GOP Stands Up to Mob Rule in Madison

If nothing else, the on-going situation in Wisconsin demonstrates the hypocrisy of the Left. A little more than a month ago in the wake of the Tucson shootings, we were lectured by everyone from the President on down about the need for civility in political discourse. Yet, for the past few days, mobs of angry public-sector union members have compared Gov. Scott Walker to everything from Hosni Mubarak to Adolf Hitler. Just today, the state capitol had to be evacuated because of the threats made against the governor and Republican lawmakers. Because asking union members to pay for their pensions is totally on the same level as killing 20 million people, especially when many of these people make more than $100,000 a year.

In order to demonstrate their devotion to democratic ideals, the rule of law, and the ability to hold adult conversations, the Democrat members of the state legislature have … (wait for it)… fled the state! Really? What do they really expect to accomplish by running away? It’s not like they can hide forever. Eventually, they’ll either have to resign their seats or return to the capital. For a fun mental exercise, imagine if a group of Republicans tried this. Would they be commended by the President for their commitment to democracy? No! And rightly so. Such a move is a huge blow to the rule of law and popular sovereignty.

What these legislators are effectively saying is that last November’s election is irrelevant and that the will of the people can be ignored when it conflicts with their politics. Such actions are shameful and a direct assault on the core values of this country. What makes the situation worse is the national Democrat’s machine declared intention to spread this labor rebellion to other states. The President would do well to remember the oath he took to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

We operate under a system of government that provides a constructive outlet for political disagreements. We have regular, open and free elections to select people to represent the interests of the people in our government. Between elections, we are free to contact our representatives, encouraging them to support the passage or defeat of legislation. The representatives themselves have the advantage of public forums and open legislatures to argue their position. There is no need to threaten the safety of those legislators and hamstring the operations of the state assembly by mobbing the capitol. Illusions to Hitler are completely unnecessary and only serve to further polarize the opposing factions. If the AWOL legislators truly respect the people they claim to serve, they will recognize that they lost last November, return to the capitol, and have a mature and civil conversation about the issues confronting Wisconsin. The longer this anarchy persists, the more damage will be done to this country’s great institutions.

34 comments

  1. Walker ginned up a fake crisis as an excuse to smash the public sector unions that have historically supported Democratic candidates. It doesn't look like his class war tactics are going over very well with the people of Wisconsin, who seem to be largely supporting the protesters.

    1. I believe that this crisis is the result of years of fiscal mismanagement by the Democrats who have governed the state for the last few years. Gov. Walker did inherit a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, and you're not going to be able to fill a hole of that size without making a few people unhappy. Though, considering that he did campaign on a reign-in-the-unions platform and that over 1 million people voted for him, I'd be willing to bet most Wisconsonians support their governor.

      1. There is no crisis.

        The unions have always been willing to negotiate but Walker refuses to do so. They've indicated they're willing to make financial sacrifices, but he's going much further in attempting to eliminate their future negotiating power entirely. That has no bearing on the current budget situation.

      2. If you don't want to call a $3.6 billion budget shortfall a crisis, that's fine. We can just call it a really big problem.

        He's not eliminating their future negotiating power entirely, only limiting it to negotiations on salaries. Public unions from California to New Jersey get overly generous pensions and health care benefits. The bill has finally come due on those, and many states cannot afford to pay. This is all about the budget and reigning in out-of-control special interests that threaten to bankrupt the state.

  2. You can't criticize the Wisconsin Democrats for using the quorum rule to their advantage if you support the flagrant abuse of the filibuster by Republicans. So for your "fun mental exercise", you don't have to think very hard. It's exactly what the GOPers have forced the American people to put up with for years.

    The GOP's governing philosophy is to kneecap the Democrats out of power. I'm glad Wisconsin is showing that two can play at that game.

    1. I don't think you can equivocate the filibuster with this little performance by WI Democrats. Voting not to end a filibuster is a vote to continue debate on the issue at hand, whereas this little stunt pulled by the Democrats does not allow for debate. I'll also note that anytime the Republicans do filibuster anything (which, by the way, Democrats do too), they get savaged by the media.

      I honestly have no idea what you're second point is referring to. I'll just assume it was an angry outburst.

  3. Walker's efforts to smash the unions have nothing to do with balancing the budget.

    "I specifically regret the endorsement of the Wisconsin Trooper's Association for Gov. Scott Walker," executive board president Tracy Fuller writes in a statement dated February 16. "I regret the governor's decision to 'endorse' the troopers and inspectors of the Wisconsin State Patrol. I regret being the recipient of any of the perceived benefits provided by the governor's anointing. I think everyone's job and career is just as significant as the others. Everyone's family is just as valuable as mine or any other persons, especially mine. Everyone's needs are just as valuable. We are all great people!!"

      1. One person a consensus does not make, particularly when that person is a union leader. Also, when you talk about class warfare, I assume you're referring to the state of affairs where one class of people (i.e. union members) receive rich pension and health care benefits, while another class of people (i.e. everyone who's not in a union) gets to pay for those benefits.

      2. No, I'm talking about the state of affairs where large corporations and the tiny wealthy minority go to great lengths (quasi-legal and criminal) to avoid paying taxes, instead shifting the tax burden more and more onto the middle and lower class. Corporate profits have been sky-high in recent years, yet unemployment is still close to 10%. That's class warfare. That, and your asinine insistence that public school teachers are greedy for wanting some security — in a country that lacks the basic social safety net of a national health care system and in which medical bankruptcy is a constant threat.

      3. You're simply deluding yourself. That fact is the so-called "wealthy" pay more than their fair share of taxes. In 2006, the top quintile of households earned 55.7% of pre-tax income, yet paid 69.3% of all federal taxes. The top 1% of households earned 18.8% of total income, yet paid 28.3% of all federal taxes (http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/how-much-americans-actually-pay-in-taxes/). Simply put, you're wrong.

        Unionized (and that's key) public school teachers are over-compensated. They whine everytime someone suggests that they contribute to their own health and retirement accounts and then walk out on the students they supposedly care about. State and local taxes would not have to be nearly so high if local governments didn't have to fund these outrageous benefit packages. They should consider themselves lucky that they are not among the over 8 million Americans who are currently unemployed (and who the teachers demand fund their benefit packages). So, yes, they are greedy and, they are leeches.

      4. "Unionized (and that's key) public school teachers are over-compensated" … "So, yes, they are greedy and, they are leeches."

        The idea that any public school teacher is over-compensated is totally absurd. Administrators, sure, they may make over $100K, but teachers are over-compensated compared to what? Babysitters? Retail or fast food workers? "Greedy leeches" and "they should be thankful they're not unemployed" are not arguments, they're statements of your immaturity.

        Starting salary around $25K, average salary around $45K. Granted, that's a little bit more than I make, but that's not even close to pushing upper-middle class. It's also a bit more than NC teachers make, but then NC ranks close to the bottom in terms of national teacher pay and academic achievement.

        "They whine everytime someone suggests that they contribute to their own health and retirement accounts."

        You are lying. Or perhaps you're misinformed, but I'm not sure it makes any difference to you. Teachers' health and retirement accounts are already funded by the teachers. When the system was established they agreed to reduced compensation and increased benefits, and then more recently they agreed to reduced benefits as well. What they are not agreeing to is to allow Walker destroy their union.

        Why don't you just come out and say what you want to say, which is that public education should be defunded and 100% privatized? I suspect you know that's a losing proposition, so you content yourself with prancing around in your ridiculous misanthropic fantasy that public school teachers are overpaid parasites.

        I'll come back to the tax argument, because there you're wrong again.

      5. They're overcompensated compared to their counterparts in non-elite private schools and even compared to college professors. Many unionized teachers make tenure in as little as 3 years, and they contribute a mere pittance to their benefit plans.

        And they do whine every time someone suggests reining them in. You need only look at WI and NJ as the latest examples. They should be thankful that they haven't been laid off and stop demanding that the taxpayers fund their overinflated egos.

        Many (dare I say most) school systems do an abysmal job educating the students entrusted to their care. The complete privatization of these systems would not necessarily be a bad idea, but a voucher/charter system would also work. What you need to do is to provide incentives to the schools to produce outstanding students. Because parents frequently have no choice in their child's school, there is no incentive for schools to compete for tuition dollars. So, what you get is the current system, which wastes billions of dollars and doesn't teach anyone anything.

  4. "I honestly have no idea what you're second point is referring to. I'll just assume it was an angry outburst."

    The GOP has shown a disproportionate interest in using the levers of governmental power to punish its opponents. Both parties use that same power to reward their supporters, but the GOP has been particularly vindictive in its efforts to slander and defund unions and organizations like ACORN and now Planned Parenthood.

    1. Again with the sweeping generalizations. Consider the de-funding of ACORN and Planned Parenthood as merely taking away the "rewards" bestowed on them by Democrats. Of course, it's entirely possible they would not have been "un-rewarded" if they weren't caught on tape assisting people develop child prostitution rings.

      1. Oh come one, that's nonsense. Are you lying, or just ignorant because you only pay attention to right-wing propaganda? No one was caught on tape "assisting people develop child prostitution rings." The Brooklyn DA, the California Attorney General, the US GAO and others found that the ACORN tapes were heavily edited and there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. And as weak as the case against ACORN was, the case against Planned Parenthood is even weaker.

      2. Irrelevant. If you're going to defend the work of sociopaths like Breitbart and O'Keefe then you better have something more convincing than that.

      3. In the end, I'm comforted to know that the conservative position is one held by a minority of Americans — there's still a clear majority that supports unions (and supports raising taxes on the wealthy).

        You'd never know it from watching Fox News, though, where just yesterday they made a false report about the USA Today and Gallup poll, claiming that 2/3 of Americans supported Walker's position and that "many" states don't allow collective bargaining by public employees, when the poll actually said 2/3 of Americans oppose Walker's plan and only 5 states don't allow collective bargaining.

      4. You are again deluding yourself. A majority of the people elected this governor to deal with the unions, so I don't know on what basis you are making this claim. Looking at New Jersey (a much more union-friendly state than WI), where this has had time to play out, Gov. Christie has an approval rating of 52% (http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/09/chris-christies-approval-ratings-rise-in-new-jersey/), so you're wrong again.

        The Fox News report was likely referencing the fact that 22 states have right-to-work laws on the books, which prevent the unions from running amok like they have in WI and NJ.

      5. "A majority of the people elected this governor to deal with the unions, so I don't know on what basis you are making this claim."

        You are incorrect, as usual. 1. most people in Wisconsin didn't vote for Walker because most of them didn't vote 2. Not once during the campaign did Walker say he was planning to abrogate the state's agreement with the unions and attempt to take away their collective bargaining rights, yet once in office he attempted to ram through a radical plan that would cripple the unions and sell off state assets via no-bid contracts to his financial sponsors.

        "Looking at New Jersey (a much more union-friendly state than WI), where this has had time to play out, Gov. Christie has an approval rating of 52%"

        This statement is irrelevant to Americans' generally postiive attitudes toward collective bargaining and taxing the wealthy.

      6. Considering that you have submitted absolutely no evidence in support of any of your claims (as usual), you're not really giving me much to work with here. Considering that in the United States we generally view elections as a pretty good indicator of public opinion, it seems most appropriate to take the results of last November's election as a proxy for the people's feelings towards the governor. The governor won more than 50% of the vote, so unless you want to challenge the legitimacy of the election (though given liberals' generally negative view of elections, especially ones they lose, that wouldn't surprise me), you're going to have to come up with something better than most people don't vote. During that election, the unions came out very heavily against Gov. Walker because of the threat that he posed to their ability to collectively bargain, etc. There's a nice video here, where Sen. Graham holds up one of the posters the unions put up during the election (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260204/graham-there-was-referendum-issue-and-unions-lost-andrew-stiles).

        Again, you have yet to submit any evidence in support of your claims. I was merely mentioning another state where taxing the wealthy and collective bargaining for public employees was historically quite popular, but has since changed significantly.

      7. "given liberals' generally negative view of elections"

        That's rich, and reveals your ongoing ignorance of recent history. It's like the 20th century didn't happen for you. Historically, conservatives have fought tooth and nail to prevent poor and minority citizens from voting, whether through poll taxes, voter ID laws, hysterical lies about voter fraud, underfunding agencies that deal with elections — all the way to the open violence that was endemic among conservative opponents of civil rights. Liberals have fought to increase citizen participation in elections by enfranchising young people, women and minorities, and by making it easier to register and to vote.

      8. Lack of evidence? Read some 20th century history, it's not like any of this is undocumented or secret. I understand that you want to believe that your tribe is a righteous one, that conservatives are some sort of champions of democracy, but history says otherwise. Conservative politicians have opposed every single expansion of voting rights in the US, from women's suffrage to the civil rights movement to allowing 18-year olds to vote, to the "motor voter" bill and same-day voter registration.

        Byrd's status as a former Klansman is irrelevant. He renounced that period of his life and apologized; the GOP's cynical, racist "Southern Strategy" has dominated the party since the late 1960s, with no apology.

      9. Did you even read these? Your first link doesn't point to a report. The other two indicate that the list of charges against ACORN was a mixed bag, some of the charges against ACORN were upheld, while others were not. The CA report is actually completely irrelevant, as the report itself indicates that the actions themselves took place outside CA. The GAO report is also of questionable relevance, considering that the focus of the report seems to be ACORN's financial irregularities.

        I'll also note that whether or not ACORN was engaging in illegal activities is completely irrelevant to my original argument. My only purpose in bringing them up was to indicate that they benefited financially from their alliance with the Democrat Party.

  5. Well said. I live in WI and the public sector employees have way better insurance and pension than the private sector. Private sector unions have to be reasonable or they put their employer out of business. Public unions suck the private sector dry. I can’t believe private sector unions support the public unions that are killing their industries. They are showing what thugs they are under the direction of”community organizers” .

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