There's a crucial distinction in politics between opposing legislation and voting against it. The four Republicans who casted their lots with the Democrats yesterday on the bill that stripped public workers of collective bargaining rights did the latter. That means, they voted nay, but they didn't really mean it.
Reps. Dean Kauffert (Neenah), Dick Spanbauer (Oshkosh), Travis Tranel (Platteville) and Lee Nerrison (Westby). Two from the Fox Valley, two from the Soutwest.
Throughout the process of debating the budget repair bill, there were numerous opportunities for these four to voice their distaste for the elimination of collective bargaining rights. They rarely took advantage of those opportunities.
For instance, the alternative budget repair the Democrats proposed, which removed language relating to collective bargaining. All four voted with the rest of the GOP caucus to kill it.
Or the numerous amendments offered to exempt various public employees from the collective bargaining changes. In those instances Republicans were united in favor of union-busting.
A former aide to Phil Garthwaite, the Democrat who one of the Republican, Travis Tranel, replaced, explains in a letter-to-the-editor.
It is important when looking at this bill to also look at the procedural and amendment votes. At any point during the debate, Tranel could have fought to protect the rights of hardworking folks at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Southwest Tech or the Boscobel Supermax. Instead, he voted the Walker line 90 out of 91 times. That is 98.9 percent of the time. Any single one of those votes could have slowed or stopped the bill.