The idiocy of Scott Walker comparing himself to FDR

So apparently Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks he’s got something in common with Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Detroit would not be bankrupt and Chicago public schools would be flourishing if those cities operated under Wisconsin’s public union laws, Gov. Scott Walker said Monday in what amounted to a national stump speech — and came days before he hosts the National Governors Association conference in Milwaukee.

Walker likened his public union philosophy to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“The position I pushed is not unlike the principle that Franklin Delano Roosevelt — not exactly a conservative — pushed as well when it came to public sector collective bargaining,” Walker remarked at the annual Governmental Research Association policy conference. “He felt that there wasn’t a need in the public sector to have collective bargaining because the government is the people. We are the people. And so what we’ve done is to be able to empower our great employees, to affirm them.”

I’ve dispelled the myth of FDR being opposed to public sector employee unions, and here’s a particularly revealing passage from FDR from a letter he wrote to then-National Federation of Federal Employees National President Luther Steward (emphasis added):

Organizations of Government employees have a logical place in Government affairs. The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry.”

There’s no denying that in the same letter as the passage I highlighted, FDR did write that “the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” but it’s important to put that sentence into context.

As noted by William R. Dougan, the national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, at the time FDR wrote his letter, the right to strike was implicit because the private sector was the only sector in the U.S. where collective bargaining existed, and private-sector unions had the right to strike, as they still do to this delay.

Roosevelt’s concern was that if federal employees were to strike, it could present a threat to the nation’s security — a legitimate concern for the government, where about half of workers are employed by agencies with a clear national security mission. At a time when the great powers of Europe and Asia were re-engaging the gears of war, it is no wonder Roosevelt would be concerned about the continuity of federal service.

That is precisely why when President Kennedy granted federal workers bargaining rights at the height of the Cold War in 1962, they were not given the right to strike.

To be clear, there is absolutely no comparison between the policies of Scott Walker and the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, because Walker has proven at every turn that he’s more interested in governing for the benefit of the richest citizens and corporations, while Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies helped benefit the poor, children, and the elderly.


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14 thoughts on “The idiocy of Scott Walker comparing himself to FDR

  1. I still don’t see Walker comparing himself to FDR. He said he appreciated FDR’s view on collective bargaining in the public sector; he didn’t compare himself to FDR.

    1. Aaron,

      When FDR was President, what was the percentage of the non-farm labor force in a union?

      Another reason in 2013 that we have no choice but to support collective bargaining for public sector unions, the private sector unions have been decimated.

      Go back to Mike Grebe at the Bradley FDN and tell him he needs to get to being an Eisenhower Republican.

      Tax the 1%.

      Support collective bargaining.

      Invest in infrastructure.

    2. Aaron,

      I’d like your take on Fran McLaughlin’s 14 July 2010 email to Gov. Walker. She wrote, “what should I give Aaron?”

      Does this imply that as a reporter, you’re not a stenographer?

      Does it imply that you’re a really tough, demanding advocate for the “people’s right to know?”

      Does it imply that you won’t just publish whatever someone well connected to the Bradley Foundation will spoon-feed you?

  2. While I revere FDR as perhaps our greatest (at worst, second greatest) President, I don’t agree with his position on the rights of public employees and the strike. It is unequivocal that he opposed strike by public workers, but what makes strikes by public workers more damaging than strikes by the private sector? Of course public safety is an element, but that element exists for many services that are in private hands. Is the strike by teachers significantly more damaging to the public good than a strike by nurses? Nurses in almost every hospital in this country have the right to strike and that could lead to the death of a patient. How is that really better than a teacher not showing up to work? All workers should retain and exercise their power to withhold labor when working conditions become so bad that there is no other option. If political leaders want to avert that situation, strive to make sure that public workers have the sort of working conditions that make strikes improbable. That doesn’t mean you have to pay a parole agent like a CEO but it does mean that you should respect their expertise and voice in the workplace and compensate them fairly with a middle class wage and benefits.

  3. John Casper,

    I don’t really care what Fran said to anyone about me. You can check the emails I sent to her and Marina Dimitrijevic trying to get to the bottom of Graeff. I don’t think anyone sane person who reads through those emails can say I wasn’t doing my job. In fact, of all the people asking questions, I was the only journalist to mediate a back and forth between the Executive’s office and the County Board.

    1. Aaron,

      I haven’t heard anyone say you’re not terrific at your job, regurgitating whatever Mike Grebe, the Bradley Foundation, and the oligarchs “give” you.

    2. Aaron, you’re not a journalist; you’re an opinion writer.

      Journalists are supposed to at least try to be unbiased in their reporting, which isn’t exactly a hallmark of the pieces I’ve read from you.

  4. I’m sorry you are inclined to believe in convenient falsehoods. I’ve never communicated with Grebe or anyone else from the Bradley Foundation on any issue whatsoever. Perhaps you should stop transposing low-grade standards used for liberal bloggers onto me and you wouldn’t be so easily led astray.

    1. Aaron, no need to be sorry.

      Please, post links to all the articles you’ve written which in any way, no matter how small, criticize Mike Grebe and the Bradley Foundation, or support a position that they do not.

  5. That’s a foolish request that solves literally nothing. You want me to peruse hundreds of stories I’ve written and crosscheck them with viewpoints expressed by Grebe or his organization in the hopes of proving to you that your beliefs are falsifiable. Again, what did I do wrong in the email exchange?

    1. AR: “That’s a foolish request that solves literally nothing.

      I’ll take that as a “no, I’ve never written anything that in any way, no matter how small deviated from what the Bradley Foundation ‘gave’ me.”

      AR: “You want me to peruse hundreds of stories I’ve written”

      If you actually wrote them, which I’m now beginning to doubt, you should have a pretty good idea of what you wrote. If you don’t write what a $300 million dollar Foundation tells you to, they pick up the phone and call you. Obviously, per your 9:42, that’s never happened.

      AR: “and crosscheck them with viewpoints expressed by Grebe or his organization”

      Since you were kind enough to offer, why don’t you lay out the Bradley Foundation’s view points on key issues.

      AR: “in the hopes of proving to you that your beliefs are falsifiable.”

      Sorry, that ship sailed. You can’t even come up with ONE example.

      Again, what did I do wrong in the email exchange?

    2. Aaron, you’re not fooling anyone. We can read the O’Donnell Park emails, and we know what you’re paid to do. Your job isn’t to be an objective reporter.

      Hey, you should revel in the fact that you’re a sellout! It beats working a real job, right?

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