The Wisconsin recall effort is only a day old, but it’s going strong. The state Democratic Party has launched a website called Recall the Republican 8 to coordinate events. They have volunteer and contribution pages. There’s also a separate ActBlue page set up for the recall. A separate effort to air a powerful TV ad from the PCCC and DFA, filmed on the day of the 100,000-plus protests last Saturday, has already raised over $225,000.
SEIU has been organizing on the recall as well, both on a special Web page and through offline efforts. Other unions have engaged in traditional organizing on this as well, going back to last week. According to SEIU, they have signed up over 3,000 people from Wisconsin who want to get involved in a recall effort in the past 24 hours. 1,300 have pledged to canvas, and nearly 2,000 have pledged to contribute money.
So far, State Senate Republicans have dismissed the effort. One of the Republican 8, Sen. Randy Hopper, who won his last election by only 184 votes, said, “There is no backing down.” But a poll from the most Republican-friendly pollster in America may have Senate Republicans rethinking that.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Wisconsin voters shows that just 39% favor weakening collective bargaining rights and 52% are opposed. At the same time, 44% support a 10% pay cut for all state workers. Thirty-eight percent (38%) are opposed. That’s partly because 27% of Wisconsin voters believe state workers are paid too much and 16% believe they are paid too little. Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the pay of state workers is about right [...]
Among those asked about the state budget deficit, 52% supported the Democrats and 44% supported the Governor. Most of those 50 and over support the Governor, 40-somethings are evenly divided, and those under 40 support the Democrats.
Among those asked about weakening collective bargaining rights, 56% supported the union and 41% supported the Governor. There is a similar age dynamic on this question, even though the overall level of support for the Governor is lower.
These are actually terrible numbers, especially coming from Rasmussen. Gov. Walker and the Republicans are losing this fight in the court of public opinion. And because the standoff in Wisconsin could take months, this could only get worse for them, as recall elections loom.
Republicans know they need a speedy end to this to have any chance of regaining the advantage. That’s why today they passed a resolution finding Democrats in contempt, which appears to be in violation of state law:
A resolution passed by all 19 Republicans authorizes that Senate Dems be taken into custody for being in contempt of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the GOP majority has been “overly reasonable” with the missing 14 Dems to this point, but “they have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis.” [...]
The resolution orders the Dems to appear in the Senate chambers no later than 4 p.m. today and remain there until the body is called to order.
If they fail to appear, the member will be guilty of contempt and disorderly behavior by the Senate, and the majority will order the sergeant at arms to “take any and all necessary steps, with or without force, and with or without the assistance of law enforcement officers, by warrant or other legal process, as he may deem necessary in order to bring that senator to the Senate chambers so that the Senate may convene with a quorum of no less than 20 senators.”
This is just not legal, regardless of whether Republicans got some John Yoo clone to write a memo authorizing it. The Wisconsin Constitution is explicit: it says that lawmakers can only be arrested while the Legislature is in session for “treason, felony and breach of peace,” and that lawmakers are similarly exempt from civil process.
The Republicans are engaging in b.s. strong-arming because they know it’s their only chance to finish off the assault on public employee rights before their asses get kicked to the curb.