On Wisconsin!

I still have not had a chance to delve into the substance and specifics of the "Battle of Wisconsin," but I am struck by the fact that whether purposefully or not, the Republican and Democratic parties are stumbling into a class based political battle. Even President Obama has gotten into the act:

President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.

This is very unObama-like. The Republican Party seems eager to take the other side of this battle:

Speaker of the House John Boehner today credited Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker for taking “courageous action” and “daring to speak the truth” about his state’s financial difficulties and ripped President Obama for criticizing Walker’s proposed reforms and failing to show leadership on the economy.

[. . .] “Republicans in Congress – and reform-minded GOP governors like Scott Walker…are daring to speak the truth about the dire fiscal challenges Americans face at all levels of government, and daring to commit themselves to solutions that will liberate our economy and help put our citizens on a path to prosperity,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Thursday. “I’m disappointed that instead of providing similar leadership from the White House, the president has chosen to attack leaders such as Gov. Walker, who are listening to the people and confronting problems that have been neglected for years at the expense of jobs and economic growth.”

One of the important aspects of this fight, at least to me, is how deleterious The Deal was to these discussions. Because, at the end of the day, the Battle of Wisconsin is the same fight - how do we pay for government and what do we want the government to do.

Instead of fighting for the working class, the Democrats surrendered in December. Perhaps they are willing to fight now, but the gave up the high ground in December. More on this and related issues in later posts.

In the meantime, On Wisconsin!:

< Friday Late Morning Open Thread | "Progressive" Blindspot: Tax Policy >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    "We are all (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 12:54:07 PM EST
    Wisconsinites now"

    (At least, those of us with sense and a heart).

    Oh Cream City, how I miss you!

    faust (none / 0) (#7)
    by Faust on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:10:44 PM EST
    Where did Cream City go?

    I think she just checked out of here (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:11:59 PM EST
    Had enough of a certain poster (who oddly, hasn't been around in his original form)

    Very sorry to hear that (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:34:27 PM EST
    We weren't always in agreement, but I liked her.

    I don't know for sure (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:36:59 PM EST
    But if you look at her last posts and exchanges, it seems plausible.

    I sort of figured (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:40:27 PM EST
    that they both might have gotten zapped. Since they both disappeared around the same day, and on a day when they were called out for extensive bickering.

    Don't know, but I miss her too.


    A report from inside the state Capitol (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 12:54:39 PM EST
    forwarded by a friend there.  Babies, brats (not toddlers in Wisconsin but sausage), and bagpipers!

    The demonstrations in Wisconsin against what the Governor has termed his budget repair bill, which strips public employee unions of their bargaining rights among other things [huge take-hom pay cuts, etc.], are entering their fourth full day.  The capitol building has remained open and occupied around the clock since demonstrations began earlier this week.  But it is important to understand what "occupied" means.  The capitol building has, for the first time in my lifetime, truly become the people's building.  

    The law enforcement officers in the building, which consists of state troopers, capitol police, sheriffs, game wardens, and others, have transformed themselves into greeters, question answerers, and guides.  The capitol rotunda balcony has become decorated with signs nearly all the way around.  Increasingly popular is "when we're screwed, we multiply."  There have been only nine citations, and only one of those has involved an "incident."  

    This is a place of children, elders, parents, and yes, college students.  There is a steady supply of free water and bratwurst (it is Wisconsin, after all).  The firefighters, who retain their collective bargaining rights under the governor's bill, appear regularly to a rock-star ovation from the gathered people.  Last night they appeared in a massive march from the capitol building down State Street, between 100-200 strong (I was on my bike and didn't have a clear view) in dress uniform, led by their bagpipers.

    Then there are the high school students, who have marched from their schools, a few miles from the capitol.  Yesterday they filled two blocks as they marched around the capitol, and for those of us who are in danger of taking our protesting too seriously, we have something to learn from high school students about how to have fun with politics, even in a steady drizzle.  A whole new generation is learning about democracy.

    There are also demonstrations across the state, attracting people in the hundreds of thousands.  The Democratic party senators left the state yesterday, refusing to answer the Senate roll-call and thus preventing a quorum.  There are many rumors about when they might return or how, as of it is unclear whether they can be captured, brought to the capitol in chains, and forced to submit to roll call.  As the Senate attempted to move into session yesterday there were sit-in blockade attempts, but some very smart architect designed the building in such a way that made it very easy for just a few state troopers to preserve access to the Senate chambers.

    And credit to everyone involved in maintaining their cool during those moments.  The Democratic Party Assembly representatives have been taking testimony from citizens around the clock, which is ostensibly why the capitol has remained open, though a law enforcement official was quoted on one news website as saying the capitol would stay open for the time being anyway.  It has been a major organizing feat to continue to encourage people to sign up and give testimony non-stop for more than [80] hours.  And even though there cannot be a recall attempt for a full year after a public official takes office, and it will require more than a half million signatures, the sign-up sheets are filling quickly.

    Saturday is going to be a very interesting day, as tea party activists are supposed to be bringing their own members to the capitol.  So far, those in support of the governor's bill have been a very small minority and I have not seen or heard of any incidents between supporters of different sides.  I don't know how much the ratio may change tomorrow.

    Great post, thanks! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Coral on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 12:59:52 PM EST
    Forwarded this (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:01:24 PM EST
    to my mom - a retired school teacher in Michigan.



    Sweet new home, Chicago, political exiles? (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 06:00:41 PM EST
    Illinois clergy offer `sanctuary' to Wisconsin Senators in exile

    An interfaith group of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy from Illinois and Wisconsin is offering "sanctuary" to the 14 Wisconsin Democratic Senators who left Madison State to avoid being compelled to vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
    Some Illinois religious leaders are offering to allow the Wisconsin Senate Democrats to stay in their homes or in their churches so they can stay out of Wisconsin for an extended period of time and block a vote on the budget repair bill, said Kristin Ford, spokeswoman for Faith in Public Life.
    "For these brave Senators who are seeking shelter from the storm, I say we welcome you and we offer you sanctuary and hospitality in the Christian tradition," said the Rev. Jason Coulter, pastor of Ravenswood United Church of Christ in Chicago. "My state of Illinois is facing a budget crisis much more severe than our neighbors to the north, yet we understand that punitive, family destroying measures are not the solution. We are coming together to solve problems without scapegoating public workers and their unions."
    Several of the Senate Democrats fled Thursday to the Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center in Rockford, Ill., to prevent the Senate from achieving a quorum and taking a vote on the bill.
    Some reports today indicated that the Senators plan to stay out of the state for several days or even weeks, if needed. They say they want to convince Walker to agree to negotiate concessions with the unions, but Walker has given no indication that he is willing to do so.

    I love it! (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 06:39:33 PM EST
    So what's Walker going to do now?  Deploy the Wisconsin National Guard to invade Illinois and snatch back the fleeing Dems?

    Wisconsin version of Al Jazeera (none / 0) (#11)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:14:40 PM EST
    is live-streaming here.

    Not that all is "live."  Sometimes yes, but also lots of reruns of the "citizen filibuster" hearings, the rallies, and more from earlier this week.


    Update... (none / 0) (#60)
    by huzzlewhat on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 09:04:13 PM EST
    Saturday is going to be a very interesting day, as tea party activists are supposed to be bringing their own members to the capitol.  So far, those in support of the governor's bill have been a very small minority and I have not seen or heard of any incidents between supporters of different sides.  I don't know how much the ratio may change tomorrow.

    You've probably heard by now -- the Tea Party did show up, but in pretty small numbers. They were mostly gathered on one side of the rotunda, and their numbers were probably about 200-300. The estimated overall numbers for the day were 60-70,000. The mood was lighthearted -- the woman I went with had been there on Thursday, as well, and said that it was a much more party-like atmosphere today than before. Between the brats, the bagpipes, the guy dressed up in beads, the one in the suit made up of beanie babies handing out free hugs, and the two guys in inflatable plastic deer costumes, it was pretty spirited in a very "only in Wisconsin" way...


    Cynical take on OFA and the DNC (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:07:58 PM EST
    showing up: It could be an attempt to co-opt the movement and tamp it down.

    Yep.  Cynical.  But I've seen the calls for the Public Option and the back room dealings by the supposed supporters to eliminate it.

    He needs to be real careful (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:30:46 PM EST
    if he's come to this party to manipulate.  He's dealing with Union people now, and though not a perfect species they aren't easily swayed by glamour or a kool-aid stand, and they aren't afraid to let you know all about that right to your manipulating face with all the lights, cameras, and microphones on.

    Well, part of the reason that (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:00:34 PM EST
    I see a potential derailment is that there is a recall mechanism in Wisconsin and there are apparently eight Republican Senators who are eligible to be recalled right now.  The Gov initiative would have to wait until next January.  Anyway, not a fan of recalls, but it is a political lever that the workers could employ in order to apply pressure on the Republican Senators.  So, great - they have a tool - but wait - does the Democratic Party machine want them to use that tool?  Would they be concerned that there would be a retaliatory campaign against Dems in office?  It may be a valid concern/consideration, but are those considerations really valid in the context of what the workers of the state, cities and towns are fighting for?  At present, they need to stop this bill from passing.  Are longer-term questions about recall elections really important within the scheme of their calculations?  Wouldn't it be easier for all of the political "pros" to just sit down in some back room and placate each other rather than dealing with the masses?

    I raise all of these questions mostly because I think that in recent years both of the leading American political parties have been less than stellar in being genuine in their dealings with their respective bases.  And these workers aren't anyone's base really.  They are workers with a grievance about how their state is going to treat them as employees.  The Democratic Party in its current iteration is more of the default party for workers than it is a natural home.

    Anyway, I'm cynical.  I think that this may be more about currying favor with voters than it is about actually helping them achieve their goals - and that when the voters goals diverge from the polling data and big donors' interests they could easily have the rug pulled out from under them.

    I wish I could say that I trusted the Democratic Leadership on this front, but I don't these days.


    What a big, fat mess this is, (5.00 / 7) (#12)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:17:52 PM EST
    and how completely manufactured on so many levels to - what else? - fit an agenda.

    Walker, as has been pointed out, larded the budget with some $130+ million for special interests, and then decided that the real problem was the collective-bargaining ability of the unions, and that needed to go.

    Really, Scott?  Seriously?

    And Obama, well, he "thrust" his toe in the water, but did his usual on-one-hand/on-the-other-hand thing, making sure to bring up the "new" fiscal realities we face, as evidenced by his own decision - I believe the frame was in terms of "have to" - to freeze federal worker pay.

    So, pretty much vintage Obama, I would say; no one's going to mistake him for "Norman" Rae anytime soon, I don't think.

    I hear all this talk about austerity as a path to prosperity, but I've yet to hear a Republican or Obama or any of the deficit hysterics address that theory in any credible way.

    The states are in a much more precarious situation than the federal government, but the straight-faced bamboozle governors like Walker are doing, using budgetary reasons to get at the unions, just stinks.

    I haven't read it all, but here's a link to a Nation article on the template Wisconsin and Walker offer to other states - and an excerpt:

    Walker's gambit has rightly elicited outrage, but considering the breadth of the attack unions are facing nationally, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Right-to-work legislation has been filed in twelve states; this is in addition to the twenty-two that already have such laws on the books. In technical terms, this legislation makes it illegal for employers to condition employment on union membership or the equivalent dues payments even when a majority of workers vote to form a union; practically speaking, it makes building and maintaining a strong union very difficult, which in turn makes it harder to organize new workplaces because there are few positive examples of unions to point to. In Virginia, the corporations and right-wing ideologues decided that the existing right-to-work law wasn't sufficient, and introduced a measure to embed the right-to-work provisions in the state Constitution. Three more states--Montana, Ohio and Wisconsin--are expected to have bills introduced converting their legal status to right-to-work.

    Alabama passed legislation in January that bans public employee unions from collecting dues unless the unions first prove that none of the money will be used for supporting election campaigns. In every subsequent year after the initial certification, the union must submit itemized reports accounting for how its money is being spent. This law, sold as "paycheck protection" by the right but known as "paycheck deception" among union activists, has been introduced in four other states this year, including Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri. In California there has already been ballot initiative language submitted to do the same. Using a variety of legal tools, these measures prohibit the use of union dues for political activity. Union advocates are expecting twelve more states to file bills or initiatives banning the collection of union monies for politics.

    If Obama really is joining in this battle, good for him, but based on what I'm reading and hearing, I think the Post has overstated the extent of Obama's support for the workers - he has hardly "leaped in" to defend public workers," unless maybe I'm unfamiliar with the definition of "leaping."

    Yep -- no Wisconsin "fiscal crisis" (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:20:33 PM EST
    six weeks ago, until the governor created it with earlier bills that he rammed through his Repub legislature.  Would that the Dem legislators would have taken leadership then, but at least they have figured out how to follow the people there now.

    To: Towanda (none / 0) (#38)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:34:15 PM EST
    While reading this thread, it hit me: Given the numbers in the Wisconsin State legislature and given what we can deduce has been the Governor's union-busting agenda, the timing--as it turned out--may have been as good as opponents (including Democrats) of the Governor's fiasco bill could get.  Earlier today, I reminded myself of the mistaken notion that leaders should be way out front/ahead of the crowd and all that...with the anecdotal admonition that being way ahea of the citizenry when the citizens can't or won't see you backfires if the "leader" turns around and there is noone there.  The idea, and reality, of the servant leader--the one who can follow when need be--can be a good model for this century.
     It is completely energizing that the public employees have become the leaders here, I think. Now, the political leaders can support and supplement their leadership, and build on that position...maybe for the eventual tide-turning that will inevitably arrive.

    The Post article described Obama as 'attacking' (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:27:47 PM EST
    I don't quite get that out of this from Obama:
    seems like more of an assault on unions

    And of course Boehner goes along with the Post characterization so he can accuse Obama of trying to "shout down" the elected officials. He is one step away from calling Obama a DFH.

    I'm not complaining about Obama. I'm glad he is at least coming down on the right side.  But the politically based mischaracterizations are highly amusing.


    Well, maybe Walker is jumping the shark! (none / 0) (#14)
    by observed on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:19:57 PM EST
    I would like to see (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:22:15 PM EST
    some National polls as to how the public feels about this issue. There's a pretty strong anti-union bias out there, especially against the teachers and auto workers. I think the same is true about Gov't workers.

    The idiots running both political parties have succeeded in spawining a lot of idiot voters who are more than willing to vote for their own demise.

    this is sadly very true (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:30:15 PM EST
    I and not just among the uneducated.  I saw it when I was in the film industry and again in my current industry.
    they have done a very good job of convincing people that unions primary job is protecting lazy or stupid workers.  which, of course if you have ever belonged to one, could not be farther from the truth.
    if I screw up an my current non union job I get booted.  if I had screwed up at my union Disney job I would have gotten booted (sadly the one thing I was not willing to do to make that happen)

    unions are kinda like lawyers that way... (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:29:28 PM EST
    everybody rags on 'em, till they're in trouble and need their services.

    The GS employees on post (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:45:10 PM EST
    have some sort of representation too.  I don't really understand it, perhaps jeffinalabama does.  I just heard something about it recently.  It doesn't save you from getting booted though if you need it, it just seems to offer some protections against being abused on the job in different ways.  If you work around the SIPRNET you don't get access to that sort of redress though, you just get to make a lot more money because you have given that up and that is not an option for you.

    GS employees in the Civil Service (none / 0) (#40)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:46:01 PM EST
    have protection against unjustified "adverse actions." A number of things--e.g., demotions, grade reclassifications without appropriate reorganizations, suspensions, firings--entitle employees to administrative due process, including notice & hearings. (In another thread, I indicated that the circumstances of government organization & justifiable protections can cut two different ways because you cannot, nor should not, dismiss or adversely move a civilian GS without cause and administrative procedures spelled out in the Administrative Procedure Act.)

    Sorry to sound so pedantic (even to myself.) And, I'm assuming you are inquiring about rights for civilians (from the GS reference.)  Lots of books, case histories that cover process with and without the presence of a federal union such as AFGE, etc.


    No it's fine (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:12:46 PM EST
    I just discovered there was such protections for employees on post who are usually self proclaimed Fox Newsers is all.  Thanks for the rundown.

    Regardless of ones politics... (4.50 / 2) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:37:20 PM EST
    or feelings about unions...I would think (hope?) we could all rejoice as Americans to witness democracy in action...I mean it ain't just voting!  I took heart in the tea party rallies even though the cause kinda gave me the willys...and I'm taking a ton of heart in the union rallies.

    Oh, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:51:54 PM EST
    Look, I think most of the working people (non union) are conflicted in their feelings. I know I get pi$$ed off watching my property taxes go through the roof every year while the teachers pay and benefits seemingly are on cruise contol to the moon. But, that's purely emotional, and what's the alternative? Giving the administration or management 100% dictatorial power?

    When you compare the situation of the great majority of the workiong class in the middle of the last century to today....no contest.

    It may be a little messy to have a large union representation, but the alternative, as we're seeing today, is ten times worse.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:06:16 PM EST
    as a non-union broked*ck I can get green with envy looking at my union counterparts, or angry at the taxes...till I remember it's my own damn fault for not getting a union job or getting my fellow broked*ck cube-dwellers to unite and collectively bargain, as is our birthright.

    So proud (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by kenosharick on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:29:46 PM EST
    that the working people of my home state are standing up to this literal war that has been declared on the last vestiges of unions left in this nation.  If the unions are destroyed as planned by the repubs who will be left to stand up for the middle-class?

    No worries Rick... (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:07:54 PM EST
    give it a decade or two with no unions and there will be no middle class.

    While union busting is (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:44:14 PM EST
    Governor Walker's primary goal, he also shows a lack of appreciation for, if not hostility toward, education. During his campaign, Scott Walker rationalized (cf. Wikipedia) the reason why he dropped out of college (apparently a middling student). "in the end, I figured I was in school to get a good job...so once I had one (IBM sales) family became more important than getting a degree."

    Apparently, being the first governor of the state in 64 years not to have a college degree will be matched with the first governor to dishonor those dedicated to the teaching profession. The near-sighted vision of the Republican Tea Party never ceases to amaze: a country that cares not for the education of its youth has no future.

    That explains (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by CST on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:25:06 PM EST
    a lot.

    I'd like to point Gov. Walker towards this link.

    I have a sneaking suspician - uneducated persons need not apply for a single one of these positions.


    Wow, they elected a college dropout? (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:44:54 PM EST
    What a crazy world.

    elitist (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by CST on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:03:59 PM EST

    The college dropout governor (none / 0) (#33)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:15:27 PM EST
    of Wisconsin actually seems to have been, um, sort of encouraged to leave college.  His alma mater's campus newspaper covered it again during the campaign, although mainstream media did not.  I saw the story linked on Wikipedia, but it was removed.

    Apparently the problem was that he used these sorts of political tactics in student government there.  (A private campus, a Catholic one, not in the UW.)


    Oh for the days (none / 0) (#58)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:57:32 PM EST
    when college was a place to become an educated, well rounded person first and vocation was second.

    Governor Scott Walker (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by KeysDan on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:17:42 AM EST
    should be put on the newly formed Commission of Humanities and Social Science with its Congressional charge of formulating a plan for those in government, education and philanthropy to strengthen the teaching and research of humanities and social science and to promote the country's intellectual and economic well-being and foster a more civil society.  Oh, never mind, the Koch Brothers would never let him.

    A friend is protesting there (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:22:16 PM EST
    very spirited, that's for sure.

    I keep thinking Cream City is going to show (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:11:59 PM EST
    This would be her hour on her field.

    very unObama-like (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:01:39 PM EST
    I thought the same thing

    Very Obama-like learning curve (none / 0) (#13)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:18:19 PM EST
    though, after waffling earlier this week with his "on the other hand" support of the governor.

    Good news, though, is that Obama has recovered on Wisconsin far faster than on Egypt.  And probably in time to recover his support in Wisconsin for 2012 -- because maybe he and his advisers have figured out/listened to Ed Schultz to learn that all of this is all about 2012, gutting unions.  And all as a result of Citizens United; I would bet that Obama and/or advisers see that now.


    Well, here's Obama "leaping in" to (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:30:20 PM EST
    defend the protesters in Bahrain, Yemen and Libya:

    I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly. The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.


    He could just as easily have sent a Hallmark card.


    Damning with faint praise just a bit, (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:29:55 AM EST
    aren't you, Donald?

    That's okay - I get it.  But what you don't get, because the only window you have into my head is what you see here, is how I genuinely try to find something, anything, I could be in agreement with, could get behind, could give an unqualified and full-throated three cheers to, where Obama is concerned - and once in a great while, I find something - and I don't withhold that from this blog, I come right out and voice my agreement.

    And you also don't know that sometimes what ends up here has been dialed down and toned down and infused with more diplomacy and rationality than my original reaction contained, because I think it's worth examining my reactions and considering whether they are at all grounded in reality.

    Which is an exercise I fear some do not engage in, and so we get comments that are grounded in the wish and hope that we are all just too stupid to see the grand and complicated and multi-dimensional strategy that Obama has underway.

    I have a low tolerance for that kind of denial, and I think it's worth making a cogent argument against it; is there some point or advantage in sitting on the sidelines and letting that go?

    If you don't like what I'm writing, don't read it; or read it and downrate it if you are so inclined; or counter my arguments with arguments of your own that are less critique of my delivery and more critique of my thinking.  

    For example - why not tell me why Obama's statement on the violence in these other countries was pitch-perfect, or why it was appropriate, or why he had no choice but to be so tepid, instead of "don't you ever have anything nice to say about Obama?"  I mean, is that designed to do anything but shut someone up?  It borders on "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," which may work in the context of family squabbles, but doesn't really work here, in my opinion.

    I appreciate your concern about my possible perpetual disappointment, but I think that what this country looks like comprises our collective vision, and if we all keep dialing back our expectations, setting aside our beliefs and principles, eventually we end up compliant and submissive sheep being led to wherever "settling" leads us to.  Look no further than how the quality of our political candidates has declined, because in election after election we are told that we expect too much and are guilted or frightened into voting for this one or that one because they are marginally less bad than someone else.

    I pretty much hate that kind of thinking, and I'm not likely to go along with it just because others are tired of being reminded that lowering our expectations also lowers the outcomes.


    Anne (none / 0) (#59)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 07:03:45 PM EST

    On Ohio? (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:11:13 PM EST
    (From yesterday) Crowd descends on Ohio statehouse to protest changes to collective bargaining.

    Do I see this spreading across our land as Republican governors try this crap?

    wisconsin (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by CST on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:12:03 PM EST
    is our egypt!  Or is it Tunisia?

    Let's hope this doesn't turn into Bahrain.


    I hope this spreads to other states and to (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by magster on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:27:39 PM EST
    the doors of the big banks.

    Oh man... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 02:11:02 PM EST
    we shoulda been crashing those gates 2 years ago at least...but better late than never.

    I'm so heartened right now, by foreign and domestic events, that the pepper spray, tear gas, billy clubs, and tasers don't seem so daunting.  Getting involved doesn't seem/feel so hopeless and pointless.

    Has a sleeping giant awoken?  Could it be?


    I hope a few of them divert to Boehner's office (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:56:31 PM EST
    Thanx BTD (none / 0) (#44)
    by Swiggs on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:52:48 PM EST
    Thanx for weighing in BTD.  Do you think this is the beginning of a "new" Obama (an early kick off of the 2012 race), or will we just see more of the same (ie, "meet in middle" by conceding on 90% of your princples in order to get 10%)?  I've been astonished (and pleased) at the passion over this issue.  Maybe this time "it will be different"??

    Look up the interview in entirety (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:18:10 PM EST
    as the AFL is cherrypicking one part -- and the right wingers are cherrypicking another part, pointing out that Obama says that this only "seems" to be an assault on unions and that Walker's bill is "the right thing to do."

    From the Chicago Tribune, for example:

    Obama says everyone has to make adjustments to new fiscal realities. He notes that he imposed a two-year freeze on pay increases for federal workers, and says adjustments like that "are the right thing to do."

    So the full interview, as Ed Schultz says, may be seen as the same-old, same-old "measured response."


    I agree, Towanda (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:22:34 PM EST
    And I am beyond tired of Obama's "measured responses."

    Ditto. (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:40:34 PM EST
    Having read the transcript of his remarks, I thought the WaPo's selective quoting and characterization of Obama's response were nothing short of dishonest.  It's not that they lied, but they chose to supply a context that was not supported by the full remarks.

    As for Obama?  Argh.  

    When he was somehow "forced" to freeze federal worker pay, he painted himself into a corner he's probably not going to be able to get out of; pretty hard for him to support the Wisconsin workers when he made a conscious choice to put federal worker pay on the chopping block.

    Like I said in an earlier comment, no one's going to call him "Norman" Rae anytime soon.


    Yup, like immediately after (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:42:36 PM EST
    the Emancipation Proclamation was signed the slaves were "free."

    "So, what's their problem; what do they want now?"

    The middle class, after having their jobs eliminated and/or degraded, their wealth & security destroyed, while the rich became stinkin, filthy rich, NOW we'll start the clock and "everyone will have to sacrifice."


    Let's not forget Walker's grab (none / 0) (#49)
    by Radix on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:55:53 PM EST
    for Medicare. One of the provisions of Walker's proposal also grants him sole authority of the states Medicare administration.  

    Crazy other rrightie legislators (none / 0) (#52)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 06:40:54 PM EST
    in Wisconsin pull a fast one -- and have to pull back.  The Assembly Repubs must watch Big Love, too, where this was in the plot a few weeks ago!

    Assembly Republicans convened their floor session a few minutes before its scheduled start Friday evening and moved Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill toward final passage before Democrats could enter the chamber, prompting howls of outrage from Assembly Democrats.

    The action, taken on a voice vote, prevented the Democrats from introducing any amendments to the bill, which severely curtails public employees' collective bargaining powers.

    Democrats began yelling as they entered the chamber to find the majority Republicans were voting on the bill.

    "This is unbelieveable. Unprecedented. Un-American," yelled Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. "This is just the most outrageous thing I have ever seen."

    Barca called the actions "illegal" and a violation of Assembly rules.

    "There is a stink in this body. There's a stain on the history of this state with what you've done."

    Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, responded by saying that he started early because "Honestly, I thought you guys weren't showing up."

    Fitzgerald acknowledged that Barca was correct in his reading of the rules, and members allowed the bill to return to its amendable stage. Fitzgerald then moved to adjourn the Assembly until 10 a.m. Tuesday, prompting a standing ovation from Democrats, who promised to continue working on amendments to the bill.

    Cynical analysis of Obama move (none / 0) (#56)
    by msobel on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 09:46:09 AM EST
    This fight is an easy way for Obama to win back base votes without having to actually do anything for the base, just be in favor of not hurting them quite as bad.