This morning, I woke up to a headline in the Wall Street Journal that read, "Democrats to End Union Standoff." I was a little disappointed -- until I read the article. Turns out there was nothing in there that justified the headline. The whole thing seems to have stemmed from this sentence:
In a letter sent Monday, Mr. Miller asked Messrs. Walker and Fitzgerald for an in-person meeting somewhere near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.
That'd be state senate minority leader Mark Miller, Governor Walker, and senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald. That Democrats would look at current polling and think that they ought to strike while the iron is hot is hardly surprising. And the fact that Miller wants to meet near the border suggests that -- contrary to the sensationalist headline -- Miller doesn't plan on leaving Illinois.
In fact, it didn't take long for the Wisconsin 14 to clarify that no, they had no intention of giving up their self-imposed exile and giving Fitzgerald a quorum. "Sen. Miller's comments are taken out of context in the Wall Street Journal article just released," Sen. Chris Larson said in a statement. "Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans. Unfortunately, the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won't come back until worker's rights are preserved."
One thing that has given hope to the hopeless (i.e., Walker backers) is what they must see as a gem hidden in a pile of bad news. A recent Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll shows, that while Wisconsinites are against Walker on every other point, a slim majority disapprove of Democratic senators leaving the state. Wisconsin dems are worried, the wishful thinking goes, many will face recalls over this, and this polling has pushed them over the edge.
But the majority is so slim it can barely be called a majority. 51% disapprove of the Democrat's maneuver, while 47% approve. Add in the margin of error and there's as little as a half a point difference between the two numbers. Might as well call that a split. And the poll is the opinions of all Wisconsin, not just the voters in the Democrat's districts. The opinions of people in Green Bay of the actions of a senator from another area are irrelevant. I find it impossible to believe, for example, that most people in Madison would recall Fred Risser. It's just not going to happen.
It gives you an idea just how desperate the right is over this standoff that they'd make banner headlines out of magical thinking. Wisconsin's dispute has become the flagship for a growing Main Street movement countering the Republican Wall Street movement. So they're grasping at straws.