Scott Walker is boxed in. He missed his chance to claim victory when public employee unions agreed to his health care and pension concessions, essentially agreeing to a 7% pay cut. But Walker wanted it all. He wanted the destruction of public unions by eliminating collective bargaining. Nothing less would do.
We know what happened next (though if you want an excellent explainer of how it all transpired, Andy Kroll has you covered). The outcome will either be decided by Senate Democrats, or Senate Republicans. Walker will not move. But it appears his colleagues on the GOP side in the Senate may. Stephen Moore sent out an alarm call today:
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. Conservative groups have initiated recalls against five of the missing 14 Democratic senators.
That’s not all. A local station in LaCrosse has this:
NBC News reports four moderate Republicans are wavering and could break with the GOP and vote against walker’s budget repair bill. Democrats only need three republicans to join them in voting “no” to give them a simple 17 to 16 majority… In a statement, Democratic Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma says that Senate Democrats offered to vote on the bill if only fiscal matters were considered.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Wisconsin can deliver a great contribution to the nation’s rumor stockpiles. So you have to take virtually everything with a grain of salt. But Republicans are in a tough spot. Scott Walker and this legislation have become poison in the state, and every day the Democrats stay out of Wisconsin, they have to endure more and more of that poison. I’m sure they don’t want the spotlight any longer. And now there are recall efforts to contend with as well.
Lots of the Republicans in the State Senate come from moderate districts. I could easily see them break from the Governor on this issue. They’re probably just waiting for more than one to jump.