March 4th, 2011 at 06:49pm Pat Cunningham
The political backlash against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting strategy seems to be approaching critical mass.
For example, Stephen Moore, an editorialist for the Wall Street Journal and former president of the right-wing Club for Growth, is becoming increasingly concerned
Conservatives in Wisconsin are getting nervous that three Republican state senators may defect on the collective-bargaining reform vote. It’s still anyone’s guess as to when that vote will take place because Democrats remain in exile to prevent the necessary quorum. But Republicans in the Senate hold a 19-14 majority, so GOP Gov. Scott Walker can afford to lose no more than two Republican senators on this pivotal vote.
On Wednesday, Republicans held a “unity” press conference that was attended by all but one senator, Dale Schultz. But a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that 62% of respondents oppose curtailing collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers over health care, pensions or other benefits suggests that the GOP position may be losing some support among independent voters. Meanwhile, the unions have turned up the heat by launching recall efforts against at least five of the GOP senators.
And Greg Sargent of the Washington Post SAYS Walker’s threat to lay off state workers if Senate Democrats don’t cave might actually backfire on Republicans:
What if the layoffs will actually increase pressure on Republican Senators to reach a deal with Dems and labor?
I’m told that Wisconsin Dems are mapping out an aggressive plan to make that happen, if and when layoffs start happening — one designed to pin the blame for them direcly on Republican Senators.
“We don’t think Republicans want these layoffs to happen,” Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, told me this morning. “They’re going to eat this, and it’s dawning on them.”
Pressed on whether the layoffs would increase pressure on Dems to return, Zielinski said Dems strongly regretted the impact layoffs would have on communities, but rejected the idea that it force Dems to come back.
“The public is not going to blame us for these layoffs — when they’re on a totally arbitrary timetable and have nothing to do with the fiscal solvency of the state,” Zielinski said. He added that Dems would respond aggressively.