Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Well, The Budget Battle's Over

There's a movie called "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," that I think was made during one of Hollywood's better moments. In it, Roger Rabbit ends up getting accidentally handcuffed to detective, Eddie Valiant, and ends up having to go through all sorts of disasters because neither of them can free himself. (There are no keys for the cuffs, you see.) Finally, Eddie finds a secluded spot where he can hacksaw the cuffs off from them both, but the surface that he's cutting on keeps wobbling. Roger removes his hand from the cuffs and steadies the workbench.
"Does this help?" he asks.
"Thanks!" Eddies says at first. Then, realizing what just happened, he glares at Roger, who guiltily places his hand back inside the cuff again. "Do you mean to tell me that you could have removed your hand from there at any time?!" he bellows.
"Not at any time," Roger jabs. "Only when it was funny!"

That's analogous to what's just happened in Madison, where Senate Republicans have just broken the deadlock by stripping the budget repair bill of anything having to do with a budget, and voting only on stripping the collective bargaining. Because this new version of the bill has no budgetary measures, it didn't need a quorum to vote, and so passed 18-1. (Yes, one Republican voted against it.) The Democrats who fled will return to Madison tomorrow.
"You mean you could have freed yourself at ANY time?!"

Not at any time. Only when it was... Funny? Sad? Pathetic?

No, none of those. What happened was that Walker offered a compromise on collective bargaining, only to have Democrats refuse it -- not because the Dems were being stubborn, but because they trusted Walker about as far as they could throw... No, wait, that's the wrong phrase. They could probably throw his skinny ass some considerable distance. Bottom line is that they wanted guarantees that Walker wouldn't double-cross. Walker couldn't give that, and so the deal, a good compromise, was rejected.

Remember that blog post, and the one before that, and the one before that, where I condemned how polarized partisanship clouds judgment? Hmmmm?

Anyway, that, and realizing that a few Republican Senators were getting disgusted enough to potentially break ranks, he and his colleagues finally started thinking outside the box.

Divide and conquer.

The solution was so simple, and so obvious, that I'm left wondering why nobody in the entire fucking State thought of doing this before. I didn't, but then, I'm not a legislator. Were I one, or a lawyer, or even just a Republican, I daresay this would have crossed my mind immediately. Why wasn't it done on day one? Why in hell was all this trench warfare even necessary? With the whole nation's cameras on them every day, nobody sent a clever e-mail or picketed with a sign suggesting this? Seriously?

Then I remembered, partisan polarized thinking makes one blind to alternatives. It prevents not only people seeing the other side, it obstructs clear thinking in every way - so much so that one can't even see solutions for one's own side.

Thus, sandwiched in with the good items that will come about, such as an end to the residency rule and merit-based pay for teachers rather than seniority, will come a slash-to-the-bone gutting of inner city school funds and hundred-thousand dollar giveaways to religious schools who will indoctrinate many of their kids against evolution.

So much for quality education.

Let's prepare for rebuilding mode, everybody. At least when we rebuild, the residency rule and merit-based pay will be in place for Milwaukee Teachers, so that's a plus. One benefit of a fire is that you get to rebuild the building with a better design.

That doesn't excuse arson!

So Walker, having just removed his head from his ass, will get in front of the TV cameras and declare victory, scarcely realizing that his head still reeks of his own colon. He'll say something grand and inspiring, but all I will hear is "Sorry guys, but I was too stupid to realize that I had this trump card here up my sleeve THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME!"

May I suggest you wipe the shit from your nose, Scotty? We'll see you in less than a year's time for your recall.

Eric

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