Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The New Democratic Strategy

Every time a Republican state legislature threatens to pass legislation stripping public sector unions of their right to negotiate, they flee the state, thereby depriving the Republicans of quorum.

First in Wisconsin, now in Indiana.

It looks like they're taking a page out of the play book of Monty Python's Sir Robin:
"Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away away.
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
As brave Sir Robin turned about,
And gallantly he chickened out,
Bravely taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!"

Frankly, only good things can come from this strategy. It makes them look like cowards, and likely galvanises public opinion against the unions.

But even if this doesn't happen and the legislation doesn't pass, every day that a legislature is deadlocked is one less day that value-destroying legislation can be passed. If I were the voters of Wisconsin, I'd call off the search for them and instead offer to put them up indefinitely in a swanky hotel in Illinois - it's got to be cheaper than the alternative.


  1. Would you call Republican U.S. senators cowards for filibustering at historic levels?

  2. Ultimately, I think that filibusters in all forms (including fleeing the state) are just political decisions, and not really about courage. The party out of power always defends them as a sacred rule to be respected, right up until they take power, then they're a gross infringement on democracy. Both parties do this.

    So there's not anything actually that cowardly about the Democrats' current maneuver. My point (which I didn't express well, as I was mainly interested in the Sir Robin gag), was that it looks fairly pissweak to the average man in the street when you're fleeing the state rather than turning up for a vote. In fact, I think a large part of the current filibuster system is designed to let politicians achieve exactly the same end without having to look ridiculous, because they know that sooner or later they'll have to do it themselves. Otherwise, the result is the hilarity we see in Wisconsin and Indiana.