February 28, 2011

"Even allies backpedal from Walker's extremism" says a headline in the Madison newspaper The Capital Times.

This is a political analysis piece written by the newspaper's editor Paul Fanlund, and I just can't figure out how the headline is justified. The piece begins with a cite to the NYT Magazine's profile of Chris Christie, which got me running over there to find out what Christie said about Walker. The author of that piece — Matt Bai — discusses Walker:
Now a new class of governors from both parties is promising to revisit union contracts in order to put their states on firmer fiscal ground. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker, an aggressive new Republican governor, just proposed legislation that would limit the rights of public workers to collectively bargain. “You can’t have one group who are the haves,” Walker told me recently, meaning government workers, “and one group, the private-sector workers, who are the have-nots.” Walker’s move led to protests in Madison, drawing President Obama into the debate and raising the prospect of French-style labor uprisings among public workers across America.
In part, the viral movement against public-sector unions is a result of political necessity. In states all over the country, balancing the budget has become an annual exercise in Copperfield-like illusion...
I don't see Christie backing away from Walker.

(And as for Matt Bai's "drawing President Obama into the debate" — I think Obama is keeping his distance!)

48 comments:

shoutingthomas said...

Fanlund's "proof" that Walker is extreme is a series of quotes from the prank phone call.

That's some proof.

john bord said...

To be fully expected, create a rift by disinformation, divide and conquer, very good tactic. They will do what they can to create divisions and what better way then to imply splits.

Rick Caird said...

What are you gonna do, when "informed comment" devolves into "wishful thinking". When it comes from the editor, it indicts the whole paper.

Reagan said...

We cannot and will not rest if there are haves and have-nots in our society. In our society, all must be have-nots except the elite "job creators" and their political hacks. These unions have, err, made it really difficult for the Koch Brothers and their buddies to make more money, they are suffering under the hand of big government, ya know?

The creation of have-nots must not cease until the disparity between rich and poor is as wide as possible without fomenting violent revolution. At a minimum, people with a college education should not have a good pension, that is outrageous!! Allowing them to collectively bargain is an affront to all humanity.

Lincolntf said...

Not satisfied with re-writing history, the Left has taken on re-writing the present.
Screw 'em. Nobody with a brain gives a fuck what The Capital Times says.


wv: pitymen

I pitymen who have sold their souls to the foul and corrupt Unions.

Kevin said...

It will go easier for taxpayers once they realize that the Permanent Political Class has no intention of relinquishing control of the state, and that mere elections are irrelevant.

Submit, serfs!

Sofa King said...

I'm guessing this paper is where Garage gets his news.

shoutingthomas said...

This is a nice bit from the editorial:

Behind the walls where he avoids all critics, Walker may see Ronald Reagan in the mirror. But many of us see a stubborn and incurious reflection of George W. Bush, with a touch less humanity.

When in doubt, invoke W.

I'll bet this Fanlund guy was really a big fan of Reagan back when Reagan was a governor and president. Well, no, I'll bet he was calling Reagan a moron.

What in the hell is going on here with Democrats suddenly praising Reagan as a moderate Republican they admire?

Do they really think anybody buys that bullshit?

Hagar said...

Well, I am sure the President will have something to say about this; right after he decides what his position should be, or have been, regarding piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Henry said...

That profile of Christie is worth reading. It's very positive, esp. considering the source.

Apparently, even his enemies are attracted to Christie's extremism.

The problem for the unions is that they're out of plank. The best they can hope for with all their threats and grandstanding is to delay the inevitable.

shoutingthomas said...

Reagan, your comment was completely incoherent.

I haven't got a clue what you were trying to say.

Want to try again?

Kevin said...

What in the hell is going on here with Democrats suddenly praising Reagan as a moderate Republican they admire?

Just following the ancient journalistic convention: the only good Republican is a dead Republican...

ricpic said...

What both parties? There will never be a Democrat governor who goes up against the unions!

AprilApple said...

I thought elected officials were supposed to represent the tax payer? I guess democrats think they only need to represent their personal political constituencies which are net tax receivers.

Representing the net tax payer is now "extreme".
Balacing the budget is now "extreme".

and prank phone calls rule.

Henry said...

@shoutingthomas. Don't you love the "many of us" line? He's echoing Pauline Kael but without the self-awareness.

Aridog said...

I find this whole State public employee fandango hysterical. The issue is m-o-n-e-y. Period. Dues money. The union isn't worried about giving up public employee wages a bit, so long as they get their dues withheld and collected.

Now compare to federal civil service employees and their union ... the AFGE.

NO collective bargaining for salary & wages. Yet the media seems to think the Feds are doing okay.

NO mandatory membership ... it is voluntary and for dues to be withheld the employee must request it in writing.

How do the Feds get by with such absence of "rights?"

MadisonMan said...

Does anyone -- other than a small enclave of east Siders -- really believe an iota of what the Cap Times says?

PETER V. BELLA said...

More drivel from a totally subjective media. Tis a shame.

AprilApple said...

Balancing the budget is now "extreme".

Kevin said...

Now that we've established the principle that it is OK to occupy the Capitol for days on end (since, of course, the State can only regulate things in a content-neutral fashion), who will be the next group to assert its right to occupy the Capitol for days on end?

David said...

Classic inside the bubble Madison stuff.

They hate it so when something dissonant invades the comfort zone.

shoutingthomas said...

Arridog,

Your comment is right to the point.

This is why Obama is staying out of this fray.

The Fed doesn't allow the collective bargaining rights that Scott is trying to revoke in Wisconsin.

I believe that Jimmy Carter presided over the legislation that denied those collective bargaining rights on the Fed level.

And Obama enjoyed an all Democratic Congress for two years that never saw fit to change this horrible injustice to workers.

AprilApple said...

blah blah blah...evil Koch brothers.. blah blah blah.. Never mind the obscenely wealthy people on the left who admit to not paying their fair share of the tax burden *cough* Warren Buffet blah blah blah...

traditionalguy said...

The personalizing and isolating of the enemy strategy is now flooding the media. They are using the "extremist with the defective personality" meme. The election was only a fews months ago. It is too soon to disregard election results. Even Gadaffy and Mubarack would be allowed a chance to govern for a few months after winning an election. Walker's only crime is to replace the Educators' Union with the elected representatives and the elected Governor as the Government of Wisconsin. Only if he refused to do that job, would he be a failure.

Widmerpool said...

A fantasy. To quote from Christopher Caldwell's excellent column in today's FT:


"The mobilisation of tens of thousands of union members in Wisconsin is impressive, but it has drawn more solidarity from media pundits than from the working class. Perhaps private-sector workers have been goaded into turning against the public sector, out of resentment at their benefits. More likely they resent paying for others’ pre-recession-level benefits with their own post-recession incomes."

Maguro said...

In states all over the country, balancing the budget has become an annual exercise in Copperfield-like illusion...

This is the key to whole issue and it's interesting to see someone as liberal as Matt Bai address it directly. The money just is not there anymore.

The state employees union is competing with other beneficiaries for a shrinking pool of resources and every dime they win for their members is a dime that can't be spent on benefits for the elderly and disabled, school lunches for poor kids, etc.

Their "fighting for the common man" rhetoric is designed to hide the fact that their goal is to out-compete people much less fortunate than themselves for a greater share of state resources.

SteelyDan said...

The Capital Times stopped being a "newspaper" some time ago. It used to provide news (albeit with a left-leaning slant) and, ironically, some of the best local business news and I read it pretty frequently. Today, it is purely a political opinion rag with a leftist agenda and little if any objective reporting, not unlike the Isthmus, and I stopped reading both of them some time ago.

virgil xenophon said...

Henry@9:13/

Beat me to the punch, buddy! Yeah, the Royal "WE are not amused" bit. Fanlund's mind being the national mood writ large.. psychologists have words for that like that "projection" and "delusional."

shoutingthomas said...

That extreme right-winger, President Jimmy Carter, presided over the revocation of collective bargaining rights for Federal employees by signing the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

Obama's majority Democratic House and Senate did not see fit to overturn this horrible, extremist injustice.

EDH said...

Instapundit today links to Walter Russell Mead's Blue State Dems Turn on State, Local Workers, which makes the observation that the existential threat to public employee unions is their (dare I say) internal contradictions.

Look at Wisconsin: in a desperate effort to stave off an attack on their collective bargaining status, the Wisconsin unions have offered to capitulate to Governor Walker’s financial demands. The unions are no longer bargaining for higher pay; they are not even able to resist demands for pay cuts. They are simply bargaining to stay alive.

Over time, this position is going to weaken support for unionization even among union members. Why am I paying dues to an organization that does not protect me, workers will ask. Why is my union agreeing to cut my wages in order to preserve its ability to deduct dues from my paycheck, one naturally begins to wonder
.

Scott M said...

The Capital Times stopped being a "newspaper" some time ago. It used to provide news (albeit with a left-leaning slant) and, ironically, some of the best local business news and I read it pretty frequently.

Has it devolved into including a huge personal section with a bloated male seeking male section like our once-useful Riverfront Times here in STL?

Calypso Facto said...

widmerpool said: "but it has drawn more solidarity from media pundits than from the working class"

Reading an online article on the situation in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram this morning, I noted that the comments were tallying 3:1 in against the protesters. The CapTimes needs to take in some outside-the-beltline air once in awhile...

virgil xenophon said...

LOL..ONE too many "thats." --Both "Preview" and "edit" are friends of mine, but I do not visit them far often enough..

Hoosier Daddy said...

At a minimum, people with a college education should not have a good pension, that is outrageous!! Allowing them to collectively bargain is an affront to all humanity.

I have a college education and my ‘pension’ is a 401K with employer contributions that can be eliminated at any time. If collective bargaining means that I as the taxpayer have no seat at the bargaining table then I would say that is an affront to me as a taxpayer.

Do those protesting understand that the state public employee unions are funded by the taxpayer, a significant portion of whom are the middle class.
Maybe someone can explain to me why a public worker should have wages and particularly fringe benefits that are by and large unattainable by the vast majority of private sector workers?

Reagan said...

"Maybe someone can explain to me why a public worker should have wages and particularly fringe benefits that are by and large unattainable by the vast majority of private sector workers?"

Let's see: Public sector workers agree to take less in wages, get no bonuses, and choose alternatively to accept a better retirement plan?

God forbid private sector employees collectively bargain for similar rights. That would be terrible. Oh yeah, labor has to compete against China since NAFTA passed.

The race to the bottom accelerates.

Henry said...

@Reagan -- Do you know what "NAFTA" stands for?

knox said...

Making shit up. If only this sort of "analysis" were restricted to the Capital Times.

Jay said...

At a minimum, people with a college education should not have a good pension, that is outrageous!!

A "pension" provided by state taxpayers is a rather silly and antiquated concept.

But of course those "progressives" are demonstrating they haven't had a new idea in over 40 years by saying things like this.

Jay said...

Public sector workers agree to take less in wages, get no bonuses, and choose alternatively to accept a better retirement plan?


Except they don't get "less in wages" and in fact they get more in health insurance benefits, clown.

Keep flailing.

Jay said...

God forbid private sector employees collectively bargain for similar rights.

That worked out so well for Chrysler & GM, didn't it?

edutcher said...

I love Fanlund's phrase "French-style labor uprisings". He'd have said Greek-style, but he saw what Beck did to Frances Fox Piven.

PS That trolls like Reagan can't speak to the issue without falling back on the tired old Red cliches that have been around since Norman Thomas was a household word is telling.

shiloh said...

I just can't figure out how the headline is justified.

AA's whining is duly noted.

It's really quite basic AA ie if other Rep governors try to break-up public sector unions as Walker is trying to do, then the headline may be incorrect. But they have seen WI's governor make a complete fool of himself, punk'd phone call notwithstanding and are keeping their distance accordingly.

Damned w/faint praise er no praise at all. If indeed this was a Rep gov conspiracy lol, the other winger governors are probably sayin' ~ thanx Scott, for taking one for the team! ;)

Jay said...

It's really quite basic AA ie if other Rep governors try to break-up public sector unions as Walker is trying to do, then the headline may be incorrect. But they have seen WI's governor make a complete fool of himself

Your stupidity is staggering.

Mr. Daniels rescinded collective-bargaining rights for state employees six years ago—long before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker caused a firestorm by putting the same issue on the table.


Don't worry shitbrain, you can't answer.

Phil 3:14 said...

Professor;
I'm impressed with your modest protest of the lack of an actual Christie quote re: Walker. I'm surprised you didn't further synopsize the editorial with these two words:

Republicans BAD

This is from the "Capital Times", correct. I guess I'd assume that such a name would imply a statewide audience (maybe I'm naive) I can see such a partisan editorial working in Madison but I have to wonder if

that sh*t just won't flush in the rest of the state

Aridog said...

An acquaintance of mine put it this way recently, vis a vis Wisconsin protesters...

"The citizens are sovereign. The State is the embodiment and the instrument of that sovereignty. Whoever organizes against the citizens is an enemy of the State. "

I'm pretty sure that'd stir up *The Madison 20,000*, eh?

Now as for just who should occupy the Capitol Building ad hoc periodically ...., heh, I vote for Dee Gees and Kappas and reinstituion of the old Langdon Street "Beer Suppers." All could just stagger down hill when finished.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Let's see: Public sector workers agree to take less in wages, get no bonuses, and choose alternatively to accept a better retirement plan?

Take less in pay? Interesting. Those benefits must really be something then because they're unsustainable without massive tax increases to pay for them.

Fen said...

Let's see: Public sector workers agree to take less in wages, get no bonuses, and choose alternatively to accept a better retirement plan?

Fantasy. It never happened.

Powerline: Governor Walker's point that union leaders' supposed "offer" to accept pension and health care contributions was one they had no power to make, and one that was immediately contradicted by the actions of unions at the local level where they bargain, is one I have not seen acknowledged in the press.

Walker: "...because we've seen that actions speak louder than words. And over the past two weeks even after they made those promises we've seen local union after local union rush to their school boards, their city councils, their technical school boards and rush through contracts in the past two weeks that had no contribution to the pension and no contribution to health care."

"...the two people that suggested [that] are statewide union leaders. There are 1,000-plus municipalities, there's 400 -- more than 424 school districts, there's 72 counties. I know -- I used to be a county executive for eight years -- I know that collective bargaining has to be done in every jurisdiction. They can't guarantee that. And the actions of those local unions in the past two weeks show that.

If they were serious about it, they would have offered up contracts that -- that paid something for health care and something more for pensions. But they're not"

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028478.php

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