While the Wisconsin melee has subsided, the standoff in Indiana continues. Democrats remain holed up in Illinois, refusing to do the job they were elected to because they are in the minority. Without question, it's one of the most juvenile and anti-democratic actions seen by elected lawmakers in decades.
And there are consequences:
The Indiana legislative session is scheduled to end April 29, but the Democrats' actions, even if they return in time to let the state legislature pass a budget, could still force unnecessary costs on the state by requiring that a special session be convened after the regular session. Another threat is a government shutdown, which will occur if a budget is not passed by June 30.
Unfortunately for the taxpayers and those that rely on the continued operation of the government, Republicans in Indiana are not given the wiggle room to work without the minority that the Republicans in Wisconsin had.
"We can't do the Madison shuffle that Wisconsin legislators were able to accomplish," Bosma notes, referring to how Badger State Republicans were able to pass a collective-bargaining-limits measure while Democrats were still out of the state, thanks to the fact that non-fiscal legislation in Wisconsin requires fewer members present.
Bosma says the Republicans have offered some compromises, but Democrats haven't shown any interest yet. "They seem to be something of a moving target," Bosma remarks. "Every time I develop some optimism that we've reached a near conclusion, the goalposts move significantly. My phone is on, and I've had a number of discussions with the Democrat leader."
"We've offered a number of concessions on substitutive matters on issues of concern to the Democrats. What we have not agreed to do is to meet their demand to remove issues" ? including collective-bargaining and education reforms, he says ? "for the remainder of the legislative session in both chambers, which is their continued demand, that these issues just go away, really nullifying the election results of November 2."
And that's just it. The precedent being set here is that whatever party loses election, they should just flee the state to prevent the winners from passing any legislation. Obviously, that grinds the operation of government to a halt and could never be interpreted as statesmanship.
Our republican forms of government rely on the time honored principle of majority rule with minority rights. In this case, the Democrats are attempting to destroy that principle, and as such they represent a threat to our democratic processes. That will eventually dawn on the people of Indiana, and Democrats will have done immense damage to their image. It may be happening already:
"Right now, Democrats are trying to figure out a way to come home in a way that isn't a total loss and allows them to save face. Politically, it's starting to break badly for them. Major newspapers are coming out against them," he says, also noting that Democrats' absence from their districts has meant they haven't had a chance to explain directly to their constituents why they're acting this way.
Maybe that's because they don't have any decent explanation for this unprecedented juvenile behavior that is the playground equivalent to taking their ball and going home. The big problem is that the ball belongs to the taxpayers.