Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Dems Walkout Proves Point
Today, the Indiana House Democratic caucus proved a point. They said to the power drunk Republicans that we can stop your legislative assault, and we will do it by any means necessary.
Normally, I am not a big fan of walkouts. I don't like them, and I typically believe that they are nothing but political stunts, but, if you talk to legislators behind the scenes, they will tell you what it's like to be a Democrat in this year's General Assembly session.
Recently, I talked to a high-ranking Democratic legislator, and this legislator told me that it's been a depressing session for Democrats. Republicans are not even listening to their counterparts on the other side. It's been a very very one-sided session, "I don't even know why we are there," the legislator said. "They don't ask us for anything. They just tell us what's going to happen."
That ended today over the so called "Right to Work" legislation. This legislation has caused union members and their supporters to march on the Statehouse, thousands strong, and has even prompted Mitch Daniels to tell his colleagues in the legislature to back off this polarizing legislative agenda. That in itself should tell you that these are the sorts of issues that should really be avoided in this session.
We have big things to accomplish, but the Republicans clearly will get nothing done without the Democrats in the chamber. It was a hardball step, but I think this was more about proving a point than about being a political stunt. When the Democrats come back, Republicans will know that the "nuclear option" of a walkout is something Dems will utilize if necessary.
In a greater sense, Democrats are saying that if you try to attack Indiana workers; that's going too far. Unfortunately, they didn't walk out on education reform discussions or on the polarizing gay marriage ban amendment vote, but I bet you now that Republicans will at least pay a little more attention to what Democrats have to say when they return to the House or it's going to be a long and pretty pointless session.
Brian Bosma, the next move is yours.