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The Plum Line: February 20, 2011 - February 26, 2011

Open Thread

This new ad the unions are airing in Wisconsin -- the hardest hitting one yet -- comes very close to suggesting that Governor Scott Walker contemplated violence against protesters in his conversation with the fake Koch, and hammers him for...

By Greg Sargent  | February 26, 2011; 8:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (190)
Categories:  Labor  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Dem Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana gives Scott Walker some friendly CEO-style advice: If you destroy the morale of your workers, "you are cutting your own throat." * This user-friendly state-by-state guide to all the battles between state governments...

By Greg Sargent  | February 25, 2011; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Political media, Senate Dems, gay rights  
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Bad media coverage makes the people ignorant and stoopid

Yesterday a Kaiser Family Foundation poll brought us some startling news: 22% of Americans wrongly believe the Affordable Care Act has already been repealed, and another 26 percent are unsure whether it has been or are unwilling to say. Today,...

By Greg Sargent  | February 25, 2011; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (88)
Categories:  Health reform, Political media  
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Public employees not such an easy scapegoat after all

As the Wisconsin standoff continues, it's worth stepping back and considering an underappreciated but heartening aspect of this whole affair: Public employees are turning out to be far harder to scapegoat in the public mind than many predicted. This was...

By Greg Sargent  | February 25, 2011; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  Labor  
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Fox News's parade of buffoons

Last week Greg and I wrote about the poll from the Public Religion Research Institute showing "a significant correlation between trust in Fox News and negative attitudes about Muslims." Part of how Fox News tries to stir up its viewers'...

By Adam Serwer  | February 25, 2011; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Political media  
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Secret Service interviews Georgia constituent who asked who will `shoot' Obama; case is `closed matter'

UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.: In a new statement Rep Paul Broun appears to admit he should have condemned his constituent: Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, "Who's going to...

By Greg Sargent  | February 25, 2011; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (196)
Categories:  House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* Freshman GOPers realizing spending cuts might impact their constitutents: Good read from Shailagh Murray on how House Republicans returning to their districts are discovering that proposed cuts would impact real, live human beings, and are having second thoughts. *...

By Greg Sargent  | February 25, 2011; 8:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Political media, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Random thought: It's telling that the Sunday shows can't seem to find any room for representatives of the movement that brought their viewers the weekend. * Senate Dems start drafting plans to slice billions from the budget, their first...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Political media, Senate Dems  
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Watchdog calls for criminal probe of Governor Walker over prank Koch call

A Washington-based campaign finance watchdog group is calling on Wisconsin prosecutors to launch an investigation of Governor Scott Walker, alleging potentially illegal fundraising activity in an exchange with the prankster who posed as billionaire David Koch, the group says. The...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Labor  
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No labor officials on Sunday shows this weekend?

I tend not to get into the business of questioning the guest choices made by the Sunday shows. But if there were ever a time the networks would want to book labor officials to appear, you'd think it would be...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 2:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
Categories:  Labor, Political media  
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Deep thought

It's interesting to imagine what the reaction would be like if a Democratic governor were caught on tape joking about the baseball bat in his office after a fake Richard Trumka suggested using a bat on Republicans, telling the Trumka...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  Labor  
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Madison police chief finds Scott Walker's comments about protestors "disturbing"

Yesterday a lot of folks suggested that there wasn't anything particularly incriminating in the Scott Walker prank Koch call, even though he was caught on tape saying clearly he had "thought about" planting troublemakers among protesting crowds. Well, here's one...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (128)
Categories:  Labor  
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Not defending DOMA a slippery slope?

George Washington University Law Professor Orin Kerr has written the most substantive criticism of the Obama administration's decision to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act: If that approach becomes widely adopted, then it would seem to...

By Adam Serwer  | February 24, 2011; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  gay rights  
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The Morning Plum

* Unions keep the pressure on Walker with new ads: The AFL-CIO is going up with new print ads in Wisconsin statewide newspapers, a union official says, pressing the case that public employees have already agreed to the fiscal concessions...

By Greg Sargent  | February 24, 2011; 8:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, gay rights  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* At his presser today, Governor Scott Walker was asked why he said on the prank Koch call that he "thought about" introducing troublemakers into protesting crowds. His answer: "We've had all sorts of options brought to us by staff...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, gay rights  
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Gay rights no longer hot button issue for GOP?

This response from John Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, to the Obama administration's announcement on the Defense of Marriage Act is a telling one: "While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  House GOPers, gay rights  
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Obama declares DOMA unconstitutional, continues "evolving" on gay marriage

As you've no doubt already heard, the Obama administration announced today that the President now views Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional; the administration will stop defending it in court. That, of course, is the section...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
Categories:  gay rights  
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Bipartisan consensus behind public employee bargaining rights still in force -- among voters

Yesterday USA Today made a big splash when the paper released a Gallup poll finding that 61 percent of Americans nationwide oppose Governor Scott Walker's plan to roll back the bargaining rights of public employees. Today Gallup has released a...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (98)
Categories:  Labor  
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Governor Walker's office confirms prank Koch call

The Internet is burning up with the news that Governor Scott Walker may have been pranked by a caller claiming to be David Koch, and a spokesman for the Governor, Cullen Werwie, emails a statement confirming the call is legit:...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (222)
Categories:  Labor  
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It's just about crushing the unions

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has insisted that his proposal to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights is necessary to cover the state's budget deficit. In his "fireside chat" yesterday, Walker said: "We're broke in this state because, time...

By Adam Serwer  | February 23, 2011; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Labor  
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The Morning Plum

* The next frontier in Wisconsin fight: Beginning today, a union official says, labor will intensify pressure on moderate GOP state senators to break with Governor Scott Walker and work out a compromise with public employees. Key fact: 14 out...

By Greg Sargent  | February 23, 2011; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, abortion, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Government shutdown kabuki continues as Harry Reid announces he'll introduce a measure next week to keep the federal government running for a month at current funding levels. * But Republicans have rejected the offer, and as Brian Beutler notes,...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (134)
Categories:  2012, Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Republicans  
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The conversation is no longer about Wisconsin's finances

An important new poll finds strong support for public employee bargaining rights: The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Labor  
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Americans for Prosperity to run ads in Wisconsin

Here's something else that will ratchet up the stakes in the Wisconsin standoff and fuel suspicions about the real goal behind the push to roll back public employee rights: The well-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity is set to start...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Labor  
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Indiana Dem chair confirms: Dems have fled statehouse to stall anti-union push

It's spreading. Democratic state legislators in Indiana have fled the statehouse in an effort to stall anti-union legislation being pushed by Republicans, and they are saying they won't come back until the offending provisions are taken off the table, the...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (141)
Categories:  Labor  
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Why won't Governor Walker accept unions' offer and declare victory?

It's worth stating as clearly as possible that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is refusing to take a route out of the standoff that, while not giving him everything he wants, would allow him to declare victory over the public employee...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Labor  
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Workers are workers, public or private

The New York Times' David Brooks makes the argument, popular among conservatives, that public-sector unions are terrible things that shouldn't exist: Private sector unions confront managers who have an incentive to push back against their demands. Public sector unions face...

By Adam Serwer  | February 22, 2011; 10:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Labor, Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* Wisconsin poll finds strong support for public employees: With the standoff in Wisconsin intensifying, the well-respected Dem firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has released a new polling memo -- bankrolled by unions -- finding strong opposition to Governor Scott Walker's...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Tea Party, abortion  
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First look: Unions launch TV ad campaign backing Wisconsin public employees

Upping the stakes in the Wisconsin battle, unions are going up in the air in the state with the first ad on the standoff, hammering Governor Scott Walker for refusing to drop his assault on public employee bargaining rights. Here's...

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 6:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Labor  
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This goes far beyond Wisconsin

Paul Krugman frames the stakes in the Wisconsin standoff: 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;...

By Greg Sargent  | February 21, 2011; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (237)
Categories:  Labor  
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Monday Roundup

* Good for Senator Dick Durbin for stating clearly exactly what the historical stakes are in Wisconsin. His appearance on Meet the Press yesterday is worth quoting at length: Let me tell you why what's happening in Wisconsin, just north...

By Greg Sargent  | February 21, 2011; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
Categories:  Labor, Senate Dems, Social Security  
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Sunday Open Thread

I didn't think the individual mandate would ever lose its special status as the single greatest threat to American liberty in our country's history, but it suddenly seems to be facing a pretty serious challenger in public employee bargaining rights....

By Greg Sargent  | February 20, 2011; 9:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (134)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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