Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:12 AM ET, 02/21/2011

Why do they misbehave?

By Jennifer Rubin

Charles Lane observed over the weekend that in Madison, Wis., "anger and vilification are once again the order of the day -- and the incivility emanates from the progressive end of the spectrum, including, no doubt, many of the same people who blamed right-wing vitriol for creating a climate of violence in Arizona." The tactics of those on the left -- threatening officials in their homes, forcing a shutdown of the state legislature and providing phony doctor's notes to defraud the state (allowing protesting teachers to collect sick pay) -- confirm the inherent anti-democratic nature of the protest, and indeed, of public-employee unions.

Elections mean nothing to the pro-union demonstrators. As Gov. Scott Walker has pointed out, he was quite clear in his campaign about his intention to take on the public-employee unions. The voters put him and a number of Republican lawmakers into office, but the protesters are indifferent to and indeed contemptuous of the voters' will. It's all about the ability to muscle, intimidate and cajole the state. In the private employer-union context, "economic weapons" (primarily for unions, the right to strike) are appropriate tools, but in the public context these tactics substitute the union agenda for the will of the voters.

And it's not surprising we should see this resort to thuggery. In prepared remarks before a debate with David Brooks at the American Enterprise Institute in December, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke about the disintegration of order and civility in Europe as the welfare state unravels:

On the moral side, I find the prospect of irreparable moral damage just as troubling, and I know David does as well. Europe's people have labored under the rock of its welfare state for decades, and now that Europe's debt crisis has lifted the rock, we see the moral ugliness has developed underneath. Turn on the TV and watch French teenagers lobbing Molotov cocktails at each other, burning down cars and schools, and protesting an advancement of the retirement age and reductions in fat pensions they haven't even begun to earn yet. Take a look at British university students shattering windows because they don't want to share the cost of their own educations. Greek mobs murdering bank tellers because their workplace happens also to be a symbol of fiscal reality? Good grief.

We thankfully have not seen that level of violence in Madison, but the dynamic is the same. When the political system can no longer endure the burdens of a ravenous government and citizens reassert control over their government, those who have gorged at the government trough recoil, become desperate and resort to anti-democratic means.

President Obama, by aligning himself with those forces, has taken off his chief executive hat and donned the robes of a community activist. It is unseemly and inappropriate. The country is watching. Voters are not blind to the sight of their elected president and his political organization throwing their lot in with the mob.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 21, 2011; 10:12 AM ET
Categories:  economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Traveling in the West Bank (Part 2)
Next: Mideast uprisings aren't all cut from the same cloth

Comments

There is no entertainment like the entertainment provided by right-wing commentators. This one unabashedly declares: "Elections mean nothing to the pro-union demonstrators. As Gov. Scott Walker has pointed out, he was quite clear in his campaign about his intention to take on the public-employee unions."

I vividly recall the landslide victory of President Obama and the Democrats in 2008, and I vividly recall the record number of filibusters mounted by the minority Republicans to prevent the Dems from achieving exactly the things on which they campaigned, and which led to their landslide victories. I don't remember Jennifer Rubin declaring "Elections mean nothing to the Republicans in Congress." Do you?

Some folks are, in their breathtaking hypocrisy, beneath contempt.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Damn peasants. This country belongs to the billionaires. The lot of these working class swine is to do what they're told and shut up. We ought to just roll in the armored cars and shut them all up. Only the rich should live!

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | February 21, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Filibusters are part of the rules, if the Republicans ran tail during the health care debate then maybe you would have an argument.

Posted by: mlbmedia | February 21, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Filibusters are part of the rules, if the Republicans ran tail during the health care debate then maybe you would have an argument.
******************************
By that logic, preventing a quorum is part of the rules as well, so your point does not hold up.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Elections have consequences? President Obama ran on a platform of bringing all kinds of change to American life and he won. Did the Republican in Congress stand aside quietly and let him pass his agenda?

We praise Americans for their toughness and refusal to quit in a fight, and then express amazement and anger when they actually follow through.

If Governor Walker and his kind succeed in restricting the right of public employees to unionize and bargain for wages and working conditions, then it won't be long before the American people, with the now-common attitude that 'public servants' actually work in servitude rather than service, are placed on the list of worst employers in the country.

Posted by: iowegian | February 21, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Your beloved state of Israel has far higher rates of union membership and every Israeli has heath insurance with businesses paying into a health insurance fund. Yet in America you bash unions and oppose HCR which was quite similar to Dole/Chaffee from 1994. Oh the logic of the neo-con.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 21, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: mlbmedia: Filibusters are part of the rules, if the Republicans ran tail during the health care debate then maybe you would have an argument.
______________

And peaceably assembling to petition the government for a redress of grievances (First Amendment, US Constitution) is not? Right wing hypocrisy abounds.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

If it is legal under Wisconsin law for legislators to prevent a quorum as you seem to suggest, then why did the quorum preventers leave the state?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 21, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This is the same sort of brutal fascism that the New Left used to impose it's agenda on American colleges and universities in the 1960's. The radical Leftists would occupy a building and prevent other students from learning and refuse to vacate the area unless their "non negotiable" demands were met.
In Wisconsin the state government has established democratic ways to achieve it's agenda, usually through compromise. The Democrat legislators and the public service unions have decided to use force instead.
I notice that some writers here refer to how Republicans tried, and failed by the way, to either alter or entirely prevent the passage of Obamacare. True, they tried legal obstructionist tactics, but no Republican abandoned the democratic process or brought thousands of unruly demonstrators into the Capitol building to prevent the Congress or Senate from carrying out it's business.
The radical Left has no moral limits to it's behavior but demands that everyone else follow the rules.
And if anyone needs any further proof as to how hysterically and bitterly some people hate Israel, one fellow, MerrillFrank, even manages to exploit the Israeli labor union and health fund situation as a weapon in his rather silly and irrelevant rant about events in Wisconsin.
That the radical American Left has no morality we all knew, but to drag Israel into this shows just how hate ridden and ridiculous the Left has become.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 21, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Inagua1 If it is legal under Wisconsin law for legislators to prevent a quorum as you seem to suggest, then why did the quorum preventers leave the state.
______________________

Wait. Don't tell me. You actually believe there can be a constitutional law in the state of Wisconsin that prohibits people from leaving the state. Are you posting from USA or a third world country?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker, just like President Bush, first gave away the good financial situation he inherited to the richest of the rich.

Now he wants sacrifice from teachers, firemen, and police to help with the deficit he created.

Conservatives see no moral problem using public servants as punching bags while enriching their wealthy patrons.

Posted by: danw1 | February 21, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Jba peaceful assembly and protest is fine. Shutting down schools on false pretenses in violation of your contract is not. Swearing an oath to uphold the laws of Wisconsin and then leaving the state to hide is not playing by the rules. If it were they wouldn't have to hide out. If the democrat state reps of Wisconsin had any courage they could have stayed in Wisconsin and refused to go to the state capitol,not taking part in the democratic process as they were elected to do. They could have stayed in the state and have been arrested by the Wisc. state troopers and spent some time in jail for dereliction of duty. That at least would have shown they had some conviction in their belief instead of being cowards and hiding.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | February 21, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

I don't know what the law is in Wisconsin regarding elected representatives and their obligation to attend leglislative sessions. I am asking why these leglislators left the state while their place of business is open. Do you know? Why not simply hang out in Madison, but not report to work? Perhaps hold pressers to get their message out? Or otherwise make themselves available to the public?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 21, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A: The point is obviously not whether it is legal for the runaway legislators to leave the state. Duh. You have equated the Senate Republicans use of the filibuster with the Wisconsin Democrats fleeing the state to prevent a quorum. The use of the filibuster is explicitly permitted by Senate rules approved by both parties and used by both parties. The question is if refusing to attend a legislative session is within the rules, why did the Dems need to leave the state? That's the question you have avoided addressing.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

In addition, it's pretty amusing watching the left embrace demonstrations attended by racists who are advocating violence. Racists? Yup. By the rules of the left, any movement or demonstration that fails to include the participation of minorities and that is almost exclusively white is by definition racist in nature. Violent? Check out the signs. Far worse that anything seen at Tea Party rallies.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Filibusters are part of the rules, if the Republicans ran tail during the health care debate then maybe you would have an argument.
******************************
By that logic, preventing a quorum is part of the rules as well, so your point does not hold up.
*******************************
The difference is that the Democrats could have passed different rules that took away the filibuster. They chose not to do this because one day they will once again be in the minority, and be clinging to their only source of power, the filibuster. These are the business rules of the Senate, not Constitutional issues, since the Constitution lets each chamber determine its own busines rules, except for the couple specified ones. What's happening in Wisconsin is that the Democrats are not allowing the legislature to even be in session. The Wisconsin constituion requires X number of legislators to have a quorum to do business, which is a Constitutional issue, not a business one. They are defrauding taxpayers, just as the teachers who called in sick are doing as well, by refusing to do the jobs that the people are paying them to do. They should refund their salaries for the missed days to the taxpayers or be arrested.

Posted by: octopi213 | February 21, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The quorum rule was never intended to enable Democrats to intentionally obstruct the legislative process. It was intended as a protection so that if an act of god (i.e., flood, tornado, fire, etc.) occured to prevent a quorum, then a renegade group of legislators could not impose tyrannical rule.

Leave it to unethical Democrats to pervert the original intent. The means justify the end and all that.

Posted by: Groty1 | February 21, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The Wisconsin constitution requires X number of legislators to have a quorum to do business, which is a Constitutional issue, not a business one.
***************************
And that's a distinction without a difference.

The problem of this column is when Jennifer clutches her pearls in mock horror over the protesters in Wisconsin and says things like they are thwarting the will of the voters, one wonders where Jennifer was after 2008 when the Democrats won an election cycle. I don't recall her columns in Commentary and the like at the time saying that Republicans should honor the will of the voters and let the Democrats enact their agenda, but perhaps I just missed them.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin has a law requiring leglislators to attend sessions, according to the Wisconsin State Democratic Party. That law is the reason the Democratic Senators left the state.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 21, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has followed Jennifer's blogs at Contentions knows that she never argued that Republicans could use extra-judicial means to subvert the large Democratic majority. And she does not seem to be saying that the minority Wisconsin Democrats are not entitled to use the same democratic rules to oppose Gov. Walker in much the same way Republicans in Congress opposed Obama. It's the puerile actions ('I'm taking my marbles and going home" or at least out-of-state) of the Democratic representatives that no one should condone. And yes, state employees are entitled to exercise their First Amendment right to protest - at their own expense. By winking at the deliberate lying by teachers calling in 'sick' so they can enjoy their free speech rights at taxpayers' expense, Democratic officials and fellow travelers show no understanding of the corrosive effects that even 'small-time' corruption can have on society's democratic fabric - particularly by teachers who are a primary source of civic values taught to our children. And they don't seem to care. This is more than a debate about political tactics. This is about the moral underpinnings of our political structure, and once they go the way is greased for far more damage to the body politic.

Posted by: nhrds | February 21, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The Wisconsin constitution requires X number of legislators to have a quorum to do business, which is a Constitutional issue, not a business one.
***************************
And that's a distinction without a difference.

The problem of this column is when Jennifer clutches her pearls in mock horror over the protesters in Wisconsin and says things like they are thwarting the will of the voters, one wonders where Jennifer was after 2008 when the Democrats won an election cycle. I don't recall her columns in Commentary and the like at the time saying that Republicans should honor the will of the voters and let the Democrats enact their agenda, but perhaps I just missed them.
***********************************

Actually, it is an important distinction. Republicans acted legally with their use of the filibuster. The Wisconsin Democrats are acting illegally. The legislature is in session, which demands their presence. This is why they can and should be arrested upon returning to the state.

Posted by: octopi213 | February 21, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the notion that elections have consequences, Walker’s actions are entirely consistent with his campaign. Obama ran on a platform of changing Washington’s ways, ushering in a new era of transparency, posting all bills for five days before signing, etc.

Upon moving into the White House he started acting like the Chicago politician he is. You can argue that it was Pelosi, and to a lesser extent Reid, who started twisting arms and ramming through legislation, but one can’t ignore some of the radicals Obama put into the executive branch. Yes, he did install some of late, but he’s still got a load of radicals in the FCC, NLRB, and the rest of the federal alphabet.

I digress. My only real point is that Wisconsin voters knew what they were getting when they voted for Walker and a GOP legislature. In 2008 voters across the US thought they were getting a new type of politician in Obama, someone who could reach consensus on a whole range of challenges. What they got was completely different.

Posted by: SCMike1 | February 21, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse


2008-2010: Obama and Dems are elected in a landslide on a platform that includes health care reform and tax reform. The minority party in the US Senate uses the filibuster a record number of times to prevent an up or down vote on Democratic legislative proposals, while large numbers of "tea partiers" demonstrate against the legislation.

2010-2011: Republican Scott Walker wins the Wisconsin gubernatorial election by a respectable 124,000 votes on a platform that includes cutting state employee wages and benefits. Democratic Senators leave the state to prevent an up or down vote on GOP legislation intended to elimate state employees unions, while thousands demonstrate against the legislation.

Folks who are very comfortable with hypocrisy decry one of these two phenomena and praise the other. Take a glance at what Jennifer Rubin and her readers have written and see if you can spot some the these folks

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Isn't taking off work and falsely calling in sick grounds for termination? That is, why not just fire all the teachers who showed up Friday, and who show up tomorrow (I assume today was a day off)? And if that isn't grounds for termination, why not revise the bill under discussion by explicitly designating it as one? In other words, delightful as all the squealing of the leftists here and elsewhere is to hear, it's time to up the ante.

Posted by: adam62 | February 21, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

There is no hypocrisy, J_B_A, because there is no comparability. The Wisconsin Democratic State Senators and the teacher demonstators broke the law; the Republican Senators and Tea Party demonstrators did not.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 21, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

What law would that be, Sparky?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A: Here's a corrected version of your 5:11PM post:

2008-2010: Obama and Dems are elected in a landslide on a platform that includes health care reform. Due to the Senate majority’s unprecedented abuse of Senate rules preventing the minority from introducing amendments to pending legislation, the minority party in the US Senate uses the filibuster a record number of times to prevent an up or down vote on Democratic legislative proposals, while large numbers of "tea partiers" demonstrate against the legislation. The Tea Party members are wrongly libeled and vilified by Democrat leaders and the media as racist, un-American, Nazis fomenting violence and responsible for the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords.

2010-2011: Republican Scott Walker wins the Wisconsin gubernatorial election by a respectable 124,000 votes on a platform that includes cutting state employee wages and benefits. In violation of their oath of office, Democratic Senators leave the state to prevent an up or down vote on GOP legislation intended to limit collective bargaining for public sector unions to wages and to end the requirement that all state employees join the union. Meanwhile, with the help of the President’s “Organizing America” arm, thousands of white teachers violate the terms of their contract by taking off from work and closing schools for the children they claim to be representing. They and their supporters protest the legislation by demonstrating in front of the homes of GOP legislators as well as the Capitol and with vicious and uncivil signs fomenting violence against the Governor and the GOP. As there are virtually no minorities among their ranks, the demonstrators are clearly racists.

Folks who are blinded by their ideology and very comfortable with hypocrisy decry one of these two phenomena and praise the other. Take a glance at some of the comments here and see if you can spot some the these folks

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

The senators are breaking the law that requires them to attend legislative sessions. That is why they fled the jurisdiction; they are in violation of state law. Most states have these laws. Remember when the Texas Democrats fled to Oklahoma?

The teacher/demonstrators are breaking the law by failing to report to work. Sick-outs are illegal.

Theses lawbreakers are lucky that Walker has already stated that he will not do to them what Reagan did to the air traffic controllers.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 21, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Whew, the libs (aka "morons" or "moonbats") are being hoisted on their own petard here. Their total dismissal of rightness and justness and legality is brought out into the light for all to see.

This is happening on an even grander scale in Wisconsin. The unionists' lawlessness, contempt for the results of an election, and dismissal of the rights of the people is on display for all the world to see. Inasmuch as the "non-public union" people outnumber the "public unionists" by 10 or 20 to 1 (or much more), the outcome of this fight is certain.

If it gets more bitter before it is concluded, the unions may in fact lose even more than is already prescribed. I mean, Wisconsin could become a "right to work" state (doubtful, but stranger things have happened). That would be a great thing.

Posted by: jafco | February 21, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: paco33 The Tea Party members are wrongly libeled and vilified by Democrat leaders and the media as racist, un-American, Nazis fomenting violence and responsible for the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords.
_____________________

Typical right wing projection. Like Beck declaring Obama a racist; Bennett claiming climate change scientists are out to "blind people"; Palin claiming Couric was "out to get her"; Beck claiming the Soros is a puppet master; Palin claiming to be the victim in the Arizona shootings.

Now we get Tea Party advocates claiming to be the victims of "racist, un-American, Nazis fomenting violence" -- a pretty remarkable claim when you can pull up a thousand photos depicting Tea Party racism, Nazi fomentation, and bigotry with one click of a mouse.

For right wingers with education deficiencies (LOL), the word "projection" refers to a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"Typical right wing projection. Like Beck declaring Obama a racist; Bennett claiming climate change scientists are out to "blind people"; Palin claiming Couric was "out to get her"; Beck claiming the Soros is a puppet master; Palin claiming to be the victim in the Arizona shootings."

What a bizarre collection of references, obviously gathered from Media Matters or some other silly Leftist site. Beck's claim about Obama was a stretch--Obama merely plays on racial resentments--and he retracted it; if Bennett was charging the global warmists with an attempt to deceive... well, what's you point?; Palin was probably wrong about Couric, but what are you comparing it to--calling political opponents racists and Nazis?; Beck on Soros... what's your point?; and Palin was a victim of false accusations following the Tucson shootings (with all your supposed erudition, or at least your access to the DSM Manual or dictionary, you can't even frame her argument close to accurately). Interestingly, the accusations against Palin was that she was inciting violence, precisely what you claim is "projection," but was advanced prominently by myriad prominent Leftists. I wonder--do you really deny that Palin was so accused?

"you can pull up a thousand photos depicting Tea Party racism, Nazi fomentation, and bigotry with one click of a mouse."

Then you should be able to provide a couple (authentic ones, please, not a couple of hanger-ons at some demonstration)right away. Let's see them.


Posted by: adam62 | February 21, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Nothing hysterical here. All I am pointing out is that if you support the state of Israel and all that it entails would you also support Israelies right to join a union and the right of it's citizens to have health insurance and not go broke when they get sick. Most other industrial nations manage to do this for their citizens, Why not America?

And if anyone needs any further proof as to how hysterically and bitterly some people hate Israel, one fellow, MerrillFrank, even manages to exploit the Israeli labor union and health fund situation as a weapon in his rather silly and irrelevant rant about events in Wisconsin.
That the radical American Left has no morality we all knew, but to drag Israel into this shows just how hate ridden and ridiculous the Left has become.

Posted by: Beniyyar

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 21, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A: That's it!? That's all you've got!? LOL is right.

diversion: something that is intended to take someone’s attention away from something that you do not want them to concentrate on or notice.

arrogance: behavior that shows that you think you are better or more important than other people.

"a thousand photos depicting Tea Party racism, Nazi fomentation, and bigotry with one click of a mouse": Yea, right. I'll tell you what, for every Tea Party photo from the last year and a half I'll show you two from this week in Madison.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Due to the Senate majority’s unprecedented abuse of Senate rules preventing the minority from introducing amendments to pending legislation, the minority party in the US Senate uses the filibuster a record number of times to prevent an up or down vote on Democratic legislative proposals,
*****************
This is a joke, right? Do you think Republicans allowed an open amendment process for major legislation when they controlled the Senate? Because guess what, they didn't!

And if you think the Republicans filibustered because of the amendment process, you are completely naive. They filibustered just like Democrats filibustered when Republicans controlled the Senate and President Bush was in the White House, for political reasons, and the occasional policy disagreement.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

With all the battles in recent years over Iraq, health care, the economy, Gitmo, etc., how interesting that we have gotten to the single Gordian knot tying the Left to the body politic: the public employee unions. The panic of the Left can't be argued away--they know their collective life is at stake here. The public employee unions extract money from their members, donate that money to the politiciams who will then "negotiate" with them, and in turn get more money from their members, etc. It's a perfect vicious circle--a veritable money laundering scheme by the Democratic Party. And the 2009 stimulus bill was simply this same vicious circle on monster steriods. And now it's all out in the open. Think about it--if the public employee unions are busted, what do the Democrats have left? Who gives them money (once they start losing elections regularly, kiss Wall Street donations goodbye)? Who staffs their fake demonstrations? Who intimidates their political enemies? Who gets out their vote? And if the Democrats are busted, what does the Left have? Their entire strategy over the past few decades has been predicated on infiltrating the Democrats--on buying it up, as Kos once bragged. Once that shell is cracked, who listens to them--who does their bidding? Who carries their talking points? All of them--the enivironmentalists most of all--will find themselves out in the cold, with no way back in. I know, I'm a bit overly giddy, but I only hope that least some, especially well situated Republicans, understand what has been served up to them here.

Posted by: adam62 | February 21, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Mustang79: No it isn't a joke. Care to back-up your assertion that the Dems only did what the GOP had done? If the refusal to allow amendments weren't tied to filibusters, why was that the basis of the deal between Reid and McConnell limiting filibusters for an enhanced amendment process. And I find it telling that of all the things I said in that post re: Madison that this is the issue you focused on.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Mustang79: And unlike you, I'll back up my point: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/27/us-usa-senate-rules-idUSTRE70Q9B420110127

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances that Rubin lifted the line "And it's not surprising we should see this resort to thuggery" straight out of the corporate propaganda of the robber baron era? 100%?

For right wingers with education deficiencies (LOL), the term "robber baron" is commonly used in USA to refer to late 19th century uber-weathy industrialists -- often monopolists -- who habitually used violence, police and government agencies under their control, to suppress the labor movement. Thanks in part to one of the great GOP Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt -- and no thanks to the corporate US Supreme Court of the early 1900s -- the corporate exploitation of workers was ultimately curtailed. Then came RR . . . but that's another story.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

@adam62 | February 21, 2011 8:26 PM

Great post. You've hit the nail on the head with that one. Lose this battle, and the Dems are in the position of the Confederacy following Gettysberg: it's all over but the shouting and copious blood and tears. The end is coming, but it won't be as humane as Appomattox.

They'll see the conservatives shut off the power and take out the meter, acting to destroy all the incentives the left has built to promulgate and extend itself - the NGOs, the environmental non-profits, the university cadre of fellow travelers, the warped scientific funding process, etc. When those things start to happen, the US will undergo an economic boom - and I suspect , a cultural transformation - unlike anything seen so far.

Posted by: jafco | February 21, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Mustang79: No it isn't a joke. Care to back-up your assertion that the Dems only did what the GOP had done? If the refusal to allow amendments weren't tied to filibusters, why was that the basis of the deal between Reid and McConnell limiting filibusters for an enhanced amendment process. And I find it telling that of all the things I said in that post re: Madison that this is the issue you focused on.
*********************
I just thought it was an easy point to refute without much effort.

The Republicans and Democrats are political actors. If you think Republicans were filibustering for two years solely because of the amendment process, then more power to you. In the reality I live in, that seems naive.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Adam62: Not that you need my confirmation but it is, of course, exactly as you describe. I have worked for both Dems and Republicans and what the Dems do with the public unions is a "Sopranos"-style protection racket/money laundering scheme with Enron/Madoff accounting. Finally, it's time to pay the piper. Are we going the way of Greece or are we going to force government to operate in a less corrupt and self-serving manner.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"They'll see the conservatives shut off the power and take out the meter, acting to destroy all the incentives the left has built to promulgate and extend itself - the NGOs, the environmental non-profits, the university cadre of fellow travelers, the warped scientific funding process, etc. When those things start to happen, the US will undergo an economic boom - and I suspect , a cultural transformation - unlike anything seen so far. "

This is my most fervent hope. I am still desperately seeking conservative politicans who seem capable of following through, but perhaps a few more have come into view over the past couple of years. Anyway, let's not forget the accelerating senility of the Left/Liberal media, which should gradually make the shrieks of the dying Left just some bizarre background noise easily ignored.

Posted by: adam62 | February 21, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Mustang: You are absolutely right about both parties being political actors. I am a conservative, not a Republican, and the GOP has been guilty of plenty of duplicity and self-dealing over the years. Among its other priorities, the Tea Party is an attempt to force the GOP to act more consistently with its conservative roots. I don't think that the GOP was filibustering solely because of the amendment process. Clearly that was not the case. But I would argue, and can support, the view that they filibustered as much as they did because of how Reid treated them. And I am curious (really) if the Dems were just following the procedures that were also followed by the GOP and am interested in any info you have to support that.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

If you are curious, then do research on the topic.

Start with 2005 when the GOP tried to end the use of the filibuster, because it did not serve their purposes at the time, and Bill Frist was not particularly interested in Democratic complaints about the process. But seriously, Republican complaints about the amendment process are a joke. They just want to deny a Democratic President legislative victories, and then use that as a campaign issue in 2012. This isn't news. Mitch McConnell has said his goal is to assure that Obama is a one term President, so that kind of causes me to take the rest of his complaints with a grain of salt.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Mustang: I didn't think you could support your comment that the Dems are merely continuing the amendment process set by the GOP when they had the majority.

Posted by: paco33 | February 21, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Mustang: I didn't think you could support your comment that the Dems are merely continuing the amendment process set by the GOP when they had the majority.
*********
If you are so certain you are correct, prove me wrong.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 21, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I applaud the corporatist governor of Wisconsin for drawing his line in the sand. He has made it crystal clear that he is the enemy of rank and file Americans, and that we are his. No corporatist propaganda, no Fox News talking points, no Jennifer Ruben fables, can conceal this campaign against working class American. This is the Rubicon. This is the hill to die on.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 21, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Personally, I applaud the corporatist governor of Wisconsin for drawing his line in the sand. He has made it crystal clear that he is the enemy of rank and file Americans, and that we are his. No corporatist propaganda, no Fox News talking points, no Jennifer Ruben fables, can conceal this campaign against working class American. This is the Rubicon. This is the hill to die on."

At last, common ground! Yes, you "rank and file Americans," whatever that means, we normal, taxpaying, private sector job-holding, Constitution-supporting and law abiding Americans are your enemies, and more and more of us see this as a decisive turning point, a chance to disable liberalism, our American version of statism, once and for all. And calling us "corporatist" (or any of the other names from the old Communist, socialist, Alinskyist, etc., playbooks) isn't going to slow us down for a minute. You have made your hill, go ahead and die on it.

Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

You and J_B_A both overstate the significance of this. Public sector union power will be checked, but far from broken. The body politic is in effect saying, "This much and no more." And what public sector employees already have is an enormous advantage over "rank and file" private sector employees. Wake me up when public sector employees are put into 401-ks like most workers.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 22, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: adam62: we normal, taxpaying, private sector job-holding, Constitution-supporting and law abiding Americans are your enemies, and more and more of us see this as a decisive turning point, a chance to disable liberalism, our American version of statism, once and for all. And calling us "corporatist" (or any of the other names from the old Communist, socialist, Alinskyist, etc., playbooks) isn't going to slow us down for a minute.
_____________

Let me think a moment. Do I pay taxes? Yes.
Do I have a private sector job? Not now, but did for 40 years.
Do I support the US Constitution? I have actually solemnly sworn to uphold it.
Do I know the US Constitution? Backwards and forwards, as well as pretty much every US Supreme Court decision interpreting it, including the Citizens United disaster.
Do I obey the law? Yes. (True disclosure: I sometimes exceed the speed limit.)

Now come the transcendent moral questions:

Do I hate greed? Yes.
Do I hate hypocrisy? Yes.
Do I hate mendacity? Yes.
Do I hate racism? Yes.
Do I hate bigotry? Yes.
Do I hate homophobia? Yes.
Do I hate selfishness? Yes.
Do I hate militarism? Yes.
Do I hate jingoism? Yes.
Do I hate wanton acts of physical violence? Yes.
Do I hate mankind's exploitation and destruction of planet Earth? Yes.
Do I hate efforts to use government to control personal, private decisions. Yes.

How much common ground do you reckon we have now, adam62?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 22, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Adam,

You and J_B_A both overstate the significance of this. Public sector union power will be checked, but far from broken. The body politic is in effect saying, "This much and no more." And what public sector employees already have is an enormous advantage over "rank and file" private sector employees. Wake me up when public sector employees are put into 401-ks like most workers. "

You may be right--I've been speaking of the implications of a decisive defeat for the public sector unions but you're right to point out that that may not be what is happening here. Still, aside from the "I can dream, can't I" element of commenting on a blog, the Wisconsin law would cut pretty deep--if they can't compel members to pay dues, and the workers get to vote on the union annually, and the range of issues subjected to collective bargaining is severely restricted (so that it may not be worth workers' while to support the union and issues of work rules and disciplinary procedures are in management's hands) then it seems to me that a serious de-fanging is in process.

Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"Adam,

You and J_B_A both overstate the significance of this. Public sector union power will be checked, but far from broken. The body politic is in effect saying, "This much and no more." And what public sector employees already have is an enormous advantage over "rank and file" private sector employees. Wake me up when public sector employees are put into 401-ks like most workers. "

You may be right--I've been speaking of the implications of a decisive defeat for the public sector unions but you're right to point out that that may not be what is happening here. Still, aside from the "I can dream, can't I" element of commenting on a blog, the Wisconsin law would cut pretty deep--if they can't compel members to pay dues, and the workers get to vote on the union annually, and the range of issues subjected to collective bargaining is severely restricted (so that it may not be worth workers' while to support the union and issues of work rules and disciplinary procedures are in management's hands) then it seems to me that a serious de-fanging is in process.

Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"How much common ground do you reckon we have now, adam62?"

It's impossible to tell, since we'd have to go through the meanings we respectively attribute to each of your assertions and that's not really what the comment section of a blog is for--anyway, I certainly don't "hate" all of the things you mention, since several of them, like selfishness, hypocrisy and jingoism
seem to me quite normal and forgivable human foibles and in the case of jingoism nothing more than the excess of a virtue; but whatever common ground we might have as humans or humanists, we certainly can't both occupy the same "hill" your previous comment alluded to. But perhaps you mean to accuse me of all the those terrible things by virtue of my Republicannness, whereas I'm taking you to, albeit saracastically, resist my "othering" of you. It's hard to tell. But you are the one who identified yourself as a "rank and file American," i.e., used the affectionate term for union solidarity, and by implication used that term to define "Americanness." And I reject that completely. Unions are not anti-American, and for a time they had an important role in American society, politics and culture, even if that role has faded and will continue to, but public sector unions are something else altogether. They are, as George Will once said, the government organized as an interest group, that is, organized against the rest of us. That inevitably undermines government's basic purpose, and erodes our freedoms. So, yes, the "rank and file Americans" must be removed from every last bunker.

Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

A putative de-fanging in one state is a start, and the political power may no longer be ascendant, but the gap between public and private sector employees, especially in the benefit area, remains huge and largely unaddressed, with frightful budgetary implications for decades to come.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 22, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't accuse you of anything. I will say that several things on my list of hates -- which, by the way, omitted "cruelty," "injustice," "pitilessness," and several other obscenities -- are most definitely attributes, in varying degrees, of persons on one side of the political spectrum. That judgment is, in my experience, ineluctably correct.

I assume your reference to "government's basic purpose" is intended to convey the usual view of the right that purports to justify any amount of human suffering, including among Americans, while at the same time decrying any thought about limiting military spending. Again, right wing hypocrisy abounds. The purported animosity toward government on the right is, of course, limited to animosity toward the federal government in its effort "to form a more perfect union." Right wingers never have a problem with government when it executes a (putative) criminal or tells a woman what to do with her body.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 22, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"I don't accuse you of anything. I will say that several things on my list of hates -- which, by the way, omitted "cruelty," "injustice," "pitilessness," and several other obscenities -- are most definitely attributes, in varying degrees, of persons on one side of the political spectrum. That judgment is, in my experience, ineluctably correct.

I assume your reference to "government's basic purpose" is intended to convey the usual view of the right that purports to justify any amount of human suffering, including among Americans, while at the same time decrying any thought about limiting military spending. Again, right wing hypocrisy abounds. The purported animosity toward government on the right is, of course, limited to animosity toward the federal government in its effort "to form a more perfect union." Right wingers never have a problem with government when it executes a (putative) criminal or tells a woman what to do with her body."


Well, like I (and you) said, I'm very happy to have all this out in the open. Thank goodness that whole "civility" fad didn't catch on! I'm always torn in such arguments, because I see plenty of advantages in having your enemy think cruel, merciless, etc. The Left throws these epithets in order to psych themselves up, but it may be they end up psyching themselves out.

"Adam,

A putative de-fanging in one state is a start, and the political power may no longer be ascendant, but the gap between public and private sector employees, especially in the benefit area, remains huge and largely unaddressed, with frightful budgetary implications for decades to come."

Yes, of course, but let's acknowledge our victories at least so that we can establish them as precedents. Not that we have won in WI yet.

Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The Left throws these epithets in order to psych themselves up, but it may be they end up psyching themselves out.

Wrong. The left throws them out because they are true. But don’t be disappointed about it. The right embraces them for exactly the same reason. That exactly why there is humor in George Carlin’s line about Republicans -- “they’re in it for the money.”

Posted by: J_B_A | February 22, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

It will be a very small victory consisting of merely halting the growth in the compensation gap between public and private employees in one state. Meaningful victory would be if public employees were to receive the same type of defined contribution retirement benefits that most private sector employees receive. Only then could public employee costs be known and controlled.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 22, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"Adam,

It will be a very small victory consisting of merely halting the growth in the compensation gap between public and private employees in one state. Meaningful victory would be if public employees were to receive the same type of defined contribution retirement benefits that most private sector employees receive. Only then could public employee costs be known and controlled. "

Before that can happen the power of the public sector unions must be broken. I am heartened that Gov. Walker, and presumably others, seems to realize that.

"The Left throws these epithets in order to psych themselves up, but it may be they end up psyching themselves out.

Wrong. The left throws them out because they are true. But don’t be disappointed about it. The right embraces them for exactly the same reason. That exactly why there is humor in George Carlin’s line about Republicans -- “they’re in it for the money.” "

This is starting to get funny--unfortunately I don't have time for it. I have been suspecting that you might be an Iowahawk parody, especially with your definitions of pseudo-clinical terms for the benighted. But I understand: you hate us because we are deserving of hatred; we hate you because we are sick, twisted beings. Thanks for clearing that up! Another lesson in political philosophy.


Posted by: adam62 | February 22, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@J_B_A

Read the Wisconsin Constitution, Article IV Sections 7 (Compulsory Attendance) and Section 28 (Oath of office) - they are in violation of their oaths as they have been compelled to return.

Filibusters are established as part of the 'rules' of the Senate, not part of the 'constitution'. They are not the same.

And yes, they can be arrested and returned to their home state once a they have been compelled to return. This is why they have ONLY fled to states with Democratic governors.

Good grief - become better educated to understand how government works instead of just making things up to match your agenda.

Posted by: av63kts | February 22, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Some people are really obtuse. It make absolutely no difference what the Wisconsin constitution says about compulsory attendance. The United States Constitution guarantees US citizens the right to travel, and therefore there cannot be a constitutional law in the state of Wisconsin, or any other state, that prohibits legislator from leaving the state.

Try not to watch so much Fox News.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 22, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

... Listen closely J_B_A and try to stay on topic. This isn't about 'restricting travel', it's about failure to fulfill a sworn oath of duty. *That* is why they would be arrested and returned to the state to fulfill that oath of duty.

Try to read once in a while. I know it's tough, and those legal documents can contain a lot of 'big' words. But it's what's required to participate in conversations with the grown-ups.

Feigning argumentative strength by waxing irrelevant 'core-values' rhetoric (like 'this is about citizens right to travel freely' - ) makes you come off as a regurgitating sock puppets minion of the info-tainers (take your pick, right or left).

Posted by: av63kts | February 23, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

btw J_B_A: Any time you want to compare voting records for the past 10 years (Executive, Legislative, State and Issues) - more than happy to engage on that.

Then we'll see who is truly an 'independent' IN ACTION vs a liberal / conservative hiding behind the moniker of 'Independent' simply to strengthen their point of view.

Posted by: av63kts | February 23, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company