Did Walker win?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Did Walker Win? Wisconsin’s Senate has passed the union restrictions proposed by Gov. Walker, using a procedural maneuver that allowed a simple majority to approve the measure after the parts dealing with appropriations were stripped out.

1) One way to think of this is as “reverse reconciliation.” The latter allowed Democrats to pass Obama’s health care bill, despite the Senate’s normal supermajority (60 vote) antifilibuster requirement, because it was deemed a bill that affected the budget. In Wisconsin, Republicans passed their bill despite the normal three-fifths supermajority quorum requirement because it was deemed a bill that didn’t affect the budget. Different rules, same basic trick. Sauce. Goose. Gander.

2) It appears the Democrats had not accepted the concessions outlined by Walker in an email to some Dem senators (an email his office released). These were discussed below. They allowed collective bargaining over a broader range of issues, but kept the provision ending mandatory union dues checkoff, which is arguably the change unions fear the most. I doubt there was ever a route to a mutually acceptable compromise unless the dues-checkoff provision could itself have somehow been compromised; 

3) If Walker’s concessions had been accepted,  he still basically would have won (largely because of the dues provision). But the Dems could have returned to Madison claiming that their dramatic walkout had resulted in a non-trivial victory of sorts, and the press was poised to portray them as brave, victorious heroes. This outcome denies the Democrats that media triumph. No doubt the MSM will come up with another way to celebrate the Flight of the 14 as a Tunisia-like tide-turning. But it will take some creativity, and the public might not buy it;

4) That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Walker’s concessions were included in amendments passed down the road, especially if the polls continue to look bad for Republicans. Maybe there was even a secret handshake deal somewhere. …

For now, this looks like a victory for Walker. In the very long run, if it allows government to work more efficiently without, say, elaborate rules that often require the retention of the least productive workers (who, even if threatened with layoffs, then get to “bump” lower-seniority employees, who then bump other employees) the winner will be the party that most desperately wants the government to work. That’s the Democrats. .. I think. …  At least in theory. …