Quote of the week:On Wednesday, when the Wisconsin Republicans turned back the clock 50 years and stripped public unions of their collective-bargaining rights, it was refreshing that one GOP leader saw fit to commit candor and admit that this reactionary act was not about balancing the budget at all – but, rather, that it was just a partisan power play, engineered with the next national election in mind.Scott Fitzgerald, the state Senate leader, told Fox News that busting the unions is all about weakening the Democrats for 2012:
“If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.”It was clear all along that Gov. Scott Walker’s claimed motivation was a crock, and that he had ginned up a budget crisis as an excuse for targeting his corporate backers’ biggest enemy, even though the Republicans had steadfastly denied it. The true motive was obvious when Walker stuck to his busting agenda even after the public unions agreed to major concessions on health care and pensions. So at least it’s nice to see the fig leaf removed in the glow of victory.The union-busting effort is about giving the corporations a more favorable playing field; it’s no coincidence that one of Walker’s biggest ’10 benefactors, Koch Industries, ponied up major bucks last year to elect Republican governors who would target collective bargaining rights. The corporate donors know that if their Republican servants can crush the Democratic-leaning public unions, GOP corporate dollars would then dominate the political process to an unprecedented extent – with help from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling that essentially freed up corporate largesse.Actually, the playing field was already tilted against labor – in the ’10 races, 71 percent of all political action committee money came from business PACs, with only 15 percent from labor PACs – but if Republicans are good at anything, it’s going for the jugular. Wisconsin’s state Senate leader, in his burst of candor, explained it well.And if grassroots Democrats are good at anything, it’s sitting on their butts – as they did last November, staying home in droves after complaining for the better part of two years about being disappointed in Obama or whatever. Supposedly this Wisconsin crisis has now energized them for battle – recall efforts, court filings, and whatnot. The Wisconsin Democratic chairman exults, “From a policy perspective, this is terrible. But from a political perspective, (Walker) could not have handed us a bigger gift.”
Hang on…it’s a “gift” to get your clock cleaned? There is something quite pitiful about a party that can rouse itself from a malaise only after it has been routed. The bottom line is that, thanks to their ’10 torpor, they’re now getting the government they deserve.
Second best quote of the week:
There’s an old saying in politics, “Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.” There’s another old saying, “If you’re stuck in a hole, stop digging.” But ’12 presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich’s problem is that he can’t stop talking or digging.
During an interview the other day on the Christian Broadcasting Network, the reborn moralist tried yet again to rationalize/defend/justify/explain his multiple extramarital affairs – but with some brand new spin:
“There’s no question that at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”
So…he ditched his first two wives because he was patriotic? As Tony Soprano once said, “The con never stops.”