Modern Republicans often don't seem all that tuned into science (as for example in their fights against evolution and climate change), but the Wisconsin Republican Party appears to be keenly aware of Einsteinian space-time physics.


You've no doubt heard of Einstein's theories of relativity, which showed that space and time are connected, and which proved mathematically that the rate at which time flows is variable. Well, Gov. Walker clearly understands the concept. Follow along:


After the Doyle administration and a subset of the state's public employee unions spent months hammering out modest new two-year contracts, and sent them to the lame-duck legislature for approval, Gov.-Elect Walker (who at the time -- ahem! -- had no official power, only his tongue) demanded that the contracts be held in abeyance until he took office. That way, he said, he and the new legislature could "review" them. That review would require many days, or even weeks or months, he said, so the lame-duck legislature should not be hasty in acting.


See? Republicans understand the concept of variable time. The lame-duck legislature only received the bills approving those contracts after months of negotiation, and the significant points in the contracts -- including those covering wages and other compensation -- were easily understood. The information had already been analyzed and digested by all the appropriate state agencies, including the Office of State Employee Relations.


But there was a physics problem. In Walker's obviously relativistic thinking, there simply was not enough time for the outgoing legislature to consider these allegedly tendentious contracts. So the lame ducks, with two defecting Democrats, aceded to Walker's demand and killed the contracts. Didn't just delay them; killed them. Resetting negotiation time from many months right back to tau zero.


Next, Walker wrote state employees, praising them for their hard work, and union officials. saying he wanted to work with them. Shortly after that, Walker did a 180, saying the state would not bargain with unions going forward -- a violation of collective bargaining laws then and now. He canceled all active contracts and produced his legislative measure to unilaterally impose compensation cut-backs on state employees while defrocking the unions of essentially all their bargaining rights,


The reason for this, Gov. Einstein explained, was that Wisconsin was in a budget emergency and couldn't wait months to negotiate. He called on his allies in the new legislature to enact his draconian measures into law within a week. Which, in paradoxical Walker physics, was plenty of time to consider all the complex ramifications in his measure.


To sum up: Months of negotiations under a Democratic legislature and governor equaled insufficient time to consider the outcome. But, a few days of non-negotiation under a Republican legislature and governor equal all the time necessary for everyone to come to thoughtful, rational agreement.


You see, time really is fungible, if you're a Republican. It flows faster for Democrats, slower for the GOP. In the Walker-verse, time slows down even more when you're a Republican governor. You can speed around and do really thoughtful, amazing things in the time it takes others to wonder if they've been in a coma.


The physics are confusing and complicated, but the way it works for Gov. Einstein is like this: Everyone around you appears to freeze as you approach the speed of light-headed thinking. You therefore have almost infinite time to consider your own very sophisticated and highly complex ideas. Of course, all those millions of people who will be affected by those ideas are outside your little politically relativistic space-time bubble, and so will barely be able to blink before you've come to a complete and full understanding of your own rhetoric and policies. You'll be able to implement your policies in time for cornflakes.


Now that the state Senate Democrats have walked away from the Capitol, preventing a vote on Walker's measure, our very own Master of the Universe makes noises to the effect that he can wait them out for weeks or months if necessary. He projects calm and patience. He will, he avers, win. He won't bargain (we already knew that). He won't compromise (we knew that, too). He's ready for protracted combat.


What, you say? You thought we only had days to fix our state "emergency," and could not afford to wait weeks or months to do it? Ah, but Gov. Scott Evil has a deux ex machina up his very political sleeve. You see, the gov possesses a time machine! I know, I know, it's amazing, but true: the guv can go back and change the past, if he chooses.


Did our very own Master of the Universe lie the other day in saying that unions refused to bargain, right after they had just spent months (and, actually, more than half a century) doing that very thing? Well, Gov. Einstein can fix that. Now, true, reality didn't transpire as he claims, but he'll make it so by jumping into his H.G. Wells Mega-Cycle 2100 Chrono-hopper, journeying back two years and subtly interfering with history so that the unions STOP bargaining. He can kill the unions before his bill to kill them was even born. And kill the state's economy at the same time, ensuring he'll be elected supreme leader for life.


And if that doesn't work, he'll send out Battlecat to eat everybody he doesn't like.


February 21, 2011 - 9:02am