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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Good Read: Softball Politics

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Christian Schneider notes that the passionately predicted apocalypse failed to materialize this week. But there was at least one example of petulant partisan classlessness: Dems refused to show up for the annual leggie vs. staffer softball game.

June 29 was the day that Wisconsin was to be no more. The streets were going to be deluged with sewage. Children would begin pouring bleach into their cereal, as they would cease to learn otherwise in school. The state would devolve into a fiery Mad Max–style wasteland, where people feast on squirrels and barter their pelts. For it was the day that Governor Scott Walker’s plan to scale back public union collective bargaining took effect.

Yet there was no apocalypse on display at Madison’s Henry Vilas Park on Wednesday night, as the Republican members of the Wisconsin assembly gathered for the annual staff-versus-legislator softball game. Warm weather, sun, and high skies greeted the staffers and legislators as they sought to escape the tumult of the marble capitol walls. Since the collective-bargaining bill was introduced in February, this group has endured intense pressure — screaming, profanity, death threats, endless drums, property damage, picketing at their homes — and they appeared ready to exorcise those ghosts with some alcohol-soaked recreation.

In a sign of Wisconsin’s fractured state of affairs, it was the first year in memory that Democrats declined to play in the game. In previous years, it was a chance for legislators and staff to engage in some bipartisan socializing. But no more.

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