All week, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and national Republicans have been attacking Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators for leaving the state in order to block passage of Walker’s union-busting bill. Walker has sent the state police after the lawmakers, and today even said the senators may be committing “an ethics code violation” or even “a felony.” There is also an effort to repeal the decamped Wisconsin senators. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers in Indiana have fled their state to stop a different union-busting measure there.
As ThinkProgress noted, this tactic has a long history in American politics — Republican Abraham Lincoln even once jumped out a window while employing it. But the departed Democrats of Wisconsin and Indiana have more contemporary GOP defenders — two of Walker’s closest allies. Yesterday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) defended his state’s vanished senators, saying their fleeing is “perfectly legitimate“:
Daniels, a Republican, said earlier Tuesday he supported the Democrats’ right to deny Republicans a quorum to do business and the rights of labor unions to protest at the Statehouse.
“The activities of today are perfectly legitimate part of the process,” he said. “Even the smallest minority, and that’s what we’ve heard from in the last couple days, has every right to express the strength of its views and I salute those who did.”
Today, appearing on conservative radio host Laura Igraham’s show, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — who has been one of Walker’s most reliable defenders and whom Walker says he talks to “everyday” — refused to condmen the senators’ actions or Daniels’ comments, saying to a displeased Ingraham, “If you were there, you might end up walking out the chamber too!”:
KASICH: Well Laura, let me tell you this. You know, I could have seen a day in Washington when I was down there as a Congressman when the Democrats were using a dictatorial rule, where we would just got up to walk out of the chamber okay? Let’s be fair. If you were there, you might end up walking out the chamber too! It’s just a tactic. They’ll end up coming back.