Republican Sen. who voted against collective bargaining bill now the most powerful man in the stateIt's understandable why some within the progressive movement may seem deflated today. Having failed to pick up three seats in the recall contests last night, the Democratic Party won't be able to take control of the state Senate, thus ensuring the Republican Party retains control.
But last night wasn't a defeat by any means. Two seats previously held by Republicans were won by Democrats -- that's two more seats that aren't in control of people who support Scott Walker. More importantly, that tips the scales of the Senate control from 19-14 to 17-16. Why is that important? Because Sen. Dale Schultz now becomes the most powerful man in that chamber.
Schultz, a moderate Republican, was the only one within that caucus that went against his own party, voting against the controversial collective bargaining bill. For that reason, Democrats sought to keep Schultz out of the recall pandemonium, agreeing that his district wouldn't be targeted while focusing their efforts elsewhere.
Schultz has also become rather chummy with Democratic moderate Tim Cullen, Senator from Janesville. The two could form a coalition with one another that would require the Senate to court both in order to pass any meaningful legislation.
It's not the shift from the right that Democrats would prefer -- but it IS a shift in the proper direction, from extreme-right to centrist policies. At the very least, it requires that legislative body, and what's more the entire government, to make compromises in order to make laws.