In early 2010, after Sen. Scott Brown (R) won his special election in Massachusetts, Senate Democrats chose not to rush through a bunch of legislation before losing their supermajority. It would have been improper, they said, to “abuse” the political process this way.
Wisconsin Republicans don’t quite see things the same way. (thanks to VS for the tip)
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP leaders have launched a push to ram several years’ worth of conservative agenda items through the Legislature this spring before recall elections threaten to end the party’s control of state government.
Republicans, in a rapid sequence of votes over the next eight weeks, plan to legalize concealed weapons, deregulate the telephone industry, require voters to show photo identification at the polls, expand school vouchers and undo an early release for prisoners.
Lawmakers may also act again on Walker’s controversial plan stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. An earlier version, which led to massive protest demonstrations at the Capitol, has been left in limbo by legal challenges.
A state Republican lawmaker trying to force through a voter-ID law, which would make it harder for voters to participate in elections, conceded to the AP, “Everything’s been accelerated.”
This suggests GOP officials aren’t exactly confident in the outcomes of upcoming recall elections, but it also suggests a certain disdain for the legitimacy of the process. Conservatives in Madison want to make radical changes, and should act deliberately and carefully, but that takes time.
Afraid that voters might limit their opportunities, Republicans are instead working furiously to ram as much through as they can, as quickly as they can, regardless of merit, public support, or the procedural norms. The AP characterized it as “an almost frantic atmosphere in the Capitol.”
I seem to recall GOP officials decrying this sort of thing not too long ago.