Sunday, January 2, 2011

You Can’t Scare Me...

It’s a new year with the GOP having a majority in the House of Representatives.  The Democrats continue to have a majority in the Senate and the last time I looked, there is a Democrat in the White House.  However, the Republicans are acting as if they controlled the whole shebang and the msm is letting them get away with the myth.  (I’m afraid that Obama has fallen into that pit, too.  Let’s hope that his Hawaiian vacation has given him a second wind and some starch in his spine.)
Meanwhile, when we look at the state governor’s mansions, we find that the country has turned to the right.  We begin this new year with 29 Republican governors, 20 Democratic governors and one Independent (Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.)  [Here]  While we were focused on health care, START, and the extension of unemployment benefits, GOP governors campaigned on reducing taxes, which is always a popular idea, particularly in economic hard times.  And many of the campaigning GOP gubernatorial candidates focused on state workers and their unions to shovel loads of blame upon, calling them “greedy.”
David Dayen at FireDogLake [Here] has predicted that governors such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin will work hard to break existing union contracts.  Governor-elect Walker has promised to bring public employees “into line” by cutting, cutting, cutting.  
In Wisconsin’s lame duck session the Democrats worked hard to pass new contracts, which, while not very beneficial to state workers, at least did not slash wages and benefits.  The Democrats failed, and their lame duck session is a shining example of dysfunction and ineptitude and pure stupidity.  Here is a brief description by Monica Davey of the NYTimes:  [The emphasis is mine.]
In the end, the [Wisconsin] State Assembly approved most of the contracts by a single vote, one that was cast, Republicans complain bitterly, by a legislator who had been permitted to travel to Madison to vote though he was serving a jail sentence (with work-release privileges) for driving under the influence of an intoxicant.  But a tie in the State Senate — thanks, in part, shockingly to a “no” vote from the Democrats’ own majority leader — meant the contracts failed.  (The leader, Russ Decker of Schofield, who had already lost his re-election bid, was then deposed by his caucus.)
Incredible, eh?   Some of this gives us a sense of the problems that the Wisconsin Democratic Party has experienced and partly explains why Russ Feingold lost re-election.  Maybe Russ can wrestle some sense into this obvious chaos when he goes home in January.
State unions are sitting ducks for conservative Republicans.  We’ll hear more in the coming months about state employee pension plans which the GOP wants to meddle with.  Already, House Republicans are proposing to change the name of the Committee on Education and Labor to the Education and Workforce Committee. [Here]  See how cleverly they have deunionized it?
We are seeing the slow but focused and persistent attempt to dismember a major support system of the Democratic party that was originally forged by FDR.  I hope that Obama and Co. realize that there is no way that unionization can or should ever be negotiated into oblivion on a “bipartisan” basis.
Remember that old Woody Guthrie song, “Union Maid"” [Here]
You can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,
I'm sticking to the union until I die. 
It makes a pretty fine marching song, doesn’t it?...

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