The cat is out of the bag. The plan is to break the unions. So, the loyal Republican opposition, as part of a nationwide strategy hatched by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers, plans to splinter the union movement in the swing states to enable the neo-cons to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.
Ground Zero in the Republican plan has turned out to be Madison, Wisc., the state capitol where Gov. Scott Walker has thrown down the gauntlet over what in the eyes of many critics is a phony ginned up fiscal crisis. Why does exaggeration and lying seem to be such a large part of the Republican playbook?
For example, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, a state agency, has stated there is no fiscal crisis in Wisconsin. It has also been pointed out that shortly after taking office, Walker gave out tax breaks totaling $117 million to his rich supporters that put the state in a $137 million dollar hole.
The president and the Democratic Party were slow in the beginning to support these demonstrators in Wisconsin with the same zeal they have demonstrated for the demonstrators in Egypt. Yet, most of these people supported President Obama during the 2008 election.
Years ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, I recall an embittered Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist, saying there was going to be a battle waged between Democrats and Republicans for the soul of America in the future. I believe that time is here.
Ironically, for once, it’s not about the money. It’s about the right of collective bargaining that enables unions to grow through recruitment and dues. While the unions have offered to give up cuts in pay or other benefits in order to reach a settlement, Walker has shown an indifference to resuming talks.
After first implying in a veiled threat that he might have to call out the National Guard, Walker has played to the cameras. After several days of stalemate, he sent two state patrolmen to the home of the Democratic leader in the state Senate knowing all the while that the legislator and 13 other senators had already left the state to prevent a vote on the legislation.
Despite the claims by the governor of public support, a public opinion survey as of last Friday shows public disapproval of his proposal at 52 percent to 43 percent. If he wants to work against those odds to help break the union movement, as part of the grand scheme, I hope he does so at his peril.