Playground Politics: Third time’s a charm?

Yeah, this just about sums up my thoughts on the recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker:

If this campaign is about how can Wisconsin do better than a guy who seems to delight in being the most polarizing governor in state history while accomplishing virtually nothing in the last year, then the Democrats have a fighting shot.

But if the unions are hell-bent on making this election about them and trying to re-fight last year’s battles, Scott Walker will win. The unions need to be pushing from behind, not waving the flags and leading out front.

As a member of AFSCME, I think my union’s decision to endorse Kathleen Falk before the entire Democratic field had been settled – and before a recall election had been formally certified – was incredibly tone-deaf and only reinforces the meme of “union bosses” calling the shots.


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29 thoughts on “Playground Politics: Third time’s a charm?

  1. Although, if Barrett does manage to win the primary and the unions don’t just sit on their hands, it helps Barrett paint himself as independent of all the special interests.

    1. Yeah, and that’s why I can’t help but think Barrett wanted things to play out like this.

      Falk will be painted as a puppet of the unions while Barrett can put some distance between himself and the unions and reach out to the independents that will really decide the election.

  2. I agree, Alex. We’ve already seen the worst Barrett can do against Walker, and in the worst election for Democrats in recent memory, no less. Barrett can present himself as the centrist candidate which, if he wins the primary, would position him well against Walker.

    Separate, it’s laughable how horrible Walker’s strategy of hyper-partisan gamesmanship has played out for him. Anyone with half a brain could have steered his majority into a sizable advantage one year in, but instead he’s truly made the worst choice at every possible opportunity. Say what you will about his spiteful and ignorant politics, he still had an opportunity to consolidate his victory in 2010 into a lasting Republican majority and he (and his enablers in the legislature) completely blew it. Even if he isn’t indicted before the election, he deserves to be voted out just for steering that ship of fools into an iceberg.

  3. We all know this recall is about the unions and their loss of collective bargaining privileges. Why not be honest about it and have the unions front and center? The reason is, as you stated, that you will lose to Walker. So now the strategy is to pretend the election is not about the unions and their collective bargaining? Deceiving the electorate as a campaign strategy? Might work if you find enough uninformed people to manipulate.

    1. Denis, It is about an unprecedented power grab by 1 political party of which the CB rights is only a portion.

      1. I realize we won’t agree on this point, but as I see it, the power grab has been occurring for years by the government unions. As such, Walkers move returned power, and tax dollars, to the rightful owners, the taxpayers. I guess we will find out soon enough how the majority of Wisconsinites sees it. But I believe in transparency and honesty. If the fight is over collective bargaining primarily, and it is, just say so.

        1. Denis, what Walker’s actions with Act 10 was completely shift the balance which had been shared by unions and taxpayers (through their elected officials) and shifted that power almost completely in the other direction.

    2. Sportsmen for Walker might not be pleased to see that big honkin’ dock put up near nice fishing areas, or be real keen on some of the wetlands deregulation that’s going to result in less sporting land or building closer and closer to sporting land.
      Women for Walker might be a little uncomfortable with their new 10-steps-behind status.
      Voters for Walker might not get to vote, caught up in the net designed to keep out everyone else.
      Children for Walker can’t vote anyway so it’s easy enough to take away their access to health care.
      Etc. etc.
      Unions may have started this but they can’t end it in their favor without all the other groups who’ve been a part of this collective screwing.

    3. Denis, there’s no denying Gov. Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights (for specific unions, not all, mind you) was the spark that started this, but the recall is about much more than that one issue now.

      1. Zach, in a way I agree insofar as Dems tend not to like the policies of the Pubs. That’s why their Dems. But, if there was no Act 10, there would be no recall, regardless of the other things you might dislike about Walker and/or his policies. As such, why not just admit it is about collective bargaining? The answer, as I think we both realize, is that the average Joe just isn’t that worked up about the issue, and to the extent they care, they agree with Walker. So it isn’t a good issue to run on. So you have to pump up other issues and hope they stick. I don’t think it will work but I am often wrong when it comes to political prognostications.

  4. It is not just about the unions. That was just the start. It’s about the train money, misuse of the governor
    ‘s position to consolidate power, the Voter supression law, the war on the poor, the war on women, mistreatment of health care priorities, etc, etc.

    On the other hand, I do have to mention, that for several elections since I have been an AFSCME member, their records on early endorsement of politicians being the ones who get elected, not so good. (Example: they endorsed Hilary Clinton dammed early – notice – she’s not President.) It’s gotten to the point, where, whether or not I like the politician, I start cringing when AFSCME does an early endorsement.

  5. It was also an unnecessary assault on citizens of Wisconsin. But then they’re thugs, right?

    It is amazing the lack of compassion among conservatives and the willingness to be manipulated.

  6. Shhh, let Denny think that it’s only about collective bargaining and not the scores of other issues involving integrity, corruption, and power-grabbing. It’ll make his surprise at Walker’s inevitable whupping all the more fun to watch.

  7. It’s more the assault on citizens and the willful attack on educators. I could care less for most unions. Really Denis, you don’t see this? Additionally, you ignore the fact these union members pay taxes too.

    1. I don’t see Act 10 as an assault on citizens, including educators. I see it as a rebalancing of political power that needed to happen. What I saw is that unions had powers designed especially for them, ie collective bargaining, that were available to no other citizen or group. Ask yourself how you would like it if, suppose, you were forced to pay dues to a taxpayers union that had special bargaining powers, that used your dues to elect fiscal conservatives, promote conservative policies, etc… my guess is not very much.

      And yes, I realize union members pay taxes. That is why they should, and do, enjoy all the rights and privileges offered to non-union citizens, while they shouldn’t, and don’t, enjoy privileges denied to non-union citizens. They are treated like everyone else (except for the awesome benefits) as they should be, and we have Governor Walker to thank for that. Don’t you see this?

      1. What I see in your assessment of unions is myopic at best. As an independent contractor for 35 years, my wages, benefits, work place safety, standards for product safety and industry codes, and environmental safety regulations, all basically derived from the existence of unions. As a non-union person, I could not have been as competitively paid (in terms of a living wage and simple benefits) nor protected under contractor legal rights with clients to the extent that I am, without the existence of unions. Union demise is a demise for all of us except the 1%.

        Do you even notice things like the recent successful strike of international students against Herseys. Signing international exchange students into slave labor (to replace prior regular workers) promoted as job opportunities and educational opportunities in the US. I doubt you make the connection between Walker’s severe cutting of state education support to increase the US pool of unskilled illiterate, citizens to be at the disposal of multinational corporations for exploitation of the public resources of our nation, (albeit, starting with WI). What’s next, expansion of forced child labor, educational debt obligation wage slaves for hire for food, as government student loans cannot be no longer discharged in bankruptcy courts??? Oh wait, ohmamaObama instituted that one already.

        1. Nonquixote, I hate to follow you down the ad hominem trail, but perhaps it is you who needs a vision exam. Wherever did you find a “myopic” assessment of unions in my posting? I have not assessed unions at all simply because it is irrelevant to this discussion. Rather, I have assessed their political powers, made equal to other citizens thanks to our governor. Note that this change does not preclude unions from pursuing the social changes that you value. Only now they will have to pursue them like everyone else rather than at a collective bargaining table.

          Rather than imagining phantom “assessments” by me and going off on irrelevant tangents, why not argue the main point I have made, namely that our governor has balanced the powers of unions with those of other citizens, such that all enjoy the same powers and liberties.

      2. Denis, as I wrote in an earlier response to you, what Walker’s actions with Act 10 was completely shift the balance which had been shared by unions and taxpayers (through their elected officials) and shifted that power almost completely in the other direction.

        There’s absolutely no balance in the equation before, whereas under the old system of collective bargaining contracts were negotiated in good faith and then approved by the duly elected legislators that taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin elected to serve as their representatives and stewards of their tax dollars.

        What we’re really seeing here is a race to the bottom.

  8. A simple disagreement with your take on how, “powers and liberties,” are derived or as in the case of Walker, how they have been needlessly and represively restricted, does not constitute an, “ad hominem,” attack on you.

    Disagreeing with your opinion is one thing, calling you some sort of derogatory name or labeling you as a “librul,” or proggy,” or calling you a “wingnut,” would have been an attack on your person. That did not happen. I simply disagree with your statements and POV and stated why already

    But go ahead and attack me for something that I did not do. That might be defined as political projection:

    Your professed logic of “a [simple and necessary] rebalancing of political power,” I guess, would then extend to women not needing to be paid the same as men for equal work (largely a union and equal rights derived concept). Just a rebalancing of political power? Thanks for attempting to argue that political power has no effect on wages, working conditions, or that arguing that point is irrelevant to the discussion. I am another “citizen” and my political power is diminished as a result of Walker’s repressive attack on unions. I guess I have not seen the proof of what your are arguing, ever.

    1. Disagreement over substance is not an ad hominem attack. That is now your second straw man argument. Calling someone “myopic” is the ad hominem but I suspect you actually knew that.

      Re your final paragraph, there go the tangents again. I have argued that Act 10 has created a situation wherein union and non-union people have the same rights to lobby their government for change. Rather than agree with or dispute that charge, you bring up pay for women. While that is an interesting subject, I see no reason why you can’t lobby your government for the changes that you desire, just like those who might oppose your efforts. Its a level playing field, as it should be, thanks to our governor.

      Regarding equal pay for equal work, I have always wondered why an enterprising woman wouldn’t hire only women for her construction company, for example. She could pay them the woman’s rate for labor, undercut the construction companies that hire men, and make a fortune essentially discriminating against overpaid male laborers. Why do you suppose that doesn’t happen nonquixote?

  9. Denis, you admit this was a political move. So really, this had nothing to do with balancing the budget. Finally one honest conservative.

  10. Calling someone “myopic” is an ad hominem attack? Next thing you know calling someone misquided will result in application of the Denis Law.

    1. Yes, calling someone “myopic” is an insult. Do you think it is a compliment? Granted, I have been called worse and I have thick skin, but it is still an ad hominem attack, and more importantly, it is not a valid argument insofar as it has nothing to do with the topic.

      And re your previous point, curtailing the power of the unions is critical to balancing the budget. Most of the cost in the government budget is personnel costs. You can’t effectively cut those costs if the unions are at the bargaining table, calling for mediation etc…

      1. Calling someone’s IDEAS or assessment myopic is not an ad hominem attack. If someone DISAGREEING with your assessment (opinions) of unions or any other ideas you might posture is an automatic personal insult to you, then tell me how does one debate any IDEA? You would have just insulted the party presenting the opposing (or larger) view (to yours) by labeling that party as an attacker of your personal integrity or some such nonsense for disagreeing with your IDEA. You are precluding debate by saying that your idea is unassailable, the only view allowed. I would hardly call that being thick-skinned. If I said your car sucked a lot of gas, does that automatically mean I am insulting you or demeaning you for owning that car?

        ON TOPIC:

        Walkers said his repression of the union’s collective bargaining had nothing to do with balancing the budget in sworn testimony before a US Congressional Committee. Hardly a necessary “rebalancing of power,” critical to balancing the budget, as you claim. You don’t even believe Walker’s own words spoken under oath?

        OFF TOPIC: (My apologies to regular readers)

        I really need to ask you why are you here, visiting this blog? Are you a paid operative to disrupt progressive thought and discussion? Are you perhaps hoping people here will notice and rush to read your blog? Do you really think you are going to win people to your point of view? Or are you here simply to harass good people whose point of view is largely contrary to yours? All rhetorical questions, I don’t really care to hear what your answers might be, but, please read the following bits from from the link I supplied about “projection.”

        …projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else…

        …projection is related to denial, arguably the only more primitive defense mechanism than projection, which, like all defense mechanisms, provides a function whereby a person can protect the conscious mind from a feeling that is otherwise repulsive…

        …Projection can also be established as a means of obtaining or justifying certain actions that would normally be found atrocious or heinous. This often means projecting false accusations, information, etc., onto an individual for the sole purpose of maintaining a self-created illusion.

        Walkers deeds: repulsive, heinous, atrocious, anything else is a self-created illusion.

        1. Nonquixote, you described an assessment that I didn’t make as myopic. That’s a combo straw man argument coupled with an ad hominem. And let me correct another error. I am all about having my ideas challenged and of course think it is entirely fair. But please do challenge the arguments that I actually make rather than ones you imagine that I make.

          And finally you get around to taking on, sort of, my point that Act 10 balances power between union and non-union citizens. But even here you introduce some stuff about Walkers statements which is not relevant to my point. I, me, not a representative of Walker, believe that Act 10 balances power. As such, Walkers statements if true or untrue are irrelevant to what I have come to believe. Feel free to challenge MY assertion that Act 10 balances power as I have now stated multiple times.

          Re your questions, here are my answers. Yes, I know what rhetorical means but I feel compelled to correct your mistaken assumptions. 1. I enjoy lively debate or discussion on political matters. Still searching. 2. No. 3. No, you are the first to mention my blog. I am not much of a promoter of my blog. 4. Maybe, but there are times it sure looks bleak because emotion so often trumps reason. 5. I haven’t harassed anyone nor do I intend to.

          Re your tutorial on projection, how is it that you can claim to know so much about a person, enough to assign a sort of mental health problem to, despite never having met said person and only having a few blog exchanges with? You don’t know me at all, yet you have been quick to sum me up. I am myopic, a paid operative, a harasser, one who precludes debate etc… Since you don’t know me Nonquixote, I do wonder how it is that you can claim so much about me. There should be a name for your kind of behavior.

  11. Based on your argument Citizen United and out-of-state contributions such as those from the myriad Koch-funded extensions should be prohibited. Walker’s move was a calculated assault on people with the goal of gaining the upper hand politically. Let me ask a question. If all the people affected had gained their 100% coverage and benefits without unions, would you still approve?

  12. The Citizen United case allows corporations and unions to contribute to campaigns or at least campaign issues- not sure where you are going with that one OS. Re your question, if state employees got 100% coverage without unions I would still think it too much as the people footing the bill are paying for their own expensive coverage and I think it is a bit much to foot the total bill for the state employees also. I am not sure what your point is OS. The benefits are too generous and we can’t afford them anymore. Collective bargaining and mandatory dues paying paved the way for this inequity, so it is good that they have been curtailed. Still, if they get the same deal without cb, I would still think it unfair to taxpayers.

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