Far from appearing the least bit chastened or circumspect, the fleebaggers were self-congratulatory and defiant:
“I’m one of the Fabulous 14, and I’m so proud,” said Spencer Coggs, who was first elected to the State Legislature nearly three decades ago. “We are back to unite and fight with our supporters. We gave them hope. They gave us inspiration.”
"This is not the end. This is the beginning of phase two," said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison).
In a news conference earlier Saturday, the Democrats talked about their future plans. They have returned to a Capitol that has been transformed by a bitter political battle. They had been held in contempt by their Republican colleagues in the Senate while they were away.
"They won the battle; we're going to win the war," said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said the thousands rallying in Madison have another alternative to continue their opposition: recalls.
"A lot of the people shut out of the process in the last two weeks will be heard," Larson said. "They'll be trading in those rally signs for clipboards as the recall efforts heat up."
Those "recall efforts" may prove a double-edged sword for Wisconsin Democrats. Sure, eight Republican Senators are being targeted for recall -- but so are eight of the 14 runaway Democrats. The money quote of the weekend comes from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (you may remember him as the Republican whose family was forced to leave their own home when a pack of shrieking protesters descended on it):
“Today, the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin are going to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras,” he said. “They’re going to pretend they’re heroes for taking a three-week vacation.
“It is an absolute insult to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who are struggling to find a job, much less one they can run away from and go down to Illinois — with pay...To the Senate Democrats: when you smile for the cameras today and pretend you're heroes, I hope you look at that beautiful Capitol building you insulted. And I hope you're embarrassed to call yourselves senators."
Sorry, Senator. A prerequisite for embarrassment is the ability to feel shame.