It seems impossible for a conservative to write anything about Wisconsin without noting, for their records, that elections have consequences. The original context of Obama’s statement, you’ll remember, is a conversation he had with Eric Cantor on his third day office. Having been handed a helpful list of deficit-reductions suggestions by the Representative, the newly minted President responded “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” At which point, as you well know, the Republican faithful graciously bowed out of public life and allowed the President to impose his will on the nation, which is why Guantanamo is now closed; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now over; single-payer healthcare is the law of the land; and the Caliphate is nearly installed.
Because that’s how conservatives are using this phrase: “Union members of Wisconsin,” they say, “Scott Walker was elected, and elections have consequences, so quit bitching and go home. We won, and now we’re going to do whatever we want. You lost the right to complain when you lost.” The problem with their rhetoric is plain to anyone who noticed—which includes all those linked above—that the Tea Party held a counter-protest yesterday, i.e. the Tea Party exists precisely because they didn’t accept the very same logic they’re launching at the protesters. “Elections have consequences” doesn’t mean, as they’re currently construing it, “Roll over and die.” It means what they thought it meant two years ago, which is that they’re in for a political fight.
There is, of course, one more crucial difference: conservatives protested over fictional abuses of authority—czars, death panels, long-form birth certificates, etc.—whereas the protesters in Wisconsin are fighting against the bill as stated both by the person who drafted it and every conservative cheering on the union busting.