A Pyrrhic victory in Wisconsin

A PYRRHIC VICTORY IN WISCONSIN…. Over the course of 24 hours, the first phase of an intense dispute in Wisconsin appeared to come to an end. Wednesday night, Republicans in the state Senate managed to pass a union-busting bill without a quorum, and the state Assembly did the same yesterday afternoon. The measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker (R), who intends to sign it “as soon as possible.”

Unions and their Democratic allies are obviously outraged, but they’re keenly aware of a silver lining — this week’s developments are more the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. Indeed, from a political perspective, Walker’s crusade may very well prove to be a classic example of a Pyrrhic victory.

Democratic-leaning voters appeared energized by the battle over collective bargaining on a national stage. The fight has already spurred a list of potential recall elections for state lawmakers this spring. Protesters are planning more large demonstrations this weekend.

“From a policy perspective, this is terrible,” said Mike Tate, the leader of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“But from a political perspective, he could not have handed us a bigger gift,” Mr. Tate said of the governor.

In the last 24 hours, he added, the state party had received $360,000 in contributions and volunteers have streamed into offices where signatures were being collected for recall bids.

And with due respect to the state party, the $360,000 in contributions pales in comparison to the nearly $2 million raised by progressive organizations very quickly, all of which will be invested in an aggressive pro-worker campaign in the Badger State.

When Markos Moulitsas noted yesterday that Scott Walker “is the best thing to happen to Dem activism since George W. Bush,” he wasn’t kidding.