starting to second guess their loyalty to Scott Walker's plan of fiscal and social suicide. And who can blame them?
For the past three weeks, day in and day out, through all kinds of weather, hundreds of thousands of people have come to the Capitol to peacefully, but loudly and firmly, express their opposition. If they were unable to make it to Madison, they held demonstrations in their hometowns.
And despite my sometimes over the top rhetoric, I cannot believe that all Republicans are as myopic or as ideological and illogical as Scott Walker. Some of them must being feeling a lot of self-doubt regarding the extremeness of the bill and know how many people will be hurt if it is allowed to be passed.
Senator Dale Schultz is a prime example. He even described Walker's union-busting measures to be an overreach. He also offered a compromise, only to be bullied back into the herd by his fellow Republicans. They are probably very aware and afraid that if one of them breaks off from the collective, more will readily follow.
After the Wisconsin 14 took off, it gave the people a chance to see what Walker's bill actually contained. It wasn't just concessions he was looking for, but taking away people's rights. Private sector unions saw the writing on the wall and joined in as they knew they would be next. Same for the police unions and the firefighter unions.
It gets hard to tell a cop or a firefighter, people who risk their very lives in their jobs, that they are greedy bastards. When you start calling nurses, librarians, teachers and, yes, social workers, thugs and slobs, you just start looking ridiculous.
People also noticed that this was not just about the unions either. It included attacks on the poor, the disabled and the elderly as well. It was also laden with unintended consequences, such as the loss of millions of dollars for federal funding for mass transit. People also picked up on the power grab, including selling of valuable state assets in no bid contracts.
Things have gotten to the point that not even WPRI could spin things Walker's way in a poll they recently took. This is the third straight poll that shows this, and probably the most significant. The first poll was done by a left-leaning organization and could be easily dismissed as such. Rasmussen, which leans so far right as to almost fall over, came up with even less favorable numbers for Walker.
But WPRI is funded, in part, by the Bradley Foundation. The head of this group, Michael Grebe, was also Walker's campaign chair as well as part of Walker's transition team. Indubitably, he probably still has his fingers in current events as well. So when Grebe's front group can't spin things even remotely to Walker's favor, you know that spells big time trouble.
And when the Koch-funded AFP can't even muster enough people for a high school pep rally, well that's another nail in that coffin.
Now if this show of popular opinion wasn't enough to break the Republicans, Walker himself cranks up the heat by offering up irresponsible rhetoric of wanting to lay off 1,500 people, even though nearly three times that number has already retired or are heading that direction with all due haste. In this economy, putting that many people onto unto the unemployment dole is not going to add to their popularity.
Finally, the people of Wisconsin, horrified by not only this atrocity of a bill, but by the fact that their elected representatives have chosen to ignore them, have started a historical recall effort against the recall-eligible Republican senators, with Alberta Darling and Dan Kapanke being the most at risk.
With all this pressure from the public, their jobs on the line, and the innate goodness in at least some of the Republicans, it isn't any wonder that some of the Republican Senators are having second thoughts at all.
What is a wonder is that Walker is such an ideologue that even he can't see things for the way they are.