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what's the matter with wisconsin?

Runaway Wisconsin Legislators Returning Home at Some Point

A Wall Street Journal report on Sunday indicated that the Democratic Wisconsin state senators who fled the state almost a month ago have decided to throw in the towel. According to the story, the Democrats have said they "planned to come back from exile soon, betting that even though their return will allow the bill to pass, the curbs are so unpopular they'll taint the state's Republican governor and legislators." Indeed, as poll after poll shows voter opposition to the legislation, an effort is underway to recall eight Republican state senators from office (as a counter-effort targets eight of the runaway Democrats).

But the Journal may have jumped the gun a bit. The Times reports only that the Wisconsin Democrats are planning on returning home "at some point in the future." Obviously?


Senator Fred Risser, one of 14 Democrats who left Wisconsin last month to prevent the Republican-dominated Senate from approving the collective bargaining measure, said it now seemed conceivable that he and his fellow Democrats would return to Wisconsin, at some point in the future, without a negotiated compromise.

“We have always said we would go back eventually,” Mr. Risser said, adding that the Democrats had yet to make any decision about when to go back to Madison, a move that would open the way for a vote on the proposal by Mr. Walker, a Republican elected in November.

Meanwhile, a statement released by one of the Democrats goes even further. "Unfortunately," it reads, "the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won't come back until worker's [sic] rights are preserved."

Despite the tough talk, the reality that seems to be setting in is that even if Governor Scott Walker doesn't take his assault on collective bargaining rights off the table, the Democrats can't stay away forever. They need their paychecks, they need sex, and one of them needs to give birth, and like hell she's doing it in Illinois.

Democrats to End Union Standoff [WSJ]
Talks to Resolve Wisconsin Battle Falter [NYT]
Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return [TPM]

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Photo: Mark Hirsch/Getty Images