As for #1... yes, as usual, it's all about Obama. What does it mean for Obama? And his "competing desires"? Good, lord, it sounds like jacket copy for a romance novel.
The battle in Wisconsin over public employee unions has left President Obama facing a tricky balance between showing solidarity with longtime political supporters and projecting a message in favor of deep spending cuts to reduce the debt.What's the best way for Obama to look best? The eternal question. Is there no real Obama? Possibly not!
“This is a Wisconsin story, not a Washington one,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “False claims of White House involvement are attempts to distract from the organic grass-roots opposition that is happening in Wisconsin.”If it's a Wisconsin story, why did Obama horn in on it? He horned in and then backed out. It's this back and forth, trying to get into the right pose to look good later on. It's so difficult for him! (As for "organic grass-roots." Organic! You just know, the Tea Party was commercially grown.) I'd like to know what's really going on! Can't the NYT ferret out some real information about the behind-the-scenes national-level politics reaching into Wisconsin instead of passing along propaganda from Dan Pfeiffer?
Now, if we can tear ourselves away from always-scintillating trials and tribulations of Barack Obama, let's look at the second article...
Union leaders urged Wisconsin teachers to return to work at schools that are open on Monday...But the Madison schools are closed, and there was a big union vote yesterday about that, as I blogged last night. "Nearly 3,000 Madison teachers, staff and family gathered at Monona Terrace," and the press was kicked out. The NYT doesn't mention that — let alone try to find out what went on.
As the protests went on through falling sleet and snow...But hardly anyone was out in the bad weather, as my video, taken yesterday afternoon shows. The continuing protest was indoors, in our posh Capitol building.
As for that indoor crowd, are they Wisconsin school teachers, or are they UW students and teaching assistants? Is it still about the Scott Walker budget, or has it skewed into more generic left-wing causes? Here's the video I took inside yesterday afternoon, and those are the questions that occurred to me.
Why doesn't the NYT dig out some information? Who's involved in the organizing? How are they using Facebook and Twitter to maintain the presence in the Capitol? Who's sleeping there overnight? I photographed a sign on a pillar in the Capitol rotunda that says "talk to the TAA about how we can work together." Does the NYT know or care what the TAA even is let alone its role in organizing the protest?
Democrats in the State Senate, meanwhile, who are in the minority but are needed for a quorum, said Sunday that they intended to remain out of state — and far from the voting chamber — until Republican leaders agree to remove broad collective bargaining restrictions from the proposal to increase workers’ health care and pension costs.Instead of passing along a cheerleader quote from Erpenbach, how about making him tell us who's paying to house the 14 Democratic Senators in Chicago? And I want some investigation into how the protest is playing with voters around the state. Are the protests stirring up support among Wisconsinites or pissing people off? Are people outraged by the teachers taking sickout days? Are working parents struggling to find alternate childcare or leaving kids alone? Do people accept the flexible ethics of doctors giving excuse notes to protesters who called in sick and legislators who don't show up for their jobs? Are people inclined to pursue remedies like impeachment or recall? What would it take to get actual public opinion polls?
“This is not a stunt, it’s not a prank,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach, one of the Democrats who drove away from Madison early Thursday, hours before a planned vote, and would say only that he was in Chicago. “This is not an option I can ever see us doing again, but in this case, it’s absolutely the right thing to do. What they want to do is not the will of the people.”
The weather here is a dreary winter mix, and the reporting drizzling in from New York only adds to slushy mush.