No one said it was gonna be easy

Michigan is the new Wisconsin:

Gov. Rick Snyder said at a news conference today the Legislature will proceed with right-to-work legislation for public and private employees and he will sign the bills when the land on his desk.

Only police and firefighters will be excluded, he said.

The legislation is about “freedom to choose,” and the issue “was on the table whether I wanted it to be there or not,” he said.

A friend from Michigan says this is an about-face for Snyder, who’s tried to be perceived as a moderate until now.

Update. Some I’ve spoken to are speculating that it could be fear of a primary challenge from the right that motivated Snyder to do this.

Update. At least I know I’m free:

Police have begun pepper spraying and removing protesters from the Capitol!

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104 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    If you’re circling the toilet bowl, might as well grab the biggest turd you can.

  2. 2
    kerFuFFler says:

    Gee, if “freedom to choose” is such an important right why, oh why is it being denied to the valiant first responders?

    I wonder if the police and firefighters will fall for it and not see that they are merely next on the chopping block.

  3. 3
    brantl says:

    Snyder is just a stealth version of that dick governor in Wisconsin.

  4. 4
    Brachiator says:

    A friend from Michigan says this is an about-face for Snyder, who’s tried to be perceived as a moderate until now.

    Why the change?

  5. 5
    Bulworth says:

    Yeah, why no “freedom to choose” for cops and firepersons?

  6. 6
    EconWatcher says:

    Never thought I’d see the day. I grew up in Michigan, and unionism probably runs deeper there than any other state.

    And the unions there are generally clean and honest and look out for their members. The Reuther brothers are still revered there (or at least were–haven’t really been there in two decades).

    I got a completely different impression of unions when I lived in Philly….

  7. 7
    DougJ says:

    @Brachiator:

    He doesn’t know.

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    They hope the workers are too hungry to protest.

  9. 9
    Linnaeus says:

    @Brachiator:

    Why the change?

    Hard to say. I’ve read somewhere (can’t find the link now) that the Michigan Senate majority leader (who had been opposing right-to-work, or at least wouldn’t advance it) was facing a leadership challenge by Republican members who wanted the bill. It’s possible that Snyder couldn’t rein in the Republican caucus in both houses.

    Snyder’s own explanation is here. It’s bullshit, of course.

  10. 10
    Kristine says:

    @Brachiator: I’ve read that it’s payback for the unions failed attempt to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution. Snyder asked them not to do it, and they followed through anyway. Of course, if they had not done it, no guarantee that Snyder wouldn’t have pushed through Right To Work anyway.

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    My first husband, Brooklyn to the core, attended a training seminar down South, and was asked, “Your boss lets you wear your hair that long?”

    His response was astonishment: What business is it of my boss?

    But that’s the difference between NY and the sorry-they-freed-the-slaves attitude of Old Dixie.

    I don’t think Michigan will like what they get.

  12. 12
    GregB says:

    The calculus has changed dramatically.

    This is a pretty stupid move on Snyder’s part.

    In the event he didn’t notice, there was a significant turn-out from the opposition.

    This will also tear the state GOP asunder.

    2014 will be a wave against the GOP in Michigan.

  13. 13
    Quincy says:

    Whoa. Wisconsin only went after the public sector unions (though I believe they’re now considering right-to-work). The State of Michigan signing the death sentence for the UAW is an even bigger deal than Wisconsin was.

  14. 14
    Butch says:

    Mackinac Center, which is right wing, has been agitating for right to work in Michigan for a long time. The thing is, Snyder’s emergency manager law got crushed by referendum in the last election, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with right to work.

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    Seems obvious. The Koch Bros can smell a big loss and they are getting their minions to make whatever power grab they can before they are out of office.

  16. 16
    Linnaeus says:

    @Butch:

    The thing is, Snyder’s emergency manager law got crushed by referendum in the last election, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with right to work.

    Can’t happen this time. The Republican Speaker of the Michigan House attached an appropriation to the bill, and appropriations bills can’t be repealed via voter referendum.

  17. 17
    Jeff Spender says:

    Any damn fool who ever thought Snyder was a moderate needs to start paying the fuck attention.

  18. 18
    Corner Store Operator says:

    By putting the collective bargaining measure on the ballot and losing, labor looked weak and emboldened Snyder and the RTW folks. Snyder always tried to look moderate but he was always a ‘business’ guy so I’m not too surprised.

    The thing is every ballot measure in MI lost this year (including 2/3 vote to approve taxes and the emergency manager law) so this may be definitely be overreach.

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    “The goal isn’t to divide Michigan, it is to bring Michigan together,” the governor said.

    Well, it might do that, in hatred of the GOP.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bulworth:

    Because FREEDOM!

    Well, that and the fact that the police and fire unions would go apeshit if Michigan tried to ban them, so the Republicans are doing the tried-and-true “divide and conquer” strategy. Unfortunately, a lot of the police officers and firefighters are stupid enough to fall for the promises that they’re only going to take unions away from those other people and not from them.

  21. 21
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Bulworth:

    Yeah, why no “freedom to choose” for cops and firepersons?

    Reminds me of the Ryan plan for Medicare, during the election season. If it was so freedom-y and would save recipients so much money, why were current Medicare recipients exempted from it?

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    Don’t worry, everyone, when Kid Rock becomes Governor all things will be put right.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    I was going to make an ignorant and biased comment about the majority of cops voting GOP and not caring enough about their union brethren and sisthren, but then I saw this. Please accept my apology, Michigan police!

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    GOP is following the trend, as usual:

    “We got the water heater into the room, and the first thing [the group] said to us was ‘This is just a mess,’ ” Nolan recalls. Not the product, but the design. “In terms of manufacturability, it was terrible.”
    __
    The GeoSpring suffered from an advanced-technology version of “IKEA Syndrome.” It was so hard to assemble that no one in the big room wanted to make it. Instead they redesigned it. The team eliminated 1 out of every 5 parts. It cut the cost of the materials by 25 percent. It eliminated the tangle of tubing that couldn’t be easily welded. By considering the workers who would have to put the water heater together—in fact, by having those workers right at the table, looking at the design as it was drawn—the team cut the work hours necessary to assemble the water heater from 10 hours in China to two hours in Louisville.
    __
    In the end, says Nolan, not one part was the same.
    __
    So a funny thing happened to the GeoSpring on the way from the cheap Chinese factory to the expensive Kentucky factory: The material cost went down. The labor required to make it went down. The quality went up. Even the energy efficiency went up.
    __
    GE wasn’t just able to hold the retail sticker to the “China price.” It beat that price by nearly 20 percent. The China-made GeoSpring retailed for $1,599. The Louisville-made GeoSpring retails for $1,299.

    Tonight Apple’s Tim Cook will be on Rock Center and talking about Apple bringing manufacturing of one of their product lines back to the US. Foxconn is also opening factories here next year (these are probably the same thing, FWIW – nobody in the US really knows how to do this kind of electronics assembly, but Foxconn does, so Apple is very, very likely to start with them). That manufacturing will very likely be in CA – not a right to work state. It’s a low volume product (I’m 99% certain it’s the Mac Pro replacement) but it’s a very important start. Apple doesn’t do things randomly and they don’t do things small intending to keep them small. If they do it, they intend to do it big. But they’re very patient and methodical about getting to big.

    Fighting the union fight is stupid now. They missed their window.

  25. 25
    Kay says:

    Oh, it just makes me sick because the goal is to privatize all of these public functions. The goal is to turn every state into Mitch Daniels’ Indiana. Public sector worker unions are the only thing standing in the way. The political battle (who donates to whom) distracts from the real issue.

    Yes, of course they want organized labor gone because organized labor donates to Democrats, but the big prize is turning non-profit state functions into privatized, profit generating businesses and that (of course) includes K-12 schools.

    There’s so much public money there it’s worth nearly any tactic to get their hands on a big chunk of it. These state legislatures are completely captured. The part that makes me sad is the privatization schemes are sold as “big labor lobbies for influence and they’re self-interested” (especially as it relates to schools) but no one ever mentions how privatization/profit lobbies for influence, too, and they’re motivated by how much they can skim off the top for providing the service and they’re winning.

  26. 26
    Morbo says:

    There are also commercials running advertising the awesomeness of right to work. Saw the first one last night. I’m sure the timing is completely coincidental.

  27. 27
    Butch says:

    @Linnaeus: Specifics can be hard to come by here in the wilds of the UP. I didn’t realize how the bill had been advanced.

  28. 28
    shortstop says:

    @Kay:

    The part that makes me sad is these privatization schemes are sold as “big labor lobbies for influence” but no one ever mentions how privatization/profit lobbies for influence, too and they’re winning.

    Overestimating liberal boogymen is an epidemic on the right. In their minds, welfare queens eat up 45 percent of the federal budget, New Black Panthers and ACORN staffers number in the millions, the illegal immigrant vote represents the total popular vote diff between Romney and Obama (got this one this morning on FB), and big labor is buying all the elections.

  29. 29
    Linnaeus says:

    @Butch:

    Say yah to da UP eh!

    And the specifics are just coming out now…I only read about it this morning.

  30. 30
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    @WereBear:

    My first husband, Brooklyn to the core, attended a training seminar down South, and was asked, “Your boss lets you wear your hair that long?”

    Bet you dollars to doughnuts the man who asked that was bald.

  31. 31
    Mino says:

    Didn’t they just relax(read-eliminate) certification requirements for teachers in one of those Midwestern states under Republcian rule?

  32. 32
    Andrea says:

    I’m a Michigander and am quickly delurking to note the following:

    Almost to a person, left or right, the people I talked to agreed that the proposals to change Michigan’s constitution were the wrong way to go. There were proposals for both sides that many people wanted enacted, we just didn’t think it should be enshrined in the constitution. I think this is the biggest reason those proposals failed. The general feeling I perceived is that the legislature should do their job and legislate. End runs around the legislative process, whether you were for the intended purpose of the proposal or not, were the real issue.

    With regard to collective bargaining, I have several anti-union types in my circle of friends but none of them have come out in favor of RTW legislation. There is concern over union contracts breaking industry and local government budgets, but I don’t get the feeling they want to do away with them entirely. Based on the people in my little world, I don’t think this is a winning stand for the Governor.

    Back to lurking!!!

  33. 33
    JGabriel says:

    OT, but funny. Even Bobby Jindal understands the GOP’s problem:

    “At present, any reading of the headlines over the past week indicates that Republicans are fighting to protect the rich and cut benefits for seniors,” Jindal wrote. “It may be possible to have worse political positioning than that, but I’m not sure how.”

    .

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    @shortstop:

    Overestimating liberal boogymen is an epidemic on the right.

    It isn’t just “the right”. I hear it again and again, from Republicans, Democrats, whomever. “Unions are self-interested”. Yeah, they are but so are privatizers.

    Most of Michigan’s charter schools are run by for-profit companies or are actually for-profit. Now. Today. If Michigan is anything like Ohio, the public does not know this because they’re called “public schools”. All they hear from media and conservatives and the vast majority of people is that nasty old “labor” lobbies and these saintly “reform” forces have nothing but good intentions. It’s nonsense. There’s a LOT of money to be made in taking public functions and services private.

    I got news for them. Privatization lobbies too, and they have much more to gain from taking public services private than any individual schoolteacher. They have a godammned business model at stake here. That business model dictates they get unions out of the way and privatize.

  35. 35
    Punchy says:

    Sorry Michigan, but you voted for every one of these fuckers. Elections, consequences and all that.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    Henry Ford is jumping for joy in his grave.

  37. 37
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @JGabriel: He has been making sense since the elections were over, he criticized Mitt, for the gifts remark. I am glad that he has found his voice now, I wonder why he kept quiet earlier.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    NYT, Boehner Gets Strong Backing From House Republicans:

    As Mr. Boehner digs in for a tense fiscal confrontation with President Obama, the strong embrace from a broad spectrum of the rank and file may empower him as he tries to strike a deal on spending cuts and tax increases that spares the country a recession, without costing Republicans too much in terms of political principle.

    Because, you know, the GOP has a very small supply of political principle.

    So pity the po’ Republicans. If a deal costs them too much political principle, why, they’ll be politically bankrupt and bereft of all principle!

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a country run by a GOP that had run out of principle. They might do something drastic, like lead us into a war based on lies and crash the economy just for the financial benefit of their corporate donors. Or refuse to pay our debts and throw the world into global financial turmoil just to get their way on tax & entitlement cuts.

    It’s almost unimaginable.

    .

  39. 39
    RaflW says:

    Remind me. By what margin did Mitt Romney win Michigan?

    Oh, wait…

  40. 40
    KG says:

    @Mark S.: the environmentalists are probably not going to be happy with this new plan to drain the Great Lakes… Huh? What’s that? Oh, never mind…

    (sorry, couldn’t help it)

  41. 41
    Ohio Mom says:

    Meanwhile, also in Michigan, half of the state’s African-Americans will soon be under the rule of an emergency manager — despite the emergency manager law being overturned handily last month. Somehow, there is still a version of the emergency manager law in effect.

    So no more democratically-elected representation for all those people. It’s not just prisons and schools anymore, now it’s city hall being privatized. This is getting scary.

    http://dianeravitch.net/2012/1.....overnment/

  42. 42
    Mike says:

    @Linnaeus: Yeah, I figured they would do that. That’s a shitty loophole in the MI constitution. They tried that end around in Ohio, too, but even the right wing Supreme Court didn’t allow it.

    So, what now? There are measures to put a bill on the ballot and constitutional amendments as well, but the latter doesn’t do as well as the former as we saw in November. The Senate is so ossified, I don’t see how we could retake it even in a wave year, so I’m not sure what we can do since actual repeal is out. We can try for a yes referendum vote, but getting yes votes is a lot harder than no, especially on an issue that the right has great talking points.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    Only police and firefighters will be excluded, he said.

    Ah, the smell of strongly held principles.

    Some I’ve spoken to are speculating that it could be fear of a primary challenge from the right that motivated Snyder to do this.

    I think that’s pretty much all of them since 2008. Being primaried from the right was always a possibility before then too, but only one of the many potential risks that need to be juggled by politicians. Since 2008, it’s become the overriding concern for every Republican, which explains the otherwise insane lockstep approval for batshit insanity.

  44. 44

    I mean, even though they did elect a bunch of GOP nuts to their state government, I can’t imagine that this shit would be very popular in the birthplace of the American Auto Industry of all places where significant portions of the state have seen how little these corporate ****heads value them.

  45. 45
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    schrodinger’s cat:

    [Jindal] has been making sense since the elections were over …

    Ah, but to me, Bobby Jindal will always be the exorcist-lovin’, anti-volcano-monitoring doofus who sounds and acts like Kenneth the Page.

    .

  46. 46
    Redshift says:

    @JGabriel: Yes and no. As with most of his post-election comments, he understands that the GOP positions look bad, but he’s displayed no hint of awareness that they are bad.

  47. 47
    sheithappens says:

    This is why the fight never ends. So sad people sat back and let these crazies in in 2010.

  48. 48
    shortstop says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Because he’s a whore who will go wherever Republican winds blow and he thinks he has a chance at the presidency if he “moderates” (or, more accurately, appears to moderate). After the big loss, he sees an opportunity for differentiating himself from the crazy he enthusiastically supported before. So courageous.

  49. 49
    quannlace says:

    In nicer news, the first Medical Marijuana clinic opened here in New Jersey. It only took, how many years, after voters legalized it?

  50. 50
    Linnaeus says:

    @Mike:

    So, what now? There are measures to put a bill on the ballot and constitutional amendments as well, but the latter doesn’t do as well as the former as we saw in November. The Senate is so ossified, I don’t see how we could retake it even in a wave year, so I’m not sure what we can do since actual repeal is out. We can try for a yes referendum vote, but getting yes votes is a lot harder than no, especially on an issue that the right has great talking points.

    There aren’t any great short-term options right now. In terms of the big picture, the Michigan labor community needs to organize. Counter the right-wing talking points. Reach out to all their members. Make more and better alliances with other non-labor groups. A little bit (or a lot) of social unionism might be what’s needed here.

  51. 51
    Mike says:

    @Kristine: Yeah, that’s the BS line from all the pundits. If that were true, prop 2 would have never made it on the ballot. Prop 2 was a move to protect against a right to work bill that we knew was coming. Today’s actions show why it was a smart move to make, even though it failed.

    Snyder didn’t want the bill, but he’s too weak to do anything. It was being pushed too hard by Bolger (the house leader), and Snyder was too much of a wimp to say no.

    So now what happens is unclear. A direct repeal is impossible since they added an appropriation to it. It’s a stupid loophole in the law that lets anyone bypass the citizens repeal process by attaching a few dollars to a bill. Regaining the Senate, Governorship, and House seem awfully unlikely. Putting a referendum on the ballot is pretty risky as we saw with prop 2.

  52. 52
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Brachiator:

    Why the change?

    Grifter Grover Norquist came to town and Dick “I am a Dick” DeVoss put up lots of money. That’s part of it at least.

    In addition, several bills have been introduced to effectively privatize the entire State of Michigan public school system.

    It seems the right is attacking on a number of fronts in Michigan probably with the hope that Dems don’t have enough resources to fend them all off.

    And in Indiana a bill has been introduced to require the teaching of creationism in all public schools.

  53. 53
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @JGabriel:

    I will bet the largest sum of money I can muster that the official wingnut response will be, and I quote, “LIBRUL MEDIA BIAS!”

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Btw, this totally blows up their line about how RTW is necessary because of “public safety”.

    Ugly racial aspect to this in Michigan.

  56. 56
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Morbo: Someone oughta run counter memes with images of destitution in the Deep South. $9/hr, employed at will, $8/hr “union” job with retaliatory firing, that’s gonna create a strong community. /

  57. 57
    El Cid says:

    All the best ideas originate with Dallas newspaper op-ed writers.

  58. 58
    Don K says:

    @Butch:

    There’s a catch to the constitutional provision for referendum in MI. If there’s an appropriation included in the bill, then it’s immune from referendum. I’m sure the Reps will include an appropriation for this purpose, even if it’s only for an extra batch of paper clips for the Secretary of State office in Escanaba.

    Now, once it’s enacted, the good guys can go for a straight repeal of the applicable sections of the MCL through the initiative, but the referendum has the advantage of putting the law on hold until the election is decided.

  59. 59
    Mike says:

    They say that this was vengeance for prop 2, but it really was vengeance for helping get a black man elected president who saved the auto industry and the economy of Michigan.

  60. 60
    Mike says:

    They say that this was vengeance for prop 2, but it really was vengeance for helping get a black man elected who saved the auto industry and the economy of Michigan.

  61. 61
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ohio Mom: Where is the ACLU? I thought that the US Constitution guaranteed a democratic form of government.

  62. 62
    Maude says:

    @quannlace:
    Christie is meeting with Obama about Sandy funds.

  63. 63
    Butch says:

    @Don K: Funny reference for me because I live about 30 miles west of Escanaba; just hard to believe this issue is coming up at all because the state seems, at least to me, to overall be pretty pro-union.

  64. 64
    PeakVT says:

    @Another Halocene Human: The constitution says that the US government will guarantee each state a republican form of government, but it says nothing about local governments.

  65. 65
    Rafer Janders says:

    Police have begun pepper spraying and removing protesters from the Capitol!

    The rule for pepper-spraying should be this: if you wouldn’t have hit them on the head with a baton if you didn’t have the pepper spray…then you shouldn’t pepper spray.

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The rule for pepper-spraying should be this: if you wouldn’t have hit them on the head with a baton if you didn’t have the pepper spray…then you shouldn’t pepper spray.

    And the rule in practice seems to be: if you wouldn’t have hit them on the head with a baton if you didn’t have pepper spray… then you don’t belong in the riot police in the first place.

  67. 67
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    That’s a rather lax rule if you ask me. After all, plenty of police would gladly baton the fuck out of you if they thought they could get away with it.

    And Jesus, they really are intent on state level tyranny over there.

  68. 68
    Nicole says:

    Shameless pandering for a friend of mine- in 1992 he and his recording partner did a song, “1937” about the Flint sit-down strike. Great photos and film of the strike in the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYjJxstGl7Y

    I can’t believe this is happening in Michigan, of all places.

    My uncle (a right-winger) is a retired state trooper. He was grousing about all these accounts of pay disparity between men and women and said to me that during all his years on the force, there was never any issues with pay disparity between men and women; everyone was paid according to how much time they had spent on the force and it was fair to everyone. I pointed out he was in a union. He didn’t have a response.

  69. 69
    Original Lee says:

    @Brachiator: Snyder has let the legislature be the big bad conservative force, but even with their cheatin’ lyin’ ways of getting bills to his desk for “emergency” signatures, many in Michigan would not call him a moderate. It would be more accurate to say that he has tried to be perceived as a pragmatic businessman, but that failed when Rmoney did. So why not come out of the closet?

  70. 70
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I thought that the US Constitution guaranteed a democratic form of government.

    What? You think we live in America — Land of the Free? If so, you’re just plain wrong — it’s AmeriKKKa, land of the 1% and the crazies.

  71. 71
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PeakVT: Damn loopholes. I guess it’s up to the state constitution, then? What a crock. Many state constitutions are more liberal than the US constitution, but that’s changing with ALEC and GOP supermajorities.

    They made a run at public funding for religious schools in Florida this year.

  72. 72
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @shortstop: Even if Jindal is “moderate”, what makes him attractive as a Presidential candidate? Nothing as far as I can see.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Even if Jindal is “moderate”, what makes him attractive as a Presidential candidate?

    He’s a token minority, so he’ll attract the minority vote. That’s the theory, at least.

  74. 74
    Cassidy says:

    @Rafer Janders: The rule should be don’t fucking pepper spray your fellow citizens who are gathered to voice their displeasure.

  75. 75
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Butch: I have an uncle nicknamed Butch who lives in Kingsford. Be damned funny if that was you.

  76. 76
    Rafer Janders says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    That’s a rather lax rule if you ask me. After all, plenty of police would gladly baton the fuck out of you if they thought they could get away with it.

    Well, you know, I was sort of assuming a situation in which a policeman needed to use a baton for self-defense…which, yes, silly me. I should not have made that assumption.

    So let me restate: if you would not have needed to hit someone over the head with a baton to defend yourself — then you shouldn’t similarly be able to hit them with pepper spray. It should be a self-defense weapon, not a “I’m going to torture you with pain to make you do what I want” tool.

  77. 77

    What’s sad is that so many people believe that their lives will be improved by lowering the incomes of their neighbors. There is no evidence that this is true, but the lack of evidence doesn’t seem to affect beliefs the way we might expect.

  78. 78
    Butch says:

    @johnny aquitard: Not me – sorry. I’m in a little town (really just an address – there is no “town”) called Wilson.
    But if you want to see how really hard it is to get good information up here in the UP, check out this incredible propaganda piece on the local ABC affiliate in Marquette:
    http://abc10up.com/freedom-to-.....e-forward/

  79. 79
    shortstop says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Well, what Roger said, and also, there seems to be a real rush of GOP candidates who have absolutely nothing to offer the presidency and are the last to figure that out.

    What did Romney have to give the U.S. but his own ambition? Or Santorum, widely disliked nationally and virtually idle since he’d been kicked out of his Senate seat in an 18-point loss six years earlier? Cain was a novelty act and Bachmann must have (should have) known that her appeal was directly limited to the fringe.

    The ego that goes into someone’s decision to run — and everyone has to have it to make that move, not just Republicans — never seems to be accompanied any more by clear-eyed reviews of one’s own electability, at least with candidates on the right.

  80. 80
    Roger Moore says:

    @shortstop:

    Well, what Roger said, and also, there seems to be a real rush of GOP candidates who have absolutely nothing to offer the presidency and are the last to figure that out.

    Can you name a likely GOP presidential candidate who does have something to offer, though? The problem is that any Republican with enough sense to be anything but an awful President will never win the primary and has enough sense to see it. That leaves the field full of grifters, narcissists, and fools. The only way you’ll get a decent candidate in the field is if he has a quixotic desire to run despite knowing that he has no plausible chance.

  81. 81
    Mr Furious says:

    @Andrea: I agree with this. Failure in November to support the referendum to put collective bargaining in the Constitution is in no way indicative of the strength or weakness of unions in reality. Perception, however, is another matter.

    It was fucking stupid for the unions to push for it, because it was never going to win. Now the GOP can point to the referendum results and yell, “Because, mandate!” and the lazy-ass media will begin shoveling dirt onto “Labor” in support.

  82. 82
    Mr Furious says:

    Also, too. Anytime before November Snyder was asked about RTW legislation, he hedged by saying he “wasn’t interested in it.” he never (that I heard) said he’d oppose it.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    What’s hard for me to understand is why people don’t get this yet. All of these privatization schemes end the same way. They end with local, front line workers being paid LESS and the public money pushed UP to executives, lawyers, consultants and shareholders.
    I mean, it’s SUCH a bad deal for taxpayers. Can people not comprehend that this public money LEAVES their communities? Do they really want to live in places where the entire public sector “middle class” disappears?

  84. 84
    dollared says:

    This is a done deal. it won’t get reversed.

    We idiots don’t seem to understand. It’s always about the fucking money, and the Kochs stil play the game better than we do. They got their majorities in 2010 because the Dems were fucking idiots, then they redistricted, and now they have 10 years of locked in Majorities.

    And if we try to change anything at the Federal level, the Supremes will block it and claim 10th amendment.

    We get gay marriage and legal pot because it doesn’t cost the our masters any money. We can be all fucking proud of ourselves, but we’re losing. And continue to lose.

  85. 85
    Keith G says:

    This bleak turn in Michigan, like that in Wisconsin, shows how weak the national progressive movement is when compared to the conservatives. Snyder, Scott, Brewer, Haley, Walker and others can turn to a previously constructed political infrastructure complete with a think-tank provided play book.

    For well over twenty years, various conservative entities worked tirelessly to dominate local and state governments. This is their answer to the demographics bomb:

    Use the concentrated power they have in given states to change as many long standing procedures, rules, and laws as they can, and do this in such a way that erodes current and future moderate and liberal power.

    While liberals tended to get wrapped up in heart-pleasing, big picture debates, conservatives found ways to stock state legislatures with the rightest of the right wing.

    We need to pay as much attention (in an organized way) to state and local governments as they do if we want to be able counter crap like the current drama in that state up north.

    edit:
    @kay:

    Can people not comprehend that this public money LEAVES their communities? Do they really want to live in places where the entire public sector “middle class” disappears?

    People might if their was a relentless messaging effort. This sad reality is partially a product of decades of relentless conservative messaging the other way.

    This is what political parties are supposed to get done. One side has just been doing it better.

  86. 86
    Kay says:

    @Keith G:

    People might if their was a relentless messaging effort. This sad reality is partially a product of decades of relentless conservative messaging the other way.
    This is what political parties are supposed to get done. One side has just been doing it better.

    I think the problem is bigger than that on the liberal and Democratic side. We push things like tax policy and public insurance programs as a response to income inequality and we’ve lost the fundamental connection between A PAYCHECK and A WORKER and A COMMUNITY.

    WTF does it matter if the top 2% pay a higher rate in federal income taxes if the entire bottom half are making 9 dollars an hour? No one who makes 9 dollars an hour even cares about income tax rates. I mean, really, what are we offering? “We’ll make sure you can get food stamps when your wages drop below poverty level!”. Wow. Thanks so much!

    There’s a connection between income inequality and INCOME. It’s like we’ve all forgotten that. Manipulating the tax code isn’t going to get us where we want to go, and worse, it’s meaningless to the people we want to reach.

  87. 87
    Keith G says:

    @Kay: You are certainly correct. It is bigger.

    And still there is the problem of how to “sell” reality when it is so clear that humans have always jumped at the chance to wrap themselves up in a comforting myth at the cost of being inadequately prepared for an unfortunate turn in the near future.

    I guess that would be the ultimate measure of leadership.

  88. 88
    dollared says:

    Kay,

    Neoliberalism always said “the market will decide wage rates, and then we’ll tax the rich to make up for it.”

    Well, here we are, in Bill Clinton’s neoliberal paradise. The free market has spoken, and it has decided – as it always does – that ultimately less than 5% of humanity has pricing power.

    There really is only one thing to do at this point: Offload everything from employers onto the government, and tax the shit out of the rich in order to provide pensions, health care, unemployment/poverty insurance and cradle-to-grave education directly to people.

    We have to sell this idea – think of it as “supply side 2.0:” We can say “It takes $2M/worker for society to provide a healthy, educated worker for the benefit of the private sector. If lifetime earnings are below that, the private sector is skimming, and we need to recapture the skimming via taxation.

    Do you see any other way out?

  89. 89
    Kay says:

    @Keith G:

    And still there is the problem of how to “sell” reality when it is so clear that humans have always jumped at the chance to wrap themselves up in a comforting myth at the cost of being inadequately prepared for an unfortunate turn in the near future.

    But we HAVE think tanks. We HAVE lobbying groups. Plenty. And they pump out tax code analysis and numbers on Medicaid and Social Security. All of that stuff is fine but what about wages? I find it amazing that we have been “debating” income inequality for months, years, and the whole discussion has been limited to federal income tax rates and social insurance. How did we not get to INCOME? How did we not get to this horrible push to demean and disparage the work that people do? There shouldn’t be a politician in this country who feels free to shout that low wage or front line workers (like teachers) are lazy and useless. But they do! And media echoes it! How did that happen? I’m ranting, but I would like liberals and Democrats to drop the lazer-like focus on federal income tax rates and address the core issue, which is not the tax code but stagnant or driven-down wages.

  90. 90
    dollared says:

    @Kay: I totally, completely agree. We should always have said: if you work 40 hours you should be able to feed, clothe and house your family. But see my #88. What do we do now?

  91. 91
    Kay says:

    @dollared:

    Offload everything from employers onto the government, and tax the shit out of the rich in order to provide pensions, health care, unemployment/poverty insurance and cradle-to-grave education directly to people.

    But “people” aren’t going to sign on to that, because “people” actually want to work and be self-supporting. Most people don’t want to apply for food stamps. They don’t want a full time job + food stamps. They don’t consider that a big win.

    Labor unions are the only entity on the liberal or Democratic side that address this, which is why I think there will be a huge hole when they disappear.

  92. 92
    Kay says:

    @dollared:

    I don’t know but I think I DO know that liberals and Democrats are not going to reach low wage workers by promising them ample food stamps and Medicaid to supplement their low wage, disrespected and demeaned job. That’s not going to cut it. When I talked with public employees in Ohio they were offended by the coordinated media-conservative attack. They were offended because they believe their work is valuable and worthy of respect. I do too! It’s this big lie, isn’t it, that we value WORK. We do not. We value certain, select kinds of work.

  93. 93
    dollared says:

    @Kay: Yes. But there is no fix. Unions will not return. I was going another way: stop call it “Medicaid,” call it “National Health Care.” Don’t call it “Student Aid for the poor,” call it “Free Public University.”

    Oh, and I can raise the minimum wage to $12/hr. and index it to GDP.

    I can’t bring back labor unions. I can’t figure out how to reprice all categories of labor (except the minimum wage). But I can argue that education and health and retirement are social goods that need to be provided to all citizens, without offending anyone’s dignity.

    And yes, it’s only a floor and I would love something better and fairer. Still looking for ideas….

  94. 94
    dollared says:

    Oh, there is one other thing: 10% tariff on imported goods. We are simply stupid to not acknowledge the societal cost of importing so much of our consumed goods.

  95. 95
    Maude says:

    @Kay:
    Don’t forget the food stamp cuts. It’s part of the whole starve the beast. The wage earners being the beast.
    Thank you, Bill Clinton.

  96. 96
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @WereBear:

    But that’s the difference between NY and the sorry-they-freed-the-slaves attitude of Old Dixie.

    My significant other, born and bred in the South, recounts not knowing what a picket line was the first time she saw one. The phrase “right to work” sets my fucking teeth on edge.

    @👽 Martin:

    It’s a low volume product (I’m 99% certain it’s the Mac Pro replacement) but it’s a very important start.

    Makes sense: most Pros are BTO to some degree, and sold at a premium (and accounted for as business expense) for people who very much know the specifics of what they want. Not the same kind of process or market as the bulk of their current product line.

  97. 97
    Kay says:

    @dollared:

    Oh, and I can raise the minimum wage to $12/hr. and index it to GDP.

    I’d rather have a raise in the minimum wage than a tax credit. Rather than collect it then distribute it, just cut out the gubmint middleman and put it in a paycheck :)

    Or, this:

    Their activism, part of a flash strike of some 200 workers from fast-food restaurants around New York City, caps a string of unorthodox actions sponsored by organized labor, including worker protests outside Walmart stores, which, like most fast-food chains, are opposed to being unionized, and union drives at carwashes in New York and Los Angeles.
    Labor unions are hoping that the unusual tactics, often in collaboration with social justice activists and other community groups, will offer them a new opportunity to get back on the offensive, helping to raise the floor for wages and working conditions in the harsh, ultracompetitive economy of the 21st century.
    Mr. Carrillo’s and Mr. Williams’s meager salaries also underscore the straightforward choice we face as a nation: either we build an economy in which most workers can earn enough to adequately support their families or we build a government with the wherewithal to subsidize the existence of a lower class that can’t survive on its own. We are doing neither.

    With all the problems with unions, these sorts of things are why I think they’re so crucial. NO ONE else addresses this. There’s lots of ways to look at income inequality directly, outside the federal tax code. There’s no rule that says you have to start with the people who are already in the middle class :)

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kay:

    We value certain, select kinds of work.

    I wouldn’t even say that. We value money. Lots and lots of money. If your job makes you a huge salary, then we as a society consider it valuable. If you’re barely grinding along at the edge of poverty, that’s proof that your job isn’t valuable or important.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @Keith G:

    Keith, I think that’s too narrow, too if by “leadership” you mean “the President”. I actually think the narrow focus on the President springs from the same place that the narrow focus on and worship of the CEO does. I think focusing on the top is sort of a national obsession that hasn’t really served us well.

    There’s all kinds of “leaders”. They don’t have to be national, or even in government. It’s probably best if they’re arms length from government, actually, because then they can act purely as advocates w/out weighing all of the various interests.

  100. 100
    Keith G says:

    @kay: In the above case, leadership means party leadership. In my life time, a president often took on the de facto leadership of his party. Some were more immersed in the details than others – usually by seeing to it that one of their people chaired the national committee eg David Wilhelm or Lee Attwater.

    But however it comes about, there needs to be a process in place to gain, then focus, the attention of the partisans – to enlighten them, then call them to action. Humans look to be lead. If we don’t, the void will be filled by others…too often in the past that’s what has occurred.

    Every day, many tens of millions Americans part with their hard earned money to purchase some of the most heinous retail products known to man, eg: Miller Lite, probiotic yogurt, anything from Jack-in-the-Box. They do it because someone has taken the time to convince them that such foolishness is actually a good thing.

    Surely, there is some way in this great land for Democrats to find the folks to craft marketing that addresses the issues you have so eloquently typed about.

  101. 101
    FuriousPhil says:

    Our local Democratic party chair got a little choked up tonight.

    This is like pushing gun control in Texas. The capitol was ringed with blue state police cruisers.

    No committee hearings. Loopholes and ’emergency measures’ to pass unpopular legislation, and rewrites on ballot initiatives that passed (medical marijuana, stem cells, EMF law) that makes them almost impossible to implement.

    We’re on the verge here in SE Michigan. UAW and AFL-CIO need to pull out all the stops – a statewide strike? I don’t know, but we’re frustrated, angry, and holding a fucking sign in Lansing doesn’t seem like it’s gonna do much.

  102. 102
    dollared says:

    I dream of the AAWP. The American Association of Working Persons. 150 million of us. Is it too much to ask?

  103. 103
    Kay says:

    @Keith G:

    In the above case, leadership means party leadership. In my life time, a president often took on the de facto leadership of his party. Some were more immersed in the details than others – usually by seeing to it that one of their people chaired the national committee eg David Wilhelm or Lee Attwater.

    I’ve directly participated in two populist efforts, a referendum to raise the state minimum wage and repealing Ohio’s union-busting law, and in each of those efforts the leaders (labor) deliberately kept the message on the issue, not a Party. We used “fair”. Fairness. We won both. The state Party participated, but only on logistics.

    I think it’s a mistake to off-load this on political parties or to continue to look at the top of the federal government for leadership. In fact, I would suggest that Right wing success in Michigan disproves your point. They don’t have a national leader, yet they managed to pull this off. If your goal is to look at GOP successes and imitate those, why are you looking to the President?

  104. 104
    BobS says:

    @Butch: You need to get a computer so you can get your news over the internet. Not only can you read all the major downstate papers online, there’ alternatives like the Detroit Metro Times, as well as some pretty informative blogs like Michigan Liberal and Blogging for Michigan.

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