January 21, 2018

Walker Drops a Bomb

“Elections have consequences!

This was the refrain heard many times over the last two weeks in support of Governor Scott Walker‘s attempt to destroy collective bargaining for unions that don’t support conservative Republicans. Scott Walker ran for office promising to take away the right of unions to bargain, he won and thats how democracy works. Sounds pretty straightforward.

Senator Lindsey Graham asserted it on MEET THE PRESS:

Graham: In a democracy, when you run on something, you do have an obligation to fulfill your promise. He didn’t take anybody by surprise, he’s doing exactly what he said. There was a referendum on this issue and the unions lost, and the Democrats in Wisconsin should come back to Wisconsin to have votes.

Like this one, Walker supporters shouted to the TV cameras: “”We did have an election and Scott Walker won,” said Deborah Arndt, 53, of Sheboygan Falls. “I think our governor will stand strong. I have faith in him.”

George Will echoed the falsehood on ABC THIS WEEK:

WILL: Governor Walker was elected promising to do what he’s doing. He did the same thing as county executive in Milwaukee.

It may be understandable as to why Graham and Will made false assertions. Governor Walker himself made the very same assertion soon after the controversy began:
“I campaigned on (the proposals in the budget repair bill for Wisconsin) all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years.”
….Scott Walker on Monday, February 21st, 2011 in a news conference

Really? Asleep? Is this a promise Walker made to voters when he ran for office? As I pointed out last week I couldn’t find the pledge to ban collective bargaining or disembowel union abilities to monitor members anywhere in his fact sheet on matters concerning labor. He did promise to make unions more responsible for payments to health and retirement plans, something the unions agreed to do some time ago.

Now after extensive investigation Politifact weighs in:

For this item, we reviewed dozens of news accounts and various proposals on Walker’s campaign website to determine what he said about collective bargaining during the campaign. We talked to both campaigns in the governor’s race, and union officials.

During the campaign, Walker prided himself on presenting many specific proposals to voters. Our Walk-O-Meter includes 60-plus specific promises. Indeed, his plans for the state Department of Natural Resources include at least seven specific elements, including appointment of a “whitetail deer trustee” to review deer counts.

But nowhere in our search did we find any such detailed discussion of collective bargaining changes as sweeping as Walker proposed.

…..Walker contends he clearly “campaigned on” his union bargaining plan.

But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.

While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.

We rate his statement False.

Andrew Sullivan echoed one of the points I made here last week:

If you campaign on one platform and then suddenly up the ante, you cannot cite democracy in your defense. And there is something bizarre about Republican commentators who cheered on Tea Party protests against a clear Obama campaign pledge – health insurance reform – suddenly decrying public protests against something a politician didn’t campaign on….Andrew Sullivan

Candidate Obama and Democrats ran for office promising major overhauls in medical insurance and healthcare reform. The President and his party delivered on their campaign promise. Conservatives at the time didn’t accept the consequences of elections. They claimed healthcare reform was ‘rammed down their throats’, ‘unAmerican’, ‘unconstitutional’.

In his taped conversation with the Faux Koch Walker explained how he and his advisors concocted their secret plan: “We talked about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it. We had already built plans up. This was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb.

Who drops bombs on unsuspecting Americans?


Krugman: Its not about deficits; Its about power

Krugman has an excellent understanding of what the stakes are about in Wisconsin.

There are ideologues in this country that want their country back. It’s a country where capitol has the right to aggregate for economic power but workers don’t, where corporations have the rights of individual citizens but citizens have restricted civil rights, where the rich and powerful face no legal or economic penalty for their destructive actions but middle class workers are scapegoated for the audacity of wanting to enjoy a decent life.

I don’t want that country back. It’s ‘gone with the wind,’ as was said about another romanticized, fantastically imagined American society. Gone with the wind and good riddance.

I want my country to evolving into a better and better country as our system has encouraged and allowed over past centuries.

American exceptionalism, an exceptionalism that has inspired nations and societies around the world is about moving forward with hope and courage not looking backward with regret and longing.

Don’t lean forward…MOVE FORWARD.

Paste and go:


The bill that has inspired the demonstrations would strip away collective bargaining rights for many of the state’s workers, in effect busting public-employee unions. Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.

Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.

So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.