Democrats may have lost the battle to retake the Wisconsin Senate Tuesday, but they’re still fighting the war: against Gov. Scott Walker.
Despite the chest thumping on Fox “News” over Democrats falling one seat short of their goal, Democrats were unbowed Wednesday, vowing to press ahead with the recall effort against Walker, who could be forced to run for his seat in 2012 if Democrats are able to gather the 500,000 signatures.
If Walker isn’t concerned about this — if indeed the results Tuesday night showed that Republicans are sitting pretty in Wisconsin, you wouldn’t know it based on Walker’s own statements Wednesday, which made it clear he understands that something significant has changed. From JSOnline:
Madison – Gov. Scott Walker called Wednesday for mending the jagged edges of a deeply divided state, pledging a renewed focus on bipartisanship and jobs in the wake of Senate recall elections even as he dismissed Democrats’ talk of recalling him in 2012.
Walker said the results of the Senate recalls, in which his party held that house but lost two senators, vindicated his focus on jobs and the state budget but also showed that voters want their leaders to work more cooperatively.
Upbeat following a late election night in which he telephoned winners from both parties, the Republican governor said he would push forward on priorities like education reform and a bill to spur venture capital investing despite calls Wednesday by Democrats to make him the first Wisconsin governor to be recalled next year.
Voters “want us to do more working together,” he said Wednesday in an interview in his Capitol office. “I’m not pretending that everything is going to automatically be perfect at the snap of a finger, but I think the best thing we can do is start with small things and keep working.”
Working together … hm… that’s certainly a different message from the one Walker had for his opponents back when he was racing headlong to strip union workers of collective bargaining rights, and threatening to sick the police on 14 Democrats who fled the state to try and stop him.
Here was Walker back in February:
In a show of defiance, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today pledged he would not compromise on the union-busting bill which has provoked days of public protest.
He spoke as hundreds of anti-bill protesters took refuge from the snow and freezing rain inside the State Capitol, Madison, on the sixth successive day of demonstrations against plans to reduce the bargaining power of the unions.
Yesterday around 68,000 people descended on the statehouse in the biggest rally yet, including around 5,000 supporters of the bill who were led by Tea Party activists in the first counter-protest.
Mr Walker told Fox News Sunday this morning: ‘We’re willing to take this as long as it takes because in the end we’re doing the right thing.’
He predicted the state would lead the way in weakening the unions, which he says is necessary if cuts are to be implemented over the coming years.
And he said the 14 state Democratic senators who fled the state to block the bill have ‘failed to do their jobs.’
The Republican governor said: ‘If you want to participate in democracy, you’ve got to be in the arena, and the arena is right here in Madison, Wisconsin.’
Back then, Walker was threatening to lay off 12,000 state workers if he didn’t get his way. And he hinted that maybe some thuggish types should wade into the protest crowds to shake things up.
But yeah, bipartisanship. That.