Shortly after 1:00 a.m. this morning the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Governor Walker’s middle-class punishing budget repair bill–essentially making Wisconsin 14 Democratic State Senators away from having virtually no collective bargaining rights for tens of thousands of public employees. The vote was done after nearly 60 hours of debate and with no warning to Democrats. In fact, Democrats still had 15 speakers left to talk about the bill. Only a handful of Democrats even voted on the measure before Republicans shut down voting. Here’ is the chaos that resulted:

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This was followed by calls of “Shame! Shame!” from Democrats as Republicans fled the Assembly floor avoiding any interaction with the media.  Peter Barca, a Democrat from Kenosha believes the vote may have been illegal and was quickly done as more and more Republicans began to waver on the bill.  Interestingly, four Republicans made up the 17 “no” votes their leaders allowed to occur.

Democrats tried without success to approach Governor Walker with compromise legislation that allowed union concessions while preserving collective bargaining–an alternative that actually left Wisconsin with more money than Governor Walker’s proposal.  But this measure was voted down by Republicans.  That’s right, a measure that would have ended all of the protests at the Capitol, provided the Governor with the concessions he asked for, protected the employees Scott Walker keeps threatening to lay off and left the state with MORE money was voted down by Republicans.

Why? It’s hard not to be cynical about this, but I can think of no other reason other than that the Republicans are so consumed by “winning,” or helping Governor Walker “win” by passing his measure without changes, that they are willing to allow the lay off of hundreds of  hard-working people.

Even more troubling, the Republican-controlled State Senate today pushed the budget repair bill past the amendable stage.  This means that the bill Governor Walker proposed will pass without changes or it won’t pass at all. Wisconsin Republicans have consistently criticized the 14 Democratic Senators who are hiding in Illinois as “not doing their jobs” by not voting on the bill. But the Republicans have made it clear they will not consider any of the Democrats ideas and they simply want them to rubber stamp a 144-page bill that Governor Walker has admitted will change the course of Wisconsin history.

Republicans aren’t listening to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have voiced concerns about the “repair bill” either in person at the Capitol or through letters and phone calls. Republicans aren’t listening to the minority party, which still represents millions of Wisconsinites.  Republicans aren’t listening to recent editorials from across the state that have asked the Governor and legislators to fully debate and pass a version of the bill less restrictive towards collective bargaining and with fewer executive branch power-grabs. (Examples can be found here, here, here, here, here, here.) Republicans aren’t listening to their own members who have offered compromise solutions.  Republicans aren’t listening to the growing concerns about Governor Walker’s ethics and leadership ability. (Some examples from across Wisconsin are found here, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here.) Republicans aren’t listening because they are too busy “winning” at any cost–even if that cost is irreparable damage to the people and the state they’ve vowed to serve.