On Wisconsin, Obama Appeals to Fear

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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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  • Lenny

    Howcome there was no choice to vote thumbs down on this ridiculous article that distorted the situation completely and came up with a completely bogus charge about Obama using "classic community organizing tactics." Just a right wing screed so full of distortions it's hard to even know where to start. i'm not going to waste my time – just registering one man's opinion.

    • ConstantineXI

      Sounds like Lenny is emotionally having a hard time admitting that his hero Barack Hussein Obama is a failure.

    • USMCSniper

      Obama can’t come and march with you folks in Wisconsin cause his own Federal “Union” Employees don’t have any Collective Bargaining Rights whatsoever!
      Oh how I love to watch the webs that you and your Liberal Democrats weave. Seems they get all tangled up in their own deceptions. It must have taken a whole lot of money to get Obama elected. I am guessing Union Money along with that of the Communists as they continue to pull the Puppets strings. Joe Biden was absolutely correct when he stated the Presidency is no place for on the job training. How is it that a highly educated and intelligent man can become President and behave so stupidly? Perhaps the education part was trumped up just a tad. Of course we will never know for sure since the records have been sealed.

    • sudmuf

      Ahhh Lenny…..The one thing Liberals hate most is the truth.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    Gov Walker should carry out his threat to start laying off public employees. On the national level, Republicans in Congress should prepare to shut the federal government down in the absence of real spending cuts.

    This ISN'T 1995. Our debt problems are MUCH more severe today…and the public is up to speed. Let's get on with it!

    • Jim_C

      It's an interesting situation because I think its long term outcome will be an important bellewether of public political sentiment. If he is actually able to improve the fiscal health of the state and not just provide breaks and gifts for his donors, it will have a huge domino effect, and the American people will be behind it.

      Personally I don't see how he survives this, politically, esp. in Wisconsin, but I admire the courage.

  • chuck227

    C’mon Gov Walker, time to go PATCO on these guys!

  • Ollie

    You NAILED it! Great analysis.

    • geez

      Thanks Ollie. 2012 can't g!

      • geez

        Oops, darn left thumb…. what I was saying was, 2012 can't get here soon enough!

  • Jim_C

    If the issue is the legitmacy of public sector unions (which also exist in states dominated by Republicans btw), there's a lot of merit to arguments against. Unions, as we all know, can be an impediment to improvement (though in fairness they can also be a partner). But there's a reason the public hasn't turned against Scott Walker–yet.

  • pianoforte54

    I listen to Rush, and he does not single out "teachers" as being greedy or the only problem. It is the ENTIRE public sector that is being talked about here. And please, Jim, tell me of ANY company that was run into the ground and someone got compensated with a huge bonus and is STILL in business. No company is run into the ground and gives tout huge bonuses because of it. What do you have against big business?
    And speaking about schools. money has been thrown at them for decades now and our children are dumber than they have ever been. Granted, they may feel good about themselves (I don't think so) but they can't even read at acceptable grade levels and graduate being completely illiterate.

    • Jim_C

      Pianoforte, if getting rid of unions can actually help bring state spending in line AND improve the education system, great. I just haven't yet heard a reality-based, non-impressionistic argument for how the first thing will actually beget the other. I've seen a lot of Fox over the last week, and there's a lot of ignorant teacher-bashing going on. Haven't listened to Rush recently but he's consistent on that topic.

      People love to say "Our schools are failing," but they never seem to mention their own kids. Ever wonder why that is? Does every conservative homeschool, or pony up for tuition somewhere? Hmmm…

      Compared to what countries are our schools failing? OK, now ask yourself: Do those countries have public education systems? To what factors do you attribute their success? What do you think the single greatest of those factors is?

      • trickyblain

        –Compared to what countries are our schools failing? OK, now ask yourself: Do those countries have public education systems? To what factors do you attribute their success? What do you think the single greatest of those factors is?—

        Excellent points, Jim! And don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. Facts are inconveinent; rhetoric is reality to many of the folks here.

        • USMCSniper

          PISA, first administered in 2000, covers reading, math and science. But each time the test is given, it focuses in depth on one subject. Last year's exam spotlighted science, covering concepts in physics, chemistry, biology and earth and space science. On the science portion, U.S. students, most of them 10th-graders, received an average score of 489 on a 1,000-point scale, 11 points below the average of the 30 countries. Canada, Japan and Korea were among the countries in which students outperformed U.S. counterparts. U.S. students were on par with peers in eight countries and outperformed those from five others. In math, only four countries had average scores lower than the United States. Students in 23 countries had a higher average score, and those in two countries did about the same as the Americans. The ranking of U.S. students in math and science is 25th, the same as it was in 2003.

          • trickyblain

            The rankings aren't in question, Sniper. I think Jim's point was that those nations you list ALL have nearly exclusive public educational systems.

          • Jim_C

            And the fact that they are ALL public systems is only part of the point. What these intellectually dishonest complainers never ask themselves is WHY do those countries with exclusively public systems succeed, while ours lags behind? It can't be "liberal indoctrination," since all these countries are all unacceptably socialist.

            But you're right–I won't hold my breath waiting for another uninformed opinion.

          • Jim_C

            That they are all public systems is only part. To what would our conservative friends attribute these countries' success? These are all countries that would be unacceptably socialist in tenor for our friends.

          • BoogiesDaddy

            "Compared to what countries are our schools failing?"
            I do believe that opens the door to observing the rankings. Or is this where you move the target?
            The legitimate existence of a publicly financed education system is what is not in question.

            The real issue seems to be the wisdom of allowing public servants to be subjected to mandatory unionization and have a compulsory extraction of their money, by way of forced union dues, which in turn is used to elect Democrats who in return kick back lucrative public worker wage and benifit packages not available to the taxpayers who can no longer afford to pay for it.

            F.D.R. and Jimmy Carter were on this one. it is a conflict of interest.

  • SandezRey

    Why can't we villify public employees? Public school teachers make between 40 and 70K per year in salery anouther 20 to 35K in benefits in exchange 8 & 1/2 months work. Instead of gratitude for this, they whine constantly about being underpaid and unappreciated. Then they insist that thier work not be judged or graded and that they will not be fired no matter how incompetent. Here in Minneapolis a public school teacher-female- got stinking drunk and assaulted a stranger in a White Castle, BITING a piece off his ear! She wasn't fired! Her contract was up in two months, so the district put this deranged woman on two months of PAID leave because it was EASIER than firing her! But anyone who suggests any part of this system be changed is smeared by the teachers amoral reps. as 'attacking ' kids or 'against' education or drowning puppies or what ever lie they think they can get away with. So why should anyone think teachers ( as a group) are anything BUT selfish, grasping bores with no concern for what is best for the children or society as a whole.
    And don't even get me started on how DUMB some of these teacher are.

    • Jim_C

      Hello? Nobody whined about anything until they were told their bargaining rights were going to be taken away.

      • jay

        A 5 year old used to eating candy before bed will whine when that "right" is taken away.

        The point you're missing is it was a "right" that shouldn't have been given in the first place, so for them to make a claim that it is "unfair" that they're "losing" this "right" is a bit silly.

        Given how public sector spending has exploded the last few decades, and you can't point to one example at a national level where we are getting what we paid for, is reason enough to cut. Make due with less, and if you don't like it you can work in the real world with the rest of the non-parasites.

        BTW – It is not an insult to a parasite when you describe it as such, it's merely stating fact. Public sector spending growing at the expense of the host (taxpayers), perfect analogy.

        • Jim_C

          What is this about "rights?" These are contracts. Look, public sector spending isn't the fault of these people, it's the fault of those promising negotiated-for money and then spending it elsewhere.

          You know a parasite is someone who does nothing and expects something in return, right? These "freeloaders" (as Rush calls them) actually provide a valuable service to our communities. You'd never call them "parasite" to their face, because you're naturally a coward. Now the guys on Wall Street, who gambled with your money, lost it, and made out like bandits–I guess these guys are just too rich to be called parasites, right? Nah–your "outrage" is for the person making $50,000 and benefits next door who gets "summers off."

          • BoogiesDaddy

            Public workers who threaten "strike or more money, benifits" absolutely ARE responsible for the resulting costs.

  • Wesley69

    Typical Saul Alinsky Tactic at which the Community Organizer-in-Chief is good at.

    Let's be clear, there is no right to collective bargaining. It is not a fundamental right in the Constitution. It is granted by government. It can be taken away by government. At a time, it was needed. But even FDR recognized the danger of government employees organizing.

    In Wisconsin, when there was collective bargaining, the teachers union sat at the table, Democrat politicans sat at the table. As Obama’s Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis says, "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." But there should be a third seat at this table. This should be the taxpayer's seat!!!!!

    But, where are the taxpayers??? They were suppose to be represented by the government, but the politicans were only to happy to vote higher salaries, perks and pensions, all paid for by the taxpayer. In return, the politicans got votes, union endorsement and campaign money. For a long time, both the unions and Democrat politicans were making out like bandits, but now the day of reckoning is here.

    So, I ask, is this a fair system???? Naturally, Labor says Governor Walker is trying to break the unions. I would say, Walker is representing the Wisconsin taxpayer, who finally sits at the table. It is time to change the system. It is time to bail out the taxpayer.

  • Jim_C

    Did someone elect those politicians at the table, or did they magically appear? Did Wisconsin just recently discover Republicans?

    No, collective bargaining is not a Constitutional right and can be taken away. Yes, Wisconsin can elect representatives to do just that. And taxpayers can also elect those who support unions and collective bargaining. So who wasn't represented?

    • BoogiesDaddy

      The good news is that the non-public sector majority (taxpayers) are being represented NOW.

  • WRY

    What's the surprise. Obama told us during his campaign he was "WITH" SEIU and would fight for them. He is fighting for them. Opposing government unions was one of the few things FDR and Carter got right. Doesn't anyone see this heading toward "everyone" becoming a unionized government employee? It's called communism, or in the euphemism of today, "state capitalism."

  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    That’s right the unions are calling for a boycott of small businesses.
    Many small businesses that have been targeted (oops I used the word targeted. I guess its okay the unions are doing it) because some of the owners and staff in small business have donated to Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Party in Wisconsin. http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/forums/index.p

  • BoogiesDaddy

    Bill O'Reilley as well as Sean Hannity spent a lot of time focused on the Wall Street corruption issues when it was a current news topic.
    I suppose they are focused on the relationship between the public employees unions, state budgets and the Democratic party now because THAT is the current news topper.