My hope is, actions have consequences:
Indiana’s House of Representatives approved a bill that would exempt nonunion employees from paying dues when working alongside union workers, a critical step toward final passage. “What you’re doing to the great state of Indiana, it’s a shame, it’s a shame, it’s a shame,” Democratic Representative John Bartlett said during floor debate as union workers shouted and jeered outside the chamber doors.
“This has nothing to do with busting unions,” said Republican Representative Jerry Torr, the bill’s sponsor.
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, 62, who backed off a similar measure in 2011, supports it now, calling it a “bold stroke.”
Torr is lying, of course. His actions have everything to do with busting unions. While it’s true that Mitch Daniels “backed off” union busting in 2011, it is also true that Mitch Daniels assured union members he would not go after their jobs, but that was way back when he needed their votes. That’s the principled conservative pundits were swooning over Tuesday night.
Contrast Daniels, the current crush of national pundits, with Kasich, who is no longer the favorite of national pundits, on union busting, yesterday:
At a presser today, Governor Kasich got asked whether Right to Work in Indiana has any effect in Ohio:
“First of all, Indiana has a different set of government than we have. They don’t have any referendum or anything like that, and you can pass something if you’ve got the parties lined up. We’ve got a different situation here. And the one thing you have to do is, if you’re going to bring about massive change, that’s going to cause great unrest – I mean, I’ve learned this – is you’ve got to prepare the way. I mean, I’ve learned it. You take a look at our record, you know, you go out deep-sea fishing, you catch a lot of sharks. We’ve caught ’em. Once in a while the shark eats you, OK? That just happens, so what, that’s just part of life. But you have to prepare the public, and I don’t think the public even knows what this issue is. And believe me, they will find out what it is, with huge amounts of money coming in from all over the country. I don’t think the public understands it, I don’t think they’re prepared for it, and I would say that anybody that wants to move this thing forward needs to do that before anything else.
And in addition to that, I’ve just talked about the labor situation in the state, and by and large it’s been pretty darned good. At this point, I would say, if you really feel strongly about it, go out and tell people why it’s important”.
“Massive change” is how Kasich describes the coordinated conservative agenda in midwest states. Remember that when we hear again and again how Obama is a radical. This is going to be a really interesting issue in 2012. On the one hand, national conservatives selected Mitch Daniels to give the response to the state of the union, and on the other hand, recognizing political peril, former Fox News personality John Kasich seems to be in full retreat.
And then there’s Mitt Romney, who is keeping his opposition to private sector unions specific to carefully selected states:
If Republicans are going to make right to work a national campaign theme, they will need to do so cautiously, and South Carolina has given the candidates – and Romney in particular – an opportunity to test the waters.
I think the question becomes whether national conservatives can run on union busting in certain states, and not others, without revealing that union busting is in fact the conservative position. I’m wondering if they can pull that off. I’m certainly going to do my best not to let them get away with it, but we’ll see.
“The only serious opposition to the business lobby’s agenda comes from organized labor,” says Professor Lafer, who is also a research associate with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and has advised Democrats. “There is a convergence of forces seizing on the right-to-work issue, saying: This is our moment to cut off our biggest opponent on a whole range of issues.”
True, that, and pretty scary stuff. In a country with huge income inequality, where working people have little or no leverage and no power unless they organize and get a seat at the table conservatives are taking the “only serious opposition” to the business lobby’s agenda completely off the field.
Massive change. Great unrest. That’s what Kasich said. Class war, indeed, and conservatives are waging it.
h/t to commenter Elizabelle for the Romney piece.