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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Fenty backs Gov. Scott Walker in Wisc. union fight

By Mike DeBonis

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this morning got some rare Democratic support for his high-profile push to eliminate most state workers' collective barganing rights -- from former D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Fenty made his comments as a guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," making an in-studio appearance in New York with takeover mogul and ex-"car czar" Steven Rattner and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

When discussion turned to Walker's anti-union push, Fenty jumped right in.

"This is kind of what I faced in four years as mayor," Fenty told hosts Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski. "He's right on the substance, I think. I tend to agree with him on the need for collective bargaining reform. But he's also right on the politics. I just don't understand why the legislature has been given this pass to go to another state and not do what they were sworn to do, and that's to take a vote. Unfortunately for Gov. Walker, he hasn't been able to get that out. He needs to point the finger a little bit more at them and say. 'Listen, they should take a vote. All I want is for them to vote up or down, and I will be fine with whatever they decide.'"

Brzezinski asked Fenty if he agreed with what Walker is doing.

"The substance of it, I do," Fenty said. "Most governors and mayors would love to be able to manage their team without the interference of collective bargaining. ... I believe that managers have the ability to set fair wages, and to set fair hours, and to reward people or hold them accountable. I think it's a new day. I think a lot of these collective bargaining agreements are completely outdated."

Fenty was often at odds with city employee unions during his four years as mayor -- not least of which the city's teachers union. Organized labor fought hard to defeat Fenty and elect Vincent C. Gray instead. Today was not the first time Fenty's been critical of unions -- he said in October that teachers unions "are going to have to explain why when every tough decision is made to reform the school system they are at the lead in opposing it" -- but it was by far his most sweeping public indictment of organized labor.

Earlier in the discussion, Brzezinski asked Fenty what he was up to these days. He replied that he was "getting involved in business and staying involved in education."

He also tried his hand at political punditry.

Panelists discussed potential Republican presidential candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump.

"The serious thing for the Republicans is, is there going to be a candidate who can get out there early? What this shows you is that it's just completely wide open. ... That's good for my party. That's good for the Democrats. Hopefully, we'll just sail in to the White House."

Buchanan disagreed. "Mr. Mayor, I don't think so," he said, before pointing out that Mitt Romney was in a strong position to clear the field

By Mike DeBonis  | March 8, 2011; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty  
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Fenty backs Scott Walker? So What!

Posted by: georgerick11 | March 8, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

He was doing well while being described as a political martyr by Willie Geist for his election lost due to his education reform and fights with the unions. He shocked the panel of the morning show with his support of Governor Walker.....It was a clear reminder to me why many of us are glad he was dethroned.

Posted by: Observant3 | March 8, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

They can split town if someone is trying to railroad a bill. But they've been gone for weeks now and everyone in America has heard their plea. Walker has done all the compromising he needs to do to get his majority for passage. Democrats should all return together with a pledge to hold the GOP accountable at the polls. And the GOP will hold the unions accountable otherwise.

If a union wants to bankrupt a car company or airline, it's okay with me. But governments don't go bankrupt. They just tax more and more and more, particularly from those without the power to resist.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 8, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I gather that Adrian Fenty just became a Republican and if not he should because he just rang in his end as a Democrat. Not even his mentor Michael Bloomberg agrees with Governor Scott Walker.

I think this again shows how arrogant Fenty is and that he really doesn't understand people. If Fenty thinks Walker is right on substance and the politics then Fenty can't read polls which may be why he lost. 62% of Wisconsin voters disagree with Walker so clearly he is not right on the politics. President Obama disagrees with him on the substance so Fenty clearly ended his chance of ever getting an administration position.

It is really sad to see someone who once had such great potential fall so fast and so far. I can't imagine what he will teach the kids at Oberland, I hope it is not politics for their sakes.

Posted by: peterdc | March 8, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is odd. Adrian Fenty had absolutely NO problem taking the financial and human support from the city's government union when he was running for Mayor in 2008.

This new epiphany of his seems to be nothing more than sour grapes from a sore looser.

Fenty presumes that public managers are all ethical and fair dealing. He forgets that we are talking about managers of a notoriously crooked D.C. government. Including the one that he oversaw.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 8, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Fenty certainly has the right initials.


I could go on and on.

Posted by: ronmch20 | March 8, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

fenty is showing his true colors yet again! once he became mayor in dc i thought he was a closet republican, his disdain for unions and not having the pulse of the people has been obvious for a long time. thank god this none-too-bright and angry man is out of district politics!

Posted by: wpost36 | March 8, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

As an Oberlin alum, I'm wondering how long it will be before Fenty has a temper tantrum and screams at a class full of students who call him out on his arrogant and self-serving politics.

Posted by: matt731 | March 8, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"I believe that managers have the ability to set fair wages, and to set fair hours, and to reward people or hold them accountable" Are you kidding me? They may have the ABILITY but rarely the authority or inclination. What world does this Fenty guy live in? Good job citizens of DC. . .

Posted by: hueylong | March 8, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

After reading the comments and the article one thing is clear - none of the people making comments pays taxes.

If you don't like where you work or who you work for, then quit and get another job. Quit relying on the government to fund your life.

Stretch your mind, grow, work hard, play hard, enjoy life and look back on what you did to make this world a better place.

Quit whining and expect the union to solve your problems.

Posted by: phonecardmike | March 8, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Poor Adrian ~ tried to reform DC schools and the teachers union forced him out.

Now we got a bunch of crooks who've moved into every nook and cranny in DC government.

At the same time there seems to be no improvement in DC schools nor have the students exhibited any improved performance.

Guess no one in DC wants an education, nor do they want anyone else to get an education either.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 9, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

OK so a few voices of sanity and moderation still exist in this new radical leftist democrat party! Big whoopee!

Posted by: pouran-doukht | March 9, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Most people forget that unions came into being just because working conditions were dangerous and unhealthy, employees could be fired on a whim, and workers were paid starvation wages. There were things like company stores. Workers would be paid in script that could only be redeemed at the company store. Often they were in constant debt to the stores (which were over priced).

There was a shirtwaist factory fire in New York, that until 911, resulted in the largest lost of life in New York City. Scores of workers (mostly young women and mostly Irish immigrants) plunged to their deaths, or wore burnt up in fires because managers kept doors locked to prevent workers from leaving during the day.

History is repleat with stories like these.

Posted by: tacard1 | March 9, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Fenty is a frog! Thank God he is gone!

Posted by: thelildiva4u | March 9, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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