Department of Empty Threats

On the ongoing labor fight in Wisconsin, here’s Roger Bybee:

The opposition party has, likewise, tried to force the Democrats hand. Furious with Miller and the other Democrats, Republican state Senators have threatened to rapidly pass a number of bills to which the Democrats object — the quorum requirement of 20 applies only to budgetary matters — including the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation.

The GOP already has a majority in the Wisconsin State Senate by a margin of 17 to 14. In other words, it could pass these bills anytime it wanted to regardless of how irritated Wisconsin Republicans were at their Democratic counterparts. Yet we’re supposed to believe that we live in some alternate universe where the reason they don’t pass these bills anyway is that they value being cordial, rather than that they recognize the bills’ potential for lots of political blowback, or that the threat of passing them serves as a useful bargaining chip.

EDIT: I’m assuming that the GOP caucus is already relatively united here, that is, that at least 15 of the 17 GOP state senators are already inclined to vote to pass these bills. If they are more divided, that complicates things somewhat since it’s possible you’d see these crazy bills pass with 9 votes to 8 without the Democrats present, but they’d fail with 9 votes against 22 if the Democrats showed up.

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