My column in the Journal Sentinel on the flight of the Senators is here. I filed the piece before Sen. Tim Cullen's op-ed in Sunday's paper. He leaves me unmoved. Sen. Cullen suggests that he had some constitutional right to "slow down" consideration of the budget repair bill but, if he does, it isn't to be found in the constitution's quorum requirements. As he himself notes, those requirements seem to have been designed to ensure that a rump of the legislature would not act before all of the members could arrive. It was intended, in other words, to ensure that all - or at least a sufficient number - of members could participate. That it was not intended to permit a minority to paralyze the legislature by staying away is conclusively established by the grant to the legislature of the power to compel members to attend.
Nor were the Democrats seeking merely to "slow down" consideration of the bill. That would have been accomplished by staying away for a few days or a week. It would not involve threatening to stay away until the bill had been changed to the Democrat's liking. That's not "slowing down," it's obstruction.
It doesn't surprise me that Senator Cullen can't defend what was done. My guess is that, while he certainly opposes the budget repair bill, he never wanted to skip town and went along only to avoid becoming a pariah in his own caucus.