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Obama’s Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, even more passionately made the president’s straw man argument in a speech before the Democratic National Committee on Saturday night:
“These are our neighbors and friends and family,” she said. “They teach our kids, they risk their lives to keep us safe in our communities. And all they’re asking for is to be treated with respect and dignity. And guess what, folks? All they’re really asking for, these workers, is the opportunity to sit down at the table, like grown-ups, and to work together to solve problems. And that’s what collective bargaining is all about. The fight is on. We help the embattled states right now where public employees are under assault. And we work together and get going.”
The upshot? Republican governors dealing with budget crises are out to get our friends and neighbors. With this kind of emotional provocation, it is no surprise that union protesters have put on such an unhinged display in Madison. Furthermore, Solis’s speech, like the president’s remarks, had very little to do with the real debate that’s taking place in the states, and everything to do with creating a new, more winnable, argument to take its place. The strategy is what we’ve come to expect from the Obama machine: emotionally polarize and direct populous anger toward a caricature of the opposition.
Will this diversionary tactic be successful? Unfortunately for Obama, the state budget crises are all too real to far too many people, and the role that public-sector unions have played in creating and perpetuating those crises is plain to see. The combination of bullying tactics and childish petulance that the left has chosen to employ in this debate may delay the day of reckoning, but won’t avoid it. The situation in Wisconsin is rapidly heading towards a climax. Wisconsin Democrats aren’t doing themselves any favors by running away, with about seventy per cent of the state’s residents supporting the governor’s plan. The longer they shirk their duties, the more foolish they seem. Likewise, the president may continue to try to turn this particular debate into something completely different, but he’s going to find that more and more Americans understand the dangerous community-organizing game he’s trying to play.
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