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What’s really going on in Wisconsin

The Republicans will tell you it is about balancing the budget, but the real reasons the GOP is launching a full attack on unions is more about politics than it is about policy.

As Howard Fineman points out:

Last fall, GOP operatives hoped and expected to take away as many as 20 governorships from the Democrats. They ended up nabbing 12.

What happened? Well, according to postgame analysis by GOP strategists and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi — who chaired the Republican Governors Association in 2010 — the power and money of public-employee unions was the reason.

The Republicans realized that the easiest way to gain more political power would be to find some way to neutralize the power of the unions.

The GOP strategic aim is simple enough. If they can abolish union collective-bargaining rights, they can undermine the automatic payment of dues to the public-employee union treasuries. Shrinking those treasuries and reducing the union structure and membership will make it harder for Democrats and their allies to communicate directly with workers.

And under the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, unions — like corporations — are free to spend as much as they want directly advocating for a candidate. That makes the math even more urgent as the 2012 election season approaches.

Personally, I’d rather see the Citizens United decision reversed, and take away the ability for both corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.



  1. “He who smelt it dealt it.”

    The right wing talks about class warfare … because they’re the ones waging it. Projection is a classic and effective defense.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
  2. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    “Personally, I’d rather see the Citizens United decision reversed, and take away the ability for both corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.”

    I would go further. 100% public financing of elections with no private money. Get money out of elections is the first step to getting corruption out of government.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
  3. Bard wrote:

    what exactly is the long term plan for the Republicans?

    They seem to be chasing power just to chase power.

    Do they just want to see how far they can push the American Worker before he will fight back?

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  4. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    If you didn’t see it, Shep Smith on Fox News pointed this same thing out. I’m again surprised that he’s still employed there.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    Shep Smith and Juan Williams pointed out what everyone knew, that Wisc. was totally political, but then spun it blaming Democrats for being so generous to unions.
    “Citizens” needs to be overturned, may take an amendment.
    Pubic financing, yes! Lets throw in open ballots and fusion.
    If corporations and unions what to further the electoral process then throw money into a general fund for all the candidates.
    Fund PBS and have the campaigns run there, that way more “third” parties can make a dent.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
  6. @ Bard – That’s a fucking great question. I’d like to know the answer.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power (Hardcover)
    by James Moore
    To me, this book explains it all. The object is for the rich to get richer, the poor/poorer. Rove tells the Fox news people how to phrase things to bend the mind of Americans to give up their rights like collective bargaining.
    I, for instance, got an email yesterday that musthave been around since 2008 using the example of Tort Reform. The person who sent it is approaching 62 and wants to retire but his retirement has been going to hell in a handbasket due to the bankers stealing his money (he is probably getting 2% in these inflationary times while I get 7% on my very safe investments. The bankers get 7% and give him 2%. Profit for them 5%) Now torts take 1% of insurance, but the rich person investing in that insurance is not going to take less than 3%, right? The person who sent it would be called a tea party member now.
    And watch “The Last Train” to show what the Chinese go through to make the rich in this country richer while there are no jobs in this country. That is their aim “make the rich richer”, hoping they aren’t still around when the taxes go up on the rich, and we proceed to have more wealth distribution. When you hear that a Cheney/Rove/or Limbaugh died, you know they won the game. “He who dies with the most toys wins”
    Just in case anyone is wondering, taxes went down for those over 250K on their 2010 return (no phase out for your exemptions and no phase out for your itemized deductions). They went up for the middle class.
    The deduction used so often in the last two years of an extra deduction for property taxes for those who can’t itemize is gone so those middle class pay more.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    CSS and Dan – I agree 100% with your assessment and course of action.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink