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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/20/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Tim Pawlenty stands up for Gov. Scott Walker. "Governor Scott Walker is making tough choices needed to avoid financial ruin. The nation's governors don't need a lecture from a president who has never balanced a budget. All levels of government need to bring public employee compensation in line with the private sector. The gig is up for public- employee groups who demand better benefits than the taxpayers who are paying the bill."

Mitt Romney stands up for Israel. "Putting forward a misbegotten U.N. statement as a compromise was a tactical, strategic and moral mistake. The administration may conceive of its action as a low-cost, split-the-difference gesture, but it has harmed an ally, sent a dangerous signal of inconstancy to allies and adversaries alike, and betrayed basic American principles. That's three mistakes in one." Read the whole thing. If only American Jewish groups would be so articulate.

More Republican governors stand up to public employee unions. "In many states, Republicans who came to power in the November elections, often by defeating union-backed Democrats, are taking aim not only at union wages but at union power as they face budget gaps in the years ahead. . . . And officials seeking to curtail labor's power in other states said that by focusing attention on public-sector unions, the tense standoff in Wisconsin could give them momentum. 'We think that what's going on in Wisconsin actually helps us here in Ohio,' said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Governor [John] Kasich, who is supporting a bill that would limit collective bargaining rights."

For vulnerable Democrats who don't want to stand up to their party's leadership and the White House there is always retirement. "New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman's announcement [on Friday] that he will retire at the end of this Congress is the third such announcement for Democrats in nine days, bringing the total number of Democratic open seats to four. This open seat also holds some significance for the overall Senate picture. It moves to the Toss Up column, which now has six Democratic-held seats compared to two for Republicans."

The House stands up to the czars. "The House voted Thursday to dethrone nine White House 'czars.' Republicans successfully added an amendment to the continuing resolution that would leave President Barack Obama's senior advisers on policy issues including health care, energy and others out of a job."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Wisc.) stands up for fiscal sobriety. "'Traditionally,' entitlement demagoguery 'would work,' he concedes, but the times are different. 'It didn't work in 2010. Ask the 87 freshmen who had this stuff thrown at them. And given the crisis we are in, and given that we are going to have a year and a half or two years of straight talking to the American people about how serious this is, and how we need to head it off at the pass, I like our chances.'"

Minority House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stands up for Wisconsin Democrats who went into hiding. "After earlier voicing solidarity with the workers protesting against Gov. Scott Walker (R) in Wisconsin, Pelosi told The Hill she also stands behind the state legislators who fled and are now reportedly being sought by police." Good grief.

Somebody has to stand up for the taxpayers. "In case one needs reminding, the single largest supplier of campaign cash last year was the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. One union gave Democrats a whopping $87.5 million. AFSCME's head of political operations even told the Wall Street Journal, 'We're the big dog ... But we don't like to brag.' So in other words, the biggest campaign donor in American politics is trying to influence politicians by essentially recycling tax dollars in the form of union dues taken from the salaries of goverment workers. The inherrent conflict of interest is so brazen that even FDR was opposed to public sector unionism on principle."

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 20, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Interview: Sen. Pat Toomey


This is a watershed moment. Gov. Walker and his fellow governors must stand up to the union thugs. FDR knew that the conflict of interest inherent in government workers' unionization was disastrous. The immorality of these groups is clearly demonstrated by the teachers calling in sick (they are not), shutting down schools and then using their students as props. This is compounded by "doctors" unethically handing out excuses at the Wisconsin rally. Is there a more clear picture of the mentality of these despicable folks? The fiscal irresponsibility of politicians at the national and state level (many of whom are funded by government workers' unions) must be halted. Stand strong Governor Walker! Stand strong congressional Republicans!

Posted by: DocC1 | February 20, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

This is just another in the long list of Republican attacks on the middle class. I could see this getting violent because people's lives are on the line. I don't see why the benefits can't be scaled back as proposed but don't touch the collective bargaining rights. The Republicans and the tea baggers are truly anti-American. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY

Posted by: boboberg | February 20, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The new Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is certainly making history. And I hope other republican governors across America follow his lead and free the taxpayers from the bondage imposed on them by democratic legislatures in collusion with the unions. The unions have stuffed the coffers of democratic politicians with hefty political contributions, and those democratic politicians have returned the favors with laws and regulations that enrich the union bosses and their members at the expense of the taxpayers. And kickback benefits schemes between democrats and unions have reached the point where many states are in the brink of bankruptcy. It has been bribe, after bribe, after bribe for decades, and now it has finally reached the breaking point! The neighboring Chicago Tribune has published investigating reports about 10 years ago on how local union bosses were getting $ 350.000 pensions; those pensions are probably $500.000 a year now. And unless governors like Scott Walker stop the bought-with-political-contributions legal robbery of taxpayers, Wisconsin and other indebted states will become insolvent.

What I see Governor Walker doing in Wisconsin is exactly what William Proxmire would have done -if he were the governor, which is: “Scrap the legislation the Unions have bought with stacks of money euphemistically called "political contributions." And unless that practice is not brought under control, what will happen in most states is what happened is the small city of "Bell" in California. There corrupt politicians voted themselves astronomical salaries, while the local fees and real estate taxes skyrocketed! The tax payers rebelled, and kicked them out. Now it is time for the taxpayers to do that at the state level. And the sooner the better. We need an uprising here equal to those in the Arab world, but here against those who had a free reign for decades to decide their tax-payer paid benefits with their accolades in legislatures - under the pretext of more money for “better public service!”

The Jimmy Hofa era is over. And the citizens of Wisconsin, as well as the citizens of other states where unions have become a public malaise, should stand firm with legislators who are determined to bring some sanity into the public financing and welfare by demolishing those corrupt systems bought from democratic controlled legislatures by unions. The trial of the former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has confirmed that politicians are always ready to sell “to the highest bidder.” And unions have poured $ millions into the campaigns of legislator for decades as an investment which returned high dividends, but which also caused the voters backlash that brought Republicans in power to stop that public aberration. Now it is time for the victimized for decades taxpayers to get their justice. Congratulation, Governor Walker! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Posted by: Nikos_Retsos | February 20, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. On the Fox News site, they published a comment by Governor Walker, obviously in reference to the Democrat legislators who fled the state. Walker said, quote, "Democracy's not about showing up in another state." Hmm ... I wonder if this also applies to the Tea Partiers who were bussed into Wisconsin to shore up support for Walker.

Posted by: JAlecWest | February 20, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

President Obama will soon stand down from his ridiculous perch as he watches his poll numbers go down sharply as a result of the public's sitting up sharply in shock and throwing up in revulsion at that ridiculous spectacle in the Wisconsin statehouse.

Posted by: aardunza | February 20, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

People comparing the Wisconsin rallies to those in the middle east miss a critical point. Over there, they are rallying for the right to vote. We already have it. Many Americans voted stupidly in the last election. That's their right. Now we must suffer the damage so that democracy continues to work. Tea Party policies must be allowed to be tested in the forum of reality. When we see the results, we can vote on them again. If a majority of Americans really want to return this nation to the rule of oligarchs over an impoverished general population, then, in a democracy, that is their right. Meanwhile, it is sad, and galling, to imagine the Koch Brothers laughing over warring factions of the shrinking middle class do battle with each other. But the only actual way to beat them is at the polls. A lot of Democrats forgot that, too, turning on Obama (or at least going tepid in their support) because he wasn't liberal enough. Here's your result. You can't stop it now. Just don't forget it.

Posted by: NomoStew | February 20, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

To understand the significance of Wisconsin, I recommend these two articles. Kurtz states, "American politics just keeps getting more polarized. Be assured that Obama wants it that way." Mead says, "The world has been watching the upheavals and protests shaking the Middle East these days, but it’s just possible that the disturbances in Madison, Wisconsin mark what will ultimately prove to be a bigger turning point in world history."

Who's Polarizing America?
By Stanley Kurtz
The Madison Blues

Posted by: DocC1 | February 20, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

No what you describe is two very different actions. The elected Wisconsin Democrats skipped out of state and intentionally abandoned their sworn duties while the protesters who came in from out of state are volunteering their own free time to join a cause that they believe in.

Posted by: twd63 | February 20, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

How is it Republicans don't see that Wisconsin's Paul Ryan is bad for business? The GOP leadership need Karl Rove to run the show. Rove is ruthless. Fox News helps Rove seem as respectable as President Clinton to the United Nations. Ryan shouldn't be anywhere near CBS's "Face the Nation."

Thomas Chi

Posted by: ThomasChi | February 20, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Reducing the benefits for public employees is as tough as getting the schoolyard bully to stop extorting lunch money from his classmates. Only when the kids got tired of going hungry and together said NO MORE were they able to have their lunch. But the bully grew up and became head of the public employees union, it is now up to the taxpayers to also say NO MORE.

Posted by: morristhewise | February 20, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I want to add to twd63’s remarks above: “protesters who came in from out of state are volunteering their own free time to join a cause that they believe in.”

In all likelihood the Tea Partiers would not have stirred themselves to join the ‘lively discussion’ in Madison if Public Union protesters were not already being organized and fleshed out by out-of-state rent-a-throng Organize for America manipulators, probably at the behest of the Obama Administration.

Posted by: nvjma | February 20, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Romney Stands Up for Israel. Dump B.O. We need Mitt in 2012.

Democrat Ed Rendell said: “If I were in charge of the Republican Party…Mitt Romney would be the candidate, no ifs, ands, and buts about it. He’s got the best credentials to talk about the economy and job creation.”

Romney is by far our most PRESIDENTIAL AND ELECTABLE candidate. Mitt blows away all the other GOP possible contenders in a recent UNH/WMUR poll. Republican Primary Mitt Romney 40%, everyone else (12 others) 46%. Interesting how Romney matches up with Obama in New Hampshire: General Election Mitt Romney 49% Barack Obama 41%. Remember, Obama beat McCain by 10% in New Hampshire on election night in 2008.

Posted by: AzHombre | February 21, 2011 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Adore the way the prez ignores the Loser GOPers who constantly LIE & Attack him. Too funny! They want to be attacked by the prez so bad they continually attack him & Flotus & are ignored! They'll soon be attacking each other which will be fun to watch...go 2012ers with your loser selves....even Rubin hates them.

Posted by: carolerae48 | February 21, 2011 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps sooner or late the GOP will even STAND UP for the country. Today's To Do list:

1. Finish GOP jobs proposal
2. Finish GOP healthcare proposal
3. Develop alternative to closing country down during a nascent recovery. You break it, you own it.

Posted by: jack824 | February 21, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

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