The tantrum strategy
February 21, 2013
Every legislative session begins with talk of bipartisan cooperation and civility. Nowadays, the mirage lasts as long as it takes for people to start paying attention. At that point, anyone making the slightest pretense of objectivity must see Democrats everywhere—as a minority in the Wisconsin Legislature or running the U.S. Senate and White House—struggling frantically to make every issue be about anything except competing ideas. In the doghouse or in charge, today’s Democrats resemble children maneuvering to escape adult supervision.
Among recent examples:
The increasingly bizarre State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) suggested in a public hearing that the Walker administration committed federal felonies by requiring state employees to pay a share of their benefit costs.
Veteran lawmakers feign ignorance of legislative courtesies to create imaginary grievances. Making legislators co-authors of resolutions without asking is trumped up into an issue with sinister racial implications. See the accusation and the reply from a grown-up.
Outside the legislative chambers, people attending public hearings in the Capitol have noticed that “sing-along” protesters during the noon hour interfere with the conduct of lawful business. Now, a sometime member of the purposefully disruptive group is litigating state government’s authority to require permits for demonstrations in the Capitol building. By preserving the ability to converse in the Capitol—with moderate difficulty—the Walker administration crushes the First Amendment, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
As defined by the Left and the media, civility means Republicans shutting up and Democrats saying anything they want about Republican ill will. Things won’t get better unless Democrats find their numbers so small as to be irrelevant. Then, they may learn something. Don’t get your hopes up.