I disagree with Hightower.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

winning and losing in Wisconsin

Yesterday, Governor Walker signed into law the the bill that limits the ability of public employee labor unions in Wisconsin. The defeat of this measure was the objective for which the 14 Democratic State Senators fled the state and stayed away for several weeks. Alan Shields, liberal columnist, and others are now busy explaining how the unions won(sic) in Wisconsin.

It reminded me of the 1968 New Hampshire Democratic primary. Gene McCarthy (my guy) ran against Lyndon Johnson, a sitting president, and shocked many people by getting within 7 points of winning. This was viewed as a major upset and it was said by many that McCarthy had "won" the primary.

Johnson observed that the really nice thing about the New Hampshire primary was that anybody could run and everybody could win.

PS Johnson did later withdraw. But McCarthy did not get the nomination, which went to Lyndon's preferred replacement - Hubert Humphrey.

PPS Johnson withdrew with a very Shermanesque statement:
"I will not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president."

PPPS If Gov. Christie really wants to get rid of those questions about whether he will run, it is quite easy actually. Just mimic Sherman:
"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."


  1. I lost in Wisconsin!

    And it has nothing to do with the union issue at hand. It’s about the democratic process. I watched a group of elected officials simply walk out on the democratic process. The game was not going in their favor so they picked up their marbles and went home. The game of marbles belongs on a child’s playground. This type of behavior belongs nowhere.

    I freely admit to unashamedly believing in a Republic form of government and the democratic process imbedded in it. I also believe that most Americans share my enthusiasm for democracy. And that group (that believes in democracy) would include the WI Senators that walked out on the process, and the group of protesters that committed trespass and had to be forcibly removed. So how did I lose? Well, the respect that a group gets always comes from within the group. The group lost respect and as a member of that group so did I.

    The protestor chant I here on the news is “shame”. Really!

  2. Do you place the U S Senatorial filibuster in the same category?

  3. While a filibuster and fleeing to another State might have the same effect (in this case preventing a vote) 1 is within the rules and 1 is not. So the simple answer is no, I do not put them in the same category.

    As for the filibuster, I do find it somewhat onerous. The concept of unlimited debate sounds good in theory, but seems, to me, to be impractical in application. The cloture rule in the U.S. Senate provides a hint of moderation, but since it requires a 3/5th vote to break a filibuster (force cloture) that would be unlikely to happen on an issue where opinions are evenly divided.

    I have a tolerance for following rules I do not like. Conversely, I lack tolerance for not following rules.

  4. There is a rule in the Wisconsin case, too. It is the requirement of the presence of 60% for a quorum for some kinds of business. That is weaker than the US Senate filibuster rule which requires the permission of 60% to do any kind of business.