Sometimes I just want to shake David Brooks. Today, after reading his column “The Debt Indulgence,” is one of those days.
He writes “A vote to keep [Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker won’t be an anti-union vote.”
Huh? Walker wasn’t content to get concessions from the public unions, which they readily gave, he was determined to crush them. This wasn’t about balancing Wisconsin’s budget now, it was about talking away collective bargaining rights forever. And Walker has admitted that his “divide and conquer” strategy was to first go after the public unions, then the private unions, and turn Wisconsin, birthplace of the progressive movement, into a Right to Work state. He’s working for the Koch Brothers, who want to destroy unions across the country so they can’t provide campaign contributions to act as a counterweight to those from conservative groups.
So I don’t see how you can interpret a vote for Walker as anything other than an anti-union vote.
Brooks warns that a vote against Walker isn’t a vote for the idea of keeping unions alive, it is somehow a vote against reducing deficits:
“[I]f he is recalled that will send a broader message, with effects far beyond Wisconsin. It will be a signal that voters are indeed unwilling to tolerate tough decisions to reduce debt.”
This is not true. The public unions themselves were willing to tolerate tough decisions to reduce debt. If Walker were recalled, it would be a signal that voters are not willing to tolerate unfairness and bullying and over-reaching. Walker didn’t run in 2010 on a platform of stripping public union rights. He went way beyond what the people of Wisconsin expected and elected him to do.
I agree with this guy:
“I’m not a complete fan of the way Walker went about reducing debt. In an age of tough choices one bedrock principle should be: We’re all in this together. If you are going to cut from the opposing party’s interest groups, you should also cut from some of your own. That’s how you build trust and sustain progress, one administration to the next. … Walker didn’t do that. He just sliced Democrats. … Walker’s method was obnoxious….”
That’s David Brooks, in the same column!