Bloggers come up with a few nicknames for the procedure used by Wisconsin Republicans to vote separately on the collective bargaining portion of the spending bill:
“The nuclear option” – Hot Air’s Allahpundit
“The Cee Lo Green option” – NRO’s Jim Geraghty (via a reader)
Bloggers on both sides of the Wisconsin budget issue seemed to agree that Republicans would have been politically better off trying this tactic when the standoff first started.
Liberal blog Balloon Juice’s christian mistermix:
If the Wisconsin Republicans’ plan was to jam through the defeat of collective bargaining with a sketchy parliamentary move, they should have done it the minute that Democrats vacated the state. If that had happened, the howls would have been loud but fairly short-lived, since it’s easier to energize people when they’re trying to prevent something from happening, rather than complaining after the fact.
Instead, we have today’s trainwreck. Walker got his number one item, but he paid a huge price. He’s almost certainly a one-term governor. There’s a dissenting Republican in the Senate, and presumably we’ll hear more from him. If there’s a general strike, the union’s side of the case is now clearly outlined in the public mind. If the unions don’t strike, they look like paragons of restraint. And what about the recalls? No matter the outcome, they’ll occupy the press and public attention for the next few months.
Conservative NRO’s William Voegeli:
Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans have been audacious, but not conspicuously nimble… The work-around of passing the non-spending parts of the bill in a separate piece of legislation, one not requiring a super-majority quorum, could have been effected many days ago, without giving the pro-union zealots weeks of free publicity.
Allahpundit at the conservative HotAir recognized the political danger of passing a bill this way, but alluded to the last time procedural gymnastics were used to pass a bill: the Democratic push to pass the health care reform bill.
There may be a backlash to doing it this way, but the backlash is already in effect via the recall campaigns the left is mounting against them. Like Ace says, probably the best thing they can do for themselves politically at this point is pass the damned thing, get it off the table, and let people cool down as it fades from the media cycle.
Exit question: Don’t you hate it when irregular procedures are used to destroy a de facto filibuster of an unpopular bill?
But liberal blogger Steve Benen at Washington Monthly said there was irony in Republicans using similar maneuvers that they complained about during the health care fight (even though both sides frequently employ such tactics). He added that in the case of Wisconsin, protestors aren’t as upset about the procedure as they are about what’s in the bill.
About a year ago, in the midst of a bitter fight over health care reform, one of the top areas of concern among Republicans was about procedure. They cared about the pending legislation, but they really cared about the process.
And so we were bombarded with complaints about discussions "behind closed doors" and "secret deals." GOP lawmakers who'd relied many times on the same legislative maneuvers were suddenly disgusted with reconciliation, deem and pass, self-executing rules, and the like. Legislation that passed through entirely legitimate means was condemned for having been "rammed through."
It's curious, then, to consider Republican satisfaction with what occurred in Madison last night.
To be sure, though, the point of the Democratic outrage in Wisconsin is over the substance, not the process. If there's hypocrisy on display here, it's not bipartisan.