I did not expect this as I strolled over to watch the Senate floor debate.
In a dramatic end to a bizarre series of events, Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker said he could not vote to approve state employee contracts because of the results of the election. "Elections have consequences," he explained.
Decker, along with Democrat Jeff Plale, who was defeated by a liberal opponent in the Democratic primary in September, joined all Republicans in voting against the first of 17 state employee contracts. The vote was a tie, 16-16, meaning it failed.
Ironically, it was the Buildings and Trades contract that Decker, a former carpenter and member of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman union, voted down. Decker referenced his experience negotiating contracts in his speech, saying it had taught him not to "stick the new employer in the eye."
The new "employer" was a clear reference to Scott Walker. However, what remains unclear is whether the employees will include Decker -- right after the vote Sen. Bob Jauch suggested that Decker was angling for a position in the Walker administration, a rumor that is also circulating about Plale.
As WisPolitics reports, Jauch did not mince words. "I've seen a lot of selfish things done in this legislature. But I've never seen anything quite this selfish," he said.
A simpler explanation for Decker and Plale's defections is that they simply hate Doyle. Plale, who Doyle worked not-so-subtly to defeat in his primary, has an obvious motive to seek revenge.
Decker, who is a good friend of Plale's and who also worked to derail Doyle's beloved Clean Energy Jobs Act, also has bitter feelings toward the governor. One source speculated that Decker may have been working in conjunction with former Sen. Chuck Chvala, whose wife is Decker's chief-of-staff, to stick it to Doyle. However, others who know Chvala deny it.
The Dems are now in caucus. I can only imagine what they're saying. Despite Jauch's tough talk, however, most of the Dems I saw looked composed and some even jovial. Sen. Judy Robson chuckled with a Republican senator as she walked off the floor; Kathleen Vinehout also seemed in good spirits. Perhaps they are simply masters of composure.