. . . according to this Wall Street Journal article by Kris Maher and Amy Merrick posted this evening for publication in tomorrow’s print issue. Apparently the senators are currently negotiating the terms of their surrender (h/t Glenn Reynolds). An excerpt:
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.
* * *
[Minority leader Sen. Mark] Miller declined to say how soon the Democratic senators, who left for Illinois on Feb. 17, would return. He said the group needed to address several issues first—including the resolution Senate Republicans passed last week that holds the Democrats in contempt and orders police to detain them when they return to Wisconsin.
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Amid the public demonstrations and Democratic walk-out, the two sides have been negotiating. Mr. Fitzgerald said the governor is negotiating through two staff members with two Democrats, Sen. Bob Jauch and Sen. Tim Cullen. And last week, Mr. Fitzgerald met a week ago with Mr. Jauch and another Democrat in Kenosha.
Mr. Jauch said some people have suggested the lawmakers remain in Illinois for months while recall efforts of Republican senators proceed. He said that would be difficult for one senator who is seven months pregnant.
“I think we have to realize that there’s only so much we can do as a group to make a stand,” Mr. Jauch said. “It’s really up to the public to be engaged in carrying the torch on this issue.”
The article has already generated a large number of online comments, some quite pointed, for example:
Warren Hall: “I would like to see all 14 of them doing a “Perp Walk” into the Capitol Bldg.”
Carlos Sierra: “The Fourteen Feeble Fearful Fugitives, Wisconsin’s 4-F Troop of AWOL D’rat Senators, are announcing they won and are coming back for home cooking, pay checks and damage control.”
Joe Thompson: “Ordinary people who pulled a stunt like these Democrats would not have a job to return to.”
William Bair: “I gather this announcement confirms the democratic senators in Wisconsin have done about as good a job of managing their own finances as they did the state’s, and are now returning home because (a) they need their pay checks and (b) can no longer afford to be on the run.”
George Nicholas: “Reading between the lines the non-union proletariat interprets this WSJ article and quotes contained therein as follows: The Wisconsin Democrats flight from the State and abdication of their jobs as government officials has become such severe public relations nightmare for them (and Democrats nationally) that they must immediately return to Wisconsin with their tails between their legs and admit defeat.”
Octavio Lima: “So these two plus weeks were simply for demagoguery. No changes will be made and they got to vilify the governor and the Republicans. I hope voters remember these Democrats were simply playing politics.”
Carlos Sierra (again; about 10:15 p.m.): “Well the evening news on Channel 12 Milwaukee TV WISN just stated that this Wall Street Journal story is not accurate regarding the AWOL Senators intentions, which they stated the Senators themselves do not know. They have no exit plan they said. Rudderless losers unite!”
Update (3/7, 7:03 a.m.): Kevin Binversie‘s take: the senators “no doubt realize there’s no legislative avenue they could possibly win at. To the Democrats, the only place they believe winning is still possible, is politically; an option I concur is indeed possible.” He also notes that
State Senator Chris Larson’s already on Facebook discrediting the story, which is fine. He could be dead on say the WSJ is false and we’re in for an extended period of average Wisconsinites simply wanting the situation “Over” and their state out the news.
I hope he and his young wife are enjoying any conjugal visits they may be having in Illinois fleabag motels. No doubt the irony of that last line could be lost on him.
According to Sen. Larson’s Facebook post:
Sen. Miller’s comments are taken out of context in the Wall Street Journal article just released. Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans. Unfortunately, the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won’t come back until worker’s rights are preserved.