By Andrew Cline
After Democratic state senators fled the state to block a fair vote, and after union members took over the capitol building, and after Republican senators received death threats, Wisconsin state Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, labeled Republican passage of a bill to reduce public employee collective bargaining power "political thuggery in its worst form."
And the left wonders why so much of America doesn't take it seriously.
At 9:18 Wednesday night, an e-mail was sent to Republican state senators in Wisconsin. Its first paragraph reads:
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes [sic] will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.
Republican senators reported receiving harassing and threatening phone calls, being physically bumped around at the state capitol, and having their cars struck by protesters. Yet here is how Sen. Jauch described the protests:
I have deeply respected the mature, responsible and thoughtful manner in which hundreds of thousands of citizens have politely exercised free speech in protesting Governor Walker's proposal to end 52 years of collective bargaining.
Unfortunately for Sen. Jauch, more than three-fourths of Americans have Internet access, and, therefore, the ability to see for themselves whether the protesters and Democratic senators were being mature, responsible and thoughtful.
They can decide whether Jauch was more correct than Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who said: "This has been all about intimidating, be it the death threats, the screaming in the face, the late night phone calls or the recalls, this has been all about trying to intimidate Republican legislators into bowing to the public unions, and it has only steeled our resolve."
Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said Republicans had denied Wisconsin citizens a "voice." OK, just so we have this straight, fleeing the state to strip the majority of the duly elected Senate of a quorum, shutting down the capitol building, and intimidating the majority with phone and e-mail threats is OK, but passing a bill by majority vote after getting the OK of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau is silencing the people?
Speaking of denying the people their voice, former Democratic Congressman David Obey is trying to have Gov. Scott Walker recalled. That's not legal under Wisconsin law. Only politicians in office for at least a year can be recalled, and Walker has been in office for eight weeks. But Obey says he should be recalled anyway, ABC News reports, because he's "abusive."
Obey isn't alone. Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca made an effort to have Speaker Joe Fitzgerald removed from office, yelling on the Assembly floor, "your speaker is impaired."
Wisconsin Democrats are trying to recall every Republican senator who has been in office for at least a year. Republicans are trying to recall eight Democrats who fled the state to avoid voting on the union compensation and bargaining bill. Democrats want to recall the Republicans "because they support Walker's anti-union bill," according to ABC News.
But it's the Republicans who are trying to silence the people?
Gov. Scott Walker won election last fall with 52 percent of the vote. The state Senate went from 18-15 Democrat to 19-14 Republican. The Assembly went from 50-45 Democrat (with two independents) to 60-38 Republican (with one independent). Sen. Russ Feingold lost the seat he'd held for 18 years, and the House seat Obey held for 41 years went Republican.
It was a Republican electoral victory of historic proportions. And the Democrats and public-sector labor unions are trying to undo it by shutting down the legislature, intimidating the majority, and removing fairly elected politicians simply because they disagree with them. In Wisconsin, it's not the Republicans who are subverting the will of the people.