In the short time since my cheesehead column, Wisconsinites have gone from celebrating the Packers' championship as one big happy family to neighbor against neighbor, kin against kin, public against private: all over the governor's plan to end collective bargaining for public employees.
Republican Scott Walker pulled a fast one with his proposal to quash these bargaining rights, something he hadn't mentioned in his campaign. He said the opposition to his budget plans was all about money.
The Democrats called him on this by agreeing with his proposed cuts, leaving only collective bargaining on the table. A reasonable compromise was within reach. With it, the governor could have achieved what he promised and been hailed as an effective leader, uniting the state behind his necessary budget balancing efforts.
But no. He reached for more: ending the long tradition of collective bargaining for state workers, even if the majority of Wisconsinites saw this as unnecessary and unwanted, even if he had never campaigned to do this.
He forgot or ignored Ronald Reagan's rule of 80: If you get 80 percent of what you want, accept it, declare victory in a non-gloating manner, and move on. You have to work with the opposition tomorrow. Walker got 95 percent and wanted more. He wouldn't take yes for an answer.
In responding to a prank phone call, he admitted that ending collective bargaining wasn't in his campaign promises, referring to it as dropping the bomb.
An independent political fact-checking group said that although he was truthful in saying the previous (Democratic) governor had rammed through some legislation, he was untruthful in saying his campaign promises included ending collective bargaining.
What's more, the prank call showed that he was considering sending "troublemakers" in among the protestors, which included children, and that he decided against this not because people could have gotten hurt, but because it might not have played well politically.
Regarding his claim that the impasse is about money, even Fox News anchor Sheppard Smith called it "malarkey," adding that it was about union busting, which the governor didn't campaign about. His commentary might make some listeners angry, he said, but it was the truth.
Republican columnist David Brooks favored major spending cuts such as Walker's but saw his union-busting approach as unnecessarily polarizing.
On the other side, Democratic senators, who were outnumbered 14-19 and facing certain defeat, left the chamber and the state. They fled or filibustered, or both.
They took off. They didn't stand and face the music.
And as the senate needed 20 members for a quorum, there could be no vote.
Neither side has behaved that honorably. But some behind-the-scenes negotiations have come to light; the democratic process is alive if not exactly well and proper.
And that's where things stand as of this writing. The unity and goodwill after the Packers' championship is gone, wasted.
The two sides are not officially talking about the obvious compromise: table the union issue for another time; move ahead on budget cuts now.
Instead, public workers are being demonized as the cause of financial problems, and the public vs. private argument on Main Street takes the focus off the major cause of our recent economic downturn: Wall Street.
Yet it is understandable the governor wants some payback. The previous governor had pulled a fast one or two. But that political maneuvering didn't divide the state as this maneuver has done.
The title of a George Orwell essay comes to mind. I can't recall much of the essay itself. But the title says it all in three words: "Revenge is Sour."
(James Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily?News)