You’ve sort of got to admire the gritty determination of the Wisconsin GOP. I think when the Democrats first fled the state, the CW in DC was that the public would side with Governor Walker and they’d be forced to cave soon enough. Then when it turned out that the public was actually sided with the unions and the Democrats, the CW quickly became that there would have to be some kind of compromise. But of course there never had to be a compromise . . . the Republicans always had the option of just fiddling with procedure, ramming something through, and hoping they survive the ensuing recall drives. That just didn’t seem to most folks like the kind of thing politicians would do. But they did!
Not to draw an equivalence between a bad bill and a good one, but what it reminds me of is congressional Democrats after Scott Brown’s election. The early CW was that somehow Democrats “had to” back down in the face of their unpopularity. But they didn’t have to do anything. They believed as strongly in universal health care as the Wisconsin GOP believes in crushing labor unions. So they passed the damn bill.