice you offer no defense of Republicans doing the same things you condemn Democrats for doing.

    It’s working out just great for the schools in Wisconsin — no budget-related layoffs of teachers, several districts are reporting that they’ve suddenly got a lot more money to spend on students than before.

    The massive cuts to Wisconsin schools haven’t been implemented yet. When they do, all the bullshit the Republicans have been offering about how this has helped schools will be shown for what it is.

    Also, the money that some WI districts found they now have as a result of the cuts to pensions and health care for teachers is not enough to offset the budget cuts in future years. The only reason it was this year is federal stimulus money is bridging the gap. Without it, school districts like La Crosse, touted as having a surplus this year, only does so because of $1.4 million in stimulus money that won’t be around next year. They will in fact have an approximately $1.1 million deficit next year.

    So in the future they are screwed, and layoffs are inevitable under the new budget laws. But this year they’re in the black because of evil, socialist stimulus money that does no one any good. There’s no chance of future federal stimulus with the lunatic Republican minority in charge, so there’s nothing but a very dismal outlook for Wisconsin schools, teachers, students, families, and the state economy.

    How’s that workin’ out for ya?

  29. jan says:

    @PD Shaw:

    #18 Hopper lost mainly because of his high profile personal problems (his marriage, as you said). It is highly probable, though, that when this district comes of again it will be returned to a republican because of the district’s conservative demographics.

    #32 would have been another ‘fluke’ had Kapanke beaten Shilling, since it was a strong dem district, and will probably stay that way.

    #12 Holperin, the democratic up for next Tuesday’s recall, is on the ropes. The only thing that can save him is his challenger, Simac, is a poor candidate.

    #22 Wirch D – is a toss-up IMO, being given an edge because his district is somewhat more liberal.

  30. jan says:

    A cloud, though, that hovers over WI are the race problems during the state faire, that some considered had negative implications for the dems in yesterday’s recall efforts. Whether this sentiment lingers to effect next Tuesday remains to be seen. Also, Union people shouting down Walker at the faire, backfired.

    Walker’s reforms are also making positive inroads early on, in saving health care cost by making companies more competitive. There is now more money for school districts, along with hiring. There is even a dent in Wisconsin’s deficit. If his reforms continue to improve Wisconsin’s economy and employment, it will be a living testament as to the effectiveness of conservative type of reforms in action, versus progressive band aids of taxing and spending more of what you don’t have.

  31. jan says:

    @mantis:

    WI school district improves immediately after union reforms

    First: turning the deficit around

    Kaukauna School District was struggling and facing a deficit of $400,000, but a day after Walker’s law was signed the school officials began putting new policies into effect that are projected to turn the district’s budget deficit into a $1.5 million surplus.

    Second: the results of competitive health care bids rather than giving the policy to a crony.

    Because of the district’s threat of dropping their coverage, WEA Trust immediately changed their position so that they’d match the lowest bid. These new terms will save the district substantial amounts of money on health coverage

    Third: reforms have been better for the kids

    Teachers will also be asked to work 40 hours a week at school instead of 37.5 hours a week. Additionally, pay increases and benefits will transition to a merit based system, which will save the district money and allow them to hire more teachers. “These changes mean that the district can reduce the size of its classes — from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school.

    Yes, this is a conservative publication. But, the results of these reforms are not going to be published anywhere in the media who supports the unions — which is most of the MSM.

    Furthermore, as to protest damages. Yes, there was damage. But even that, as far as how much, is in dispute. The high number of $7 + million seems over-inflated, as the low number, in the $300 thousand range, seems under estimated.

    Officials evaluate possible damage to Capitol after protests

  32. That Guy says:

    @WR:

    Someday you’ll… find out what life is like for people who actually have to make a living.”

    I can’t understand why such a likable, pleasant-mannered individual such as you would find it difficult to make a living in the real world…

  33. Jay Tea says:

    @mantis: Actually, I took the “workin’ out for ya” from people quoting Dr. Phil.

    As far as “peaceful,” I tend to think of people handcuffing themselves to fixtures and slipping death threats under doors and leaving such a mess that cleanup costs run into seven figures as not overly “peaceful.” But YMMV, of course. I guess I’m spoiled by the Tea Party events that leave the venue cleaner than they found it.

    But in the big picture, mantis… just what has all this achieved, exactly? Two Senate seats, insufficient to change anything, but with two Democrats facing recall next week. How much money did all that cost? How much public good will?

    On the other hand, it’s been very educational. Witness the above sweetheart deal on health insurance the unions had that had gone under the radar. How much more union pilfering of the public coffers will be discovered?

    Enquiring minds want to know…

    J.

  34. Dave Ely says:

    @Jay Tea: “I recall two of those cases: Bird was recalled for being grossly out of step with the public opinion on the death penalty. She refused to uphold the law.”

    Not really. The death penalty issue is what the campaign against her was based on, but the reason there was a campaign against her was that Republicans were upset by her ruling on a redistricting issue. They are even reminding people of it now in the context of the current redistricting process.

    “And Davis was recalled for many reasons, most of which boiled down to “gross incompetence.”

    The only issue of incompetence was related to deregulating the energy market in California, which was a legislative mistake supported by the entire legislature. Texas energy traders gamed the system and caused widespread blackouts. This created an environment of anger without any focus. At the same time the car tax was returned to the level it had been before the dot com bubble(which had recently burst), in order to deal with looming budget disaster. Republicans saw an opportunity to make Davis the object of all the anger and ran a recall campaign against him. I’m sure that most Californians regret going along with it. Gross incompetence more accurately describes his successor.

  35. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: And if they cut teacher’s pay down to fifty cents an hour, the schools would be even better off financially. Of course it would be on the backs of those who can least afford it, while giving giant tax breaks to the rich and to the corporations that write checks to Republicans. But that’s another plus to you, isn’t it?

  36. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: I’m confused. Your father died three years before you were born? Because no one above the age of 17 could ever think he could persuade another human being with your kind of argument. Unless he was dropped on the head repeatedly as a child, I guess.

  37. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Oh, look, Jay’s lying again. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars” in damage to the capital. Yes, as reported by right wing hacks. Then the department of public works checked on that horrible damage. It turned out to be one piece of blue painter’s tape fixing a sign to the wall. Cost to repair this horrendous damage, including labor, something under ten dollars.

    Really, Jay, why don’t you go find first graders to lie to? They might actually believe this crap.

  38. WR says:

    @jan: If slashing teachers’ pay and benefits is so good for the schools, will you advocate cutting their pay down to a dollar an hour? If not, why not?

  39. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Here’s Media Matters, Soros’ butt-monkey, scoffing at the $7.5 million estimate, saying that the total cleanup bill was “only” $350,000 — which, I feel the need to explain to you, is “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201103050009

    I think they’re full of crap, as usual, but even their estimate puts the lie to your (typically) unsourced bullshit claims.

    Oh, and here’s Wikipedia putting the total bill for the protests at $8 million, with $270,000 specifically for cleaning up the messes in and around the State House.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Wisconsin_protests#May

    I swear, I’ve never met anyone so arrogant, with so little justification…

    J.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: If slashing teachers’ pay and benefits is so good for the schools, will you advocate cutting their pay down to a dollar an hour? If not, why not?

    Because of Economics 101, you gibbering dolt.

    In the marketplace, pay is hammered out between employers and employees. The employer’s incentive is to get the best workers at the lowest price, while the employee’s incentive is to get the most money for the least demands. The final settlement is a compromise.

    With your proposition, no one would accept the employer’s offer, so we’d have no teachers. And we’d end up with a nation of drooling idiots like you.

    The equation is disrupted with public sector unions, where the employees have a huge say in who does the negotiating on both sides. They buy politicians with campaign contributions, then have those politicians repay those through extremely generous contracts. There is a separation between those who pay the bills and those who oversee those payments.

    Let’s use what you laughably call “logic” against you: why not make the minimum wage $50.00 an hour? $100.00 an hour? Why would that be bad, to you?

    J.

  41. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: This is going to shock the hell out of you since youj’ve apparently never stepped onto a college campus, but there are economics classes that come after 101. In some of them you might learn that a union is necessary when there is a huge power disparity between parties in a “negotiation.”

    As for buying politicians, it seems to me that Koch Industries has bought themselves a bumper crop in Wisconsin, and then ordered them to slash teacher pay and benefits and give them the cash in the form of reduced taxes.

    But back to the subject at hand, since you and your fellow Republicans loathe education so much, I’d think you’d be happy with the kinds of teachers you can get for a dollar an hour. And hey, as long as the Republicans can impoverish the middle class, you might have people fighting for those jobs. True, they’d live in abject poverty, but the rich would be even richer, so it balances out.

  42. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Congrats! You’re up to making half an argument! What a great improvement!

    Yes, when there’s a huge power imbalance, unions are definitely a balancing factor. But you fail on two points (which is an improvement for you — good job!). One, you don’t show how the local school boards have a “huge power imbalance” over teachers. Two, you don’t address how public sector unions hold a huge power imbalance over taxpayers when it comes to electing the people who negotiate with those unions. Negotiations go wonderfully when your side essentially owns the negotiators on both sides.

    And the kinds of teachers we’d get for a buck an hour would be… well, teachers like you. I have no problem paying teachers a decent wage, and currently they make above-average pay. It’s the bennies they get — out of my pocket — that I resent paying for. Such as the aforementioned insurance scam I mentioned above, and no one wants to talk about.

    J.

  43. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: It’s so generous that you are willing to see teachers make a decent wage, although the fact that you qualilfy that with the suggestion that they’re overpaid now does suggest that you and they might disagree on the definition of “decent.” And of course you hate the idea they can retire with dignity. After all, you’re done with them by then. Let them die in the gutter.

    You are the reason there are unions. Because the alternative is relying on the “generosity” of philanthropists such as yourself and your pocket.

  44. Blue Shark says:

    Jeez James,
    …How about capping comments by a troll visitor to say 10.

    …Otherwise you are letting posters like Jay Tea puke all over the pages.

  45. An Interested Party says:

    I swear, I’ve never met anyone so arrogant, with so little justification…

    Check out a mirror sometime…

  46. ponce says:

    It’s the bennies they get — out of my pocket — that I resent paying for.

    And I resent having to pay for the Republicans idiotic progams.

    Welcome to Democracy.

  47. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: It’s so generous that you are willing to see teachers make a decent wage, although the fact that you qualilfy that with the suggestion that they’re overpaid now does suggest that you and they might disagree on the definition of “decent.”

    I understand that you are constitutionally incapable of grasping this fact, but I’m one of the people who pays teachers’ salaries. As such, that gives me a certain amount of input into the matter.

    Tell me how “decent” the Wisconsin teacher health insurance scam was. The teachers wrangled the right to have their union run their own insurance program, including setting the premiums that they didn’t have to pay. And boy, that racket put a nice hunk of change in the union’s pocket.

    Here’s a bit of wisdom you’ve obviously never heard: “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” The unions got way too greedy, and the general public finally said “enough.” And instead of making some reasonable concessions on the most egregious ripoffs like that one, they drew a line and said “we ain’t giving up squat.” So, instead, they had it taken back.

    And you seem to have completely skipped over the cleanup/occupation costs issue once I introduced actual data into the discussion. Gee, what a surprise that was.

    Oh, and Blue Shark? Have you even SEEN WR’s comments? I wouldn’t recommend looking at them too carefully. Stupidity like his actually kills brain cells simply by reading them.

    J.

  48. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Oh, look, Jay Tea’s lying again. Of course the unions had agreed to huge financial give backs, but Walker didn’t care about making a deal. He wanted to destroy unions in Wisconsin, and that’s what his bill was intended to do.

    By the way, since your miniscule contribiution allows you to set teacher salaries and benefits, I assume that my own tax payments give me the right to control the United States Military. That’s why we’re pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan today.

  49. Wayne says:

    Keep up the good fight jay tea. I should be back next week to give the lib another target to shoot at

  50. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Oh, look, Warped Reasoning is firing up the Stargate and slipping into his own reality again.

    The unions offered SOME concessions, but not on the most egregious ones — like the aforementioned health insurance scam you refuse to acknowledge, but won’t go away no matter how courageously you pretend it didn’t exist.

    And it’s astonishing how much of a simple-minded absolutist you are. I said I have the right to push for how my tax payments are used, and you immediately morph that into “Jay Tea demands that he have absolute veto power over everything!!!! He’s a Tea Party Taliban Creationist Theocrat!!!11!!111!!!!”

    Dumbass, you have exactly the same right. You want us to run out of Afghanistan and Iraq (and, I presume, stop bombing Libya, but like the insurance sweetheart scam, you don’t wanna talk about that, either)? Do exactly what I can do — yell at your elected representatives.

    Which is precisely what happened in Wisconsin, and no matter how many millions of union dues the unions spend, no matter how many thugs they pay to ship in to the capitol, the elected representatives are still doing what they promised to do.

    And man, do you hate that, don’t you?

    “My” side won in 2010, and the folks “we” elected — who thoroughly kicked “your” people’s asses last November — are doing what they promised.

    Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up. (Bonus points to anyone 1) still reading this and B) recognizes the movie that’s lifted from.) And keep telling yourself that it’ll all be better in 2012.

    J.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    And man, do you hate that, don’t you?

    Hmm…that is very similar to the reaction of Barack Hussein Obama becoming the President of the United States and still remaining in that position…can you imagine the Haterade that will shoot through the roof if he wins a second term…lick it up, indeed…oh well, he could always be impeached for something or other…

  52. Jay Tea says:

    @An Interested Party: oh well, he could always be impeached for something or other…

    Something like ordering legal gun dealers to supply weapons to the Mexican drug cartels… or the gross politicizing or the Justice Department’s Voting Rights division… or the UnWar in Libya… or the boning over of Boeing and their South Carolina expansion plans at the behest of the unions…

    But, of course, impeachment is a purely political process, and if the impeaching side can’t muster the votes, it’s all a huge waste of time and — as in the Clinton case, where he clearly did lie under oath — ends up giving the president a bit of a “sympathy” bounce.

    But yeah, Interested, there are certainly grounds…

    J.

  53. An Interested Party says:

    @Jay Tea: Write your congresscritters and see how far you can get with all those charges…good luck with all of that…

  54. Jay Tea says:

    @An Interested Party: Well, one of Senators is a former state attorney general who took on two capitol punishment cases while pregnant, so I don’t question her toughness. But impeachment has to start in the House, and my Representative… he’s a decent egg, but as I noted, pragmatically speaking it ain’t gonna happen. And while I am generally happy when Congress wastes its time instead of mucking things up, this would only help Obama.

    But please, go ahead, tell me how the scandals I laid out aren’t such big deals. Tell me how wonderful Operation Fast And Furious was. Tell me why Boeing was breaking the law by trying to build a new plant in South Carolina and not cutting a single job in Washington. Your defense so far seems to be “he won’t get impeached over them,” and quite frankly that’s a pretty shabby defense.

    J.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    @Jay Tea: I am not defending anything, as my writing about impeachment and giving you advice about writing to your elected officials were both meant as sarcasm because we both know that impeachment won’t be happening…

  56. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, I get it. You brought up impeachment as a way to mock me, and weren’t prepared for me to both 1) cite several legitimate charges for at least serious investigation and B) acknowledge that impeachment was a political impossibility. Now you are saying you wish you hadn’t brought it up.

    OK, works for me.

    J.

  57. An Interested Party says:

    @Jay Tea: Pardon me for interrupting your delusional state, but what you “get” isn’t reality at all…of course I was already aware that you knew that impeachment is an impossibility…I was mocking you in the same way you were mocking WR…just as you took delight in telling WR that there is nothing he can do about what is going on in Wisconsin, there is nothing you can do about our current President and all the “crimes” he has committed…lick it up, darling…

  58. Jay Tea says:

    @An Interested Party: First up, you REALLY need to see “Heathers.”

    Next, I know that there’s no way in Hell Obama’s getting impeached, despite their being impeachment-level scandals. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be investigations and going after some of the lower-level idiots and swine who went along with the scandals. SOMEONE needs to do some serious jail time over Fast and Furious. The Boeing-South Carolina mess is pure cronyism and political payback. I defy ANY Obama supporter to spin those into anything less than reprehensible.

    And note I didn’t bring up impeachment, I merely said “Challenge Accepted.”

    J.

  59. An Interested Party says:

    First up, you REALLY need to see “Heathers.”

    It makes sense that Heathers would be familiar to you…

    But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be investigations and going after some of the lower-level idiots and swine who went along with the scandals.

    So what’s stopping Darrell Issa from conducting those investigations…

  60. Jay Tea says:

    @An Interested Party: A couple are going on right now. Subpoenas are being issued, and there are several Contempt of Congress charges in the works for Eric Holder’s Justice Department…

    Here, wanna share my popcorn?

    J.

  61. An Interested Party says:

    Here, wanna share my popcorn?

    Oh absolutely…sadly for you, the climax won’t be what you are hoping for…