WASHINGTON -- In the nation's capital for their annual winter meeting, Democratic governors took advantage of the surrounding national press corps to tee off on Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and the anti-union measure he is pushing through his state.
Speaking shortly after a meeting with President Barack Obama, in which they insisted the topic of Wisconsin had not come up in any substantive detail, the Democratic governors backed both collective bargaining and inclusive governance.
"If you are a successful CEO of a company or of a state, the most important thing you can do is to build morale of the people who work for you," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.), citing his experience bargaining with Montana's public-employee unions, which agreed to forgo a salary increase two and a half years ago to avoid layoffs. "It is the people that work for you that make you successful, and when you do that to morale, you are cutting your own throat."
As for Walker's management style, "Every governor has to use his own model. But I don't know how this one ends in a good way," Schweitzer said. "How long do you think that CEO would keep his job and how successful do you think that business will be?"
Other governors offered similar sentiments, though with a little less bravado than the outspoken Montanan. Walker's push to effectively end collective-bargaining rights cuts against a fundamental plank of the Democratic platform and deals direct damage to one of the party's most reliable and powerful constituencies. And with poll numbers showing that the public, by and large, agrees with those protesting Walker's actions, there is little downside to Democrats speaking out.
Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.), whose state has become the fleeing ground for Democratic lawmakers hoping to hold up anti-union legislative activity in Wisconsin and Indiana, said he had no problem providing political asylum.
"Illinois is open for tourism all the time," he told The Huffington Post. "We have Wisconsin legislators and I think Indiana legislators, I really think that everybody knows it is important to have collective bargaining. It is the best way to resolve differences, and what's happening in Wisconsin, I don't think will spread anywhere."