Looking a little past the horse race – to wages, income inequality and public versus private

You have probably all heard about this:

The Detroit Free-Press, which endorsed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in his 2010 campaign and has generally supported him since, blasted his decision toram through a union-busting “right-to-work” law in a lame-duck legislative session. At Snyder’s urging, the state House and Senate each passed versions of the law this week. The editorial board slammed his move as a “failure of leadership” and observed that his “about-face” amounted to a betrayal of Michigan’s voters.
The paper noted that while it “trusted Snyder’s judgment,” that trust “has now been betrayed.” It expressed disappointment on behalf of independents who thought Snyder more independent and visionary “than partisan apparatchiks like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or Florida’s Rick Scott,” adding:
His insistence that the legislation was designed to promote the interests of unionized workers and “bring Michiganders together” was grotesquely disingenuous; even as he spoke, security personnel were locking down the capital in anticipation of protests by angry unionists.
Snyder’s ostensible rationale for embracing right-to-work legislation — it was, he insisted, a matter of preserving workers’ freedom of association — was equally dishonest.
The real motive of Michigan’s right-to-work champions, as former GOP legislator Bill Ballenger ruefully observed, is “pure greed” — the determination to emasculate, once and for all, the Democratic Party’s most reliable source of financial and organizational support.

I disagree with Mr. Ballenger’s framing here. I think liberals and Democrats have adopted a media-conservative horse race narrative that sets this up as a Big Labor (Democratic) politicians versus Big Business (Republican) politicians and that narrow story benefits conservatives. It’s “both sides do it”, it ignores real-world consequences to ordinary people with an exclusive focus on politicians and it misses the point.

Why are lobbyists writing these state laws? Beating Democrats isn’t an end. That isn’t the goal. It’s pure greed, all right, but it’s much bigger than donations to Republicans or Democrats. Destroying private sector unions drives down wages in the private sector and destroying public sector unions leaves the field clear to move in and privatize public services, including public schools. It’s about the money, and I don’t mean campaign contributions. I’ve written about public school deregulation and privatization here frequently in both Ohio and Michigan. There is a lot of money to be made driving down private sector wages and there’s a lot of money to be made privatizing publicly funded services and entities. Limiting this discussion to campaign contributions and Republican politicians versus Democratic politicians benefits those who seek to drive down wages and privatize public services and entities, because we never reach the real issues, which are stagnant or falling wages and for-profit privatization, respectively, depending on whether we’re talking about private or public sector. We can win on those.

There are all sorts of actions planned to fight this:

Events today and tomorrow are a prelude to the massive Day of Action planned for Tuesday in Lansing at the Capitol. Some of our brothers joined hundreds in a civil disobedience training yesterday at UAW Local 600’s hall in Dearborn.

Some of the core people who worked on We Are Ohio here in 2011 are headed to Michigan Tuesday. As of right now I’m going with them, although that could change depending on my own work commitments.

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116 replies
  1. 1
    David in NY says:

    Corporate profits go up. Wages are stagnant or go down. It’s been that way since Reagan. Why it’s taken people 30 years to figure it out, I don’t know, but the Republican voodoo-economics fairy works only for the well-to-do.

  2. 2
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Is it just my imagination, or do these union busting tactics tend to be rolled out in the middle of winter, at least in the northern states? Almost as if the folks pushing them know ahead of time they are deeply unpopular and want to use the weather as an ally to minimize public protest.

  3. 3
    Liberty60 says:

    Completely OT, but this caught my eye-
    from the Wall Street Journal:

    If any Republicans thought that President Obama would respond with magnanimity in victory, they now know better. He is determined to rout them on taxes, give as a little as possible on spending, and blame them for any economic damage in the bargain.

    That sentence is only missing “and hear the lamentations of their women”.

    Black Jimmy Carter? More like Black General Sherman.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    @Liberty60: Charles Krauthammer had a column the other day whining about more or less the same thing. So, maybe it should be ‘and hear the lamentations of their pundits.”

  5. 5
    Zifnab25 says:

    Why are lobbyists writing these state laws? Beating Democrats isn’t an end. That isn’t the goal. It’s pure greed, all right, but it’s much bigger than donations to Republicans or Democrats. Destroying private sector unions drives down wages in the private sector and destroying public sector unions leaves the field clear to move in and privatize public services, including public schools. It’s about the money, and I don’t mean campaign contributions.

    I feel like you’re getting a little chicken-and-egg here. Money is a form of power, and power is a means to acquiring money. Republicans would absolutely love to make the Midwest into conservative political bastions like they’ve done with states like Texas and Arizona and South Carolina.

    This isn’t all about money. You can tell because Republicans spent the last two election cycles running on increasingly unpopular planks like opposition to women’s health and gay rights – positions that financially benefit only a handful of demagogues. The fight over union-busting is more than just a fight to lower wages and increase CEO salaries. It’s a fight to turn employees into serfs.

    Remember how Romney rolled into a WV coal miner town and had the entire mining staff doing an unpaid photo-op? Remember how many Republicans have come out against rape-prevention laws and supported “convenient marriages” and supported State’s Rights (rather than, you know, people’s rights?) Anti-union efforts are as much about depriving employees of access to legal aid and denying them right to assembly and collaboration as it is about simply stiffing them their hourly due.

    This is totally a power struggle.

  6. 6
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Protests won’t accomplish jack shit. See generally Wisconsin. The horse has not only left the barn, it’s been sold to a glue factory and rendered. If they want to change anything now they’ll need general strikes.

  7. 7
    Steve says:

    Michigan is the most pro-union state in the country. If they can get away with it there, they can get away with it anywhere. My bet is that they won’t get away with it.

    Michigan is a blue state but it has a long history of reasonable Republican governors (such as George Romney). You could have made a good cause to include Snyder in that group, and I actually think he got a little too much grief for stuff like the emergency manager law. But I believe right-to-work legislation will be a tipping point for a lot of Michiganders.

  8. 8
    Kay says:

    @Zifnab25:

    I think it’s a bad political argument. It plays out as “Democrats lose campaign contributions”. A huge chunk of people don’t give a shit about Democratic fundraising. Why would they?

    Why make it so attenuated? If it’s about driving down wages and privatization, and it is, talk about that. Those are winning arguments. We Are Ohio didn’t focus on Democrats versus Republicans. They asked a simple question: “do you support collective bargaining”? The answer was “yes”. When we wanted to raise the minimum wage in this state we didn’t ask “who benefits, Democrats or Republicans?” We said “is it FAIR that these people haven’t gotten a raise in 16 years?” The answer was “no. not fair”. It’s a better argument.

  9. 9
    japa21 says:

    Half right. The lobbyists write the legislation to satisy their greedy overlords. The politicians (GOP) sign on to weaken the Democratic Party’s base within the unions.

    It becomes a cycle moving from one side to the other. In both instances Dems lose.

  10. 10
    Balconesfault says:

    An outlet of the multi-billion dollar corporation Medianews Group doesn’t want to talk about how crushing unions is a tool for reducing labor wages and increasing profits? Who would have expected that?

  11. 11
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steve:

    Michigan is the most pro-union state in the country. If they can get away with it there, they can get away with it anywhere. My bet is that they won’t get away with it.

    They just did get away with it.

  12. 12
    Xenos says:

    The Breitbartians and such keep declaring that they are ‘at war’. The GOP means to have one, such as it is. The question is what the rest of us mean to do about it.

    What we have done to GOP power in the Senate and in the White House has to be moved to the House and to the states. Permanent minority status for the GOP, in every jurisdiction, has to be the goal. Time to apply the pressure, roll them up, state by state.

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    @Balconesfault:

    Well, right, but there’s no rule that says WE have to talk about it in those terms. Why would I go to “battle of the donors” when I could argue a much better point, which is how much money people take home? Which are they more likely to be interested in?

  14. 14

    The paper noted that while it “trusted Snyder’s judgment,” that trust “has now been betrayed….

    Here is where I repeat that story about the frog and the scorpion.

    idiots. Kay is right about the goal being to destroy public sector unons, privatize public services, and drive down wages. That is the fucking nut of the Republican Party platform. All of that flag-waving, Bible-thumping, abortion-hating stuff is just distraction. When they said they wanted to shrink the size of government, what the fuck did the newspaper’s editorial board think that meant? Of course it meant privatizing public services. Of course it meant destroying unions.

    And right now they can get away with it because unemployment is high and the ball is in the employer’s court. It may not always be this way but that’s the way it is now.

  15. 15
    MGB says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    @eclectablog I’ve just learned that #Michigan state govt employees (AFSCME union) are walking off the job at noon today. #solidarity #saveMI #noRTWMI

    I’m thinking general strikes will be happeing, state wide sooner than anyone expected.

  16. 16
    Kay says:

    @japa21:

    In both instances Dems lose.

    In both instances most people lose. If you believe that, and I do, then make that argument. You’ll double your potentially persuadable audience in one fell swoop :)

  17. 17

    @Xenos:

    The Breitbartians and such keep declaring that they are ‘at war’

    Cue eyeroll. The Breitbartians have always been at war. God. Am I the only one who remembers those idiots over at “Protest Warrior”?

    These people feed off of histrionic chest thumping and empty dick-measuring. There is little behind any of it.

  18. 18
    Kay says:

    @Zifnab25:

    This isn’t all about money. You can tell because Republicans spent the last two election cycles running on increasingly unpopular planks like opposition to women’s health and gay rights – positions that financially benefit only a handful of demagogues. The fight over union-busting is more than just a fight to lower wages and increase CEO salaries. It’s a fight to turn employees into serfs.

    But THIS is. About money. So let”s talk about money. The (more) money that goes to wages in states where there is a union presence and the public money that goes to private operators in deregulatory schemes. Let’s talk about that.

  19. 19
    Warren Terra says:

    Shorter Detroit Free Press: We’re not liars, we’re as dumb as a bag of hammers!

  20. 20
    SenyorDave says:

    Unions have become the ni**ers for the GOP. No matter where they are on the spectrum, all of the GOP will go after unions and find some success. Think about Daniels in IN, Walker in WI, even Christie in NJ (who has demonized unions for most of his term, and by GOP standards he’s practically a commie).

  21. 21
    Joel says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Bullshit. The law will be challenged in the courts.

  22. 22

    @Zifnab25:

    This isn’t all about money. You can tell because Republicans spent the last two election cycles running on increasingly unpopular planks like opposition to women’s health and gay rights – positions that financially benefit only a handful of demagogues…

    Nonsense. Those issues are the tool our plutocrats use to get rubes in places like Ohio and Michigan and, yes, Tennessee to vote against their own economic interests. Those are culture war issues and they were very effective in getting the left labeled as Godless heathen anti-American spit-on-the-troops surrender monkeys. That’s why once Republicans were elected they only did the barest minimum about abortion. Gotta keep the issue alive so they can keep fleecing the rubes.

    That worked until people woke up and realized that the GOP a) was as fiscally disastrous as they’d always been told the Democrats are, and b) they started electing true culture warriors who actually started doing stuff like “fetal personhood bills” and whatnot. And that scared the crap out of everyone who wasn’t completely batshit insane.

  23. 23
    David in NY says:

    @Joel: Probably perfectly legal (unless you know something I don’t). A Democratic legislature could repeal the law, however.

  24. 24
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Joel: I don’t want to sound like I think this is a good thing, because I think “Right to work” laws are an abomination, but how can it be challenged? I am not a US labour lawyer, obviously, but I know there are already many “Right to work” states. Why is Michigan protected when they are not? If the same party holds the governorship and both houses of the state legislature, can’t they basically do whatever they like, as long as it doesn’t conflict with federal statutes or the constitution?

  25. 25
    Joel says:

    @Lurking Canadian: My impression is the workaround that currently protects the law from referendum will be challenged. And then a referendum will be introduced to repeal the law.

  26. 26
    japa21 says:

    @Kay: Kay, I agree. Generally speaking, if the Dems lose, by definition most people lose. But you are right, if we keep it at the level of party discussions, we automatically shut out people who would reflexively shy away from anything to do with the Democratic Party. It has to be kept at a level of talking about people, not party.

  27. 27
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Black Jimmy Carter? More like Black General Sherman.

    @Liberty60: I read Sherman’s autobiography. I recommend it highly for many reasons.

    But Sherman was quite magnanimous. He had a procedure on his long march. He’d roll up to a county line, explain to the local leadership that if not a one of his soldiers was harmed, he’d roll through and not touch a thing. One potshot and he’d take everything of value and burn the rest. And he was a man of his word.

    What’s amazing is how often them good ol’ boys just couldn’t help themselves, in spite of Sherman’s well-known track record, and that’s the reason why “Sherman’s March” was a largely a long trail of charcoal winding back and forth throughout the South.

  28. 28
    Seanly says:

    When are the 1% going to figure out that driving down wages for most of the remaining 99% is bad for business? If nobody makes enough to afford the homes, appliances, cars & associated crap, then the MotU’s businesses and interests will suffer. If the roads, sewers, airports and schools are barely functioning it increases their costs. If the system can’t operate and work for most people then it will collapse. Having billions electronically stashed won’t matter too much if there’s no food to be had. Of course, maybe they just want to get the highest score in this real life Civ III before the whole system collapses.

  29. 29
    👽 Martin says:

    What choice do they have? Seriously.

    Michigan was presumably a swing state in 2012, but Obama and the unions routed the GOP, after the GOP winning big in 2010. Both their near-term and long-term prospects in the state look gloomy, particularly if Romney’s positions rub off broadly on the GOP. If there is a manufacturing revival, Michigan will almost certainly be a big beneficiary of that, and the unions will gain power as a result.

    The GOP in Michigan is facing a prospect similar to California in the mid 90s where an unpopular attitude (rightly) got attached to the GOP and their power waned steadily from there. The power broker in the state is, and presumably will continue to be, the unions. They have to break them, and this is likely their only window in which to do it. They’re likely fucked either way, but at least this way they have a chance. Tactically, I don’t think they have any alternative to keep the party in power. This has the stink of Sarah Palin hail-mary to it, though.

  30. 30
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    My impulse to outrage is tempered by the fact that the people of Michigan elected a Republican governor and sent a majority of Republicans to the state legislature. WTF did they think would not happen as a result? Scorpions gotta do what scorpions gotta do.

  31. 31
    Kay says:

    @japa21:

    I think that issue-focused approach has been shown to work. I don’t know why we would fight against labor framing when we’re trying to help labor. THEY don’t use Republicans versus Democrats. They certainly won’t here because several GOP representatives voted their way. Media and Republicans use this “battle of the donors” framing. There’s a reason for that. We never reach the issue.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    @👽 Martin:

    But this doesn’t have anything to do with “keeping the party in power.” This is the equivalent of burning your seed corn to keep warm. They are ramming this through because it makes financial sense for their owners, not because it makes political sense for the individual politicians who will (or will not) run for office next time around. The very wealthy can always pick up a few more wannabe state legislators for a relative song–but this is their chance to raid the treasury before the party goes belly up. And their long term interests are in creating right to work states and driving down wages. Politics is just a means to that end.

    aimai

  33. 33
    Warren Terra says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    But Sherman was quite magnanimous. He had a procedure on his long march. He’d roll up to a county line, explain to the local leadership that if not a one of his soldiers was harmed, he’d roll through and not touch a thing. One potshot and he’d take everything of value and burn the rest. And he was a man of his word.
    __
    What’s amazing is how often them good ol’ boys just couldn’t help themselves, in spite of Sherman’s well-known track record, and that’s the reason why “Sherman’s March” was a largely a long trail of charcoal winding back and forth throughout the South.

    I’ve got no problem with Sherman unleashing a swathe of destruction in the context of a bitter civil war, but doesn’t the specific retributive policy you describe violate modern (i.e. post-Sherman) ideas about the acceptability of “collective punishment” in warfare?

  34. 34
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    I think it’s a bad political argument. It plays out as “Democrats lose campaign contributions”.

    It maybe a bad argument to get the attention of the masses, but it is definitely a germane argument about state-level politics.

    I think the loss of effective Democratic parties across the South tracks pretty closely with their ability to fund raise, as much as it does with having trouble representing conservative constituents, when Republicans were able to demonize the national Democratic party as being ultra-liberal.

    If state level Republicans can break the back of state level Democrats ability to raise money, they will have effectively neutered those state-level Democratic parties and can move towards Republican one party rule for a long, long time.

  35. 35
    Cathy W says:

    @👽 Martin: I think the rush to pass it definitely had to do with November’s election results. A local activist group did some analysis and concluded that on January 1, after the new House was seated, Right-To-Work would have failed 57-53 instead of passing 58-52.

  36. 36
    Hoodie says:

    think it’s a bad political argument. It plays out as “Democrats lose campaign contributions”. A huge chunk of people don’t give a shit about Democratic fundraising. Why would they?
    Why make it so attenuated? If it’s about driving down wages and privatization, and it is, talk about that. Those are winning arguments. We Are Ohio didn’t focus on Democrats versus Republicans. They asked a simple question: “do you support collective bargaining”?

    I generally agree, but I’m not sure that focusing on a threat of privatization is necessarily effective. The most universal contact folks have with government are school systems and, frankly, some public school systems suck. People often view private schools as superior. Now, that’s often because of adverse selection and because the public schools have been beggared by anti-education politicians, but the reality is that you may not get much traction with the “threat of privatization” argument outside of a base of government workers. Driving wages down, however, is another matter.

  37. 37
    TerryC says:

    @Steve: Me, too. And I am one. I’ve tolerated Snyder until now. No longer.

  38. 38

    Kay – Welcome to Michigan. Thanks for coming.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Seanly:

    When are the 1% going to figure out that driving down wages for most of the remaining 99% is bad for business?

    I think people make a big mistake when they underestimate the importance of cultural identity when it comes to politics specifically and sociopolitical struggles more generally. The 1% are just as prone to voting with their hearts rather than their wallets as are the most abortion-hating, gay-fearing lower-middle class Godbotherers in Kansas. The difference being that the cultural issues which motivate the 1% are loathing of and contempt for the proles, rather than religion and sexual mores. What’s the matter with the boardroom? applies here.

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    It maybe a bad argument to get the attention of the masses, but it is definitely a germane argument about state-level politics

    It’s fine and true and all that, but it’s not even favorable ground, because we only discuss one side of this equation. There is enormous money behind privatization and lowering wages.

    You’re doing it right now. You’re talking about subtraction, “Democrats lose political power, then B happens, then C happens”. Why go at this in such a roundabout way? You know how this goes. If you make that argument media and conservatives just come back with “Big Labor money versus Big Business money” (false equation) and we go around and around.

  41. 41
    piratedan says:

    wish this was a “both sides do it” argument, would be interesting to see a Dem held state legislation outlaw political donations from multinational corporations and people with personal wealth above 500K a year and listen to the bitchfest that would ensue. Then perhaps, there might be a way for those GOPpers to be blessed with a bit of perspective.

  42. 42
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I’ve got no problem with Sherman unleashing a swathe of destruction in the context of a bitter civil war, but doesn’t the specific retributive policy you describe violate modern (i.e. post-Sherman) ideas about the acceptability of “collective punishment” in warfare?

    @Warren Terra: Hell yes it does, but I think those ideas are horseshit anyway. You get the populace in the game and suddenly they stop supporting leaders who think war is awesome.

  43. 43
    aimai says:

    @Hoodie:

    Privatization of public schools is not creating “private schools.” Anyone who thinks that needs to have their head examined. A charter school is a privatized school that takes taxpayer money just like a public school but which owes no duty to the community or the taxpayers in terms of its physical plant, its teaching staff, or the children it takes. Ditto a “private prison”–a prisoner and/or the student simply loses their rights vis a vis the private owner, while the state shifts responsibility and tax dollars to private hands.

    aimai

  44. 44
    👽 Martin says:

    @aimai:

    But this doesn’t have anything to do with “keeping the party in power.” This is the equivalent of burning your seed corn to keep warm.

    Yeah, but what else do they have? Citizens United was supposed to be the countervailing force to the unions. It didn’t help. The unions stepped up.

    Yeah, it’s short sighted, but what has the GOP done lately that wasn’t? Blocking voters backfired within months and threatens to do long-term harm to the party. This is no different, but instead of going after the voters directly, they’re going after the vote organizers. Similarly short-sighted, but it’s either this or embrace liberal policies, which they cannot do since the tea party has driven all notions of moderation out of the GOP.

    I don’t buy the employer greed argument here. If that were the case, this would have always been on the docket. This appears to have bloomed in full since Nov 6. Politics is driving this.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Unchecked, unbridled greed is destroying this country.

    These vile creatures have the chutzpah to call themselves “Christians”, too.

    This madness must end. It must. Or Mother Nature will take care of us with an extinction event.

  46. 46
    Kay says:

    @Hoodie:

    I really disagree. I found in talking with people in Ohio that they had no idea that so much public money was going to private operators. None. It isn’t talked about by school reformers, and that’s dishonest. In the post I linked to a charter school supporter in Michigan who is appalled by this. He’s the exception, sadly. People were sold “reform’. They weren’t sold “privatize and funnel public money to for-profits”. Private schools have traditionally NOT been for-profits, so “private” doesn’t tell the whole story either.

    If all that “public school” means (now) is “publicly funded” that is a different debate. I want to have THAT debate, because that’s what’s happening.

  47. 47
    Steve says:

    @Bobby Thomson: If you think they’ve already gotten away with it, then feel free to just give up. A lot of people disagree with you, though.

  48. 48
    roc says:

    @Steve:

    Michigan is the most pro-union state in the country.

    If Michigan is what a “pro-union” state looks like, the rest of the nation must be actively throwing garbage at union workers.

    Even among union workers I’ve known, at least half have no real appreciation for the union and lament the dues coming out of their check. And people not in unions? Almost none have anything even approaching a positive impression.

    It doesn’t help that the UAW was complicit in accepting benefits in lieu of pay raises, when they knew the automakers were choosing benefits because accounting tricks masked their impact and they couldn’t afford that shit in the first place. Also, corruption and Hoffa.

    Which is to say: they certainly haven’t been making it *difficult* to demonize organized labor for the last few decades.

  49. 49
    Kay says:

    @piratedan:

    wish this was a “both sides do it” argument, would be interesting to see a Dem held state legislation outlaw political donations from multinational corporations and people with personal wealth above 500K a year and listen to the bitchfest that would ensue. Then perhaps, there might be a way for those GOPpers to be blessed with a bit of perspective.

    Exactly. But we’re never going to have that discussion. Instead we’ll focus on Big Labor and Democrats. It’s a loser, IMO.

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:

    @piratedan:

    would be interesting to see a Dem held state legislation outlaw political donations from multinational corporations and people with personal wealth above 500K a year and listen to the bitchfest that would ensue.

    Montana sez O hai!!

    (Yes the corporatists on the SCOTUS struck it down. Which really proves your point.)

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Hell yes it does, but I think those ideas are horseshit anyway. You get the populace in the game and suddenly they stop supporting leaders who think war is awesome.

    This, this, this.

    In corrupt Europe, there are plenty of people in Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and all the other countries who have first hand knowledge of why war is not a very good idea.

    In this country, those who have experienced it are by comparison considerably fewer.

    There are plenty of people who think war is some sort of entertainment spectacle.

    It may take what my one of my first sergeants called “a significant emotional event” to disabuse many of this notion that war is somehow “fun”.

  52. 52
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steve: When I say they got away with it, I mean the new legislation is a done deal. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Snyder will veto, so that law will be on the books until the existing Republican-majority legislature repeals it (fat chance), a new legislature is elected, or a referendum manages to get through (which could take almost as much or more time as electing a new legislature). So, yeah, I’d say having that law on the books for at least a year or two is getting away with it. Anybody else who wants to deny that is just indulging magical thinking.

  53. 53
    Birthmarker says:

    The corporatism is the end. Destroying every group that traditionally votes democratic is the means.

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Its always been on the docket. What makes you think that this wasn’t ready to go regardless of who won the election? In fact they rammed it through right now because its their last chance–they wouldn’t have been able to after the lame duck session. But something like this doesn’t come up overnight. Its obviously been on the table for a long time.

    aimai

  55. 55
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steve: And I never said “give up,” just that they did in fact get away with it. People thinking that marching with a few signs will change that are failing to appreciate reality and the work that will be necessary to roll this back.

  56. 56
    Kay says:

    @Hoodie:

    Western professor Gary Miron, who is nationally known for his charter school research, told the committee that the schools have strayed far from their original intent of being innovative, locally operated alternatives to traditional schools.
    “They’ve gone away from those original charter ideas to the point that they should probably be called ‘corporate’ schools or ‘franchise’ schools instead,” Miron told the senators. “I like charter schools. I like the notion of charter schools. But what we’re talking about now is something that is very different. We need to go back to the original intent and goals.”
    Miron said for-profit management companies dominate the charter landscape, and exercise such control over schools that local boards of education overseeing the schools have difficulty expressing authority or autonomy.

    From the link in the post.

    I am of the opinion we can’t “go back top the original intent and goals” because we’re inundated with for-profit lobbyists in state legislatures and now we’ll never get rid of them, but surely we can at least discuss reality rather than good intentions. That’s reality.

  57. 57
    gypsy howell says:

    @Seanly:

    When are the 1% going to figure out that driving down wages for most of the remaining 99% is bad for business?

    Gosh, I don’t know. Maybe in 9 or 10 generations, when the money finally runs out? Look at the remnants of the last Gilded Age. Are the 4th and 5th generation indolent spawn of the Rockefellers and Mellons and DuPonts still rich? Uhhhh… yeah. They are. For quite a number of generations to come.

    Until then, a few billion dollars in your pocket can go a long way, especially if you own the government and can enact all kinds of favorable tax and welfare schemes for you and your kind. As far as the food goes, if you’re one of the billionaires, what little food that may or may not be left on the planet will most certainly go to you, so no worries there.

    Honestly, wishing the rich would “wake up” one day and realize that this is bad for them is absurd. It’s GREAT for them. For right now, and for years and generations to come.

  58. 58
    👽 Martin says:

    @Seanly:

    When are the 1% going to figure out that driving down wages for most of the remaining 99% is bad for business?

    They are now. More specifically, they’re learning that if you give employees – even line-level no reason to invest in their employer because they have no job security, benefits, pension, that the employees will given nothing back to the employer.

    China is teaching them that lesson. They were giving back early on. Now they keep that information to themselves and launch competitors against you. Everything is going to look like the solar industry. US executives are waking up to that fact. Finally.

    The ‘living wage’ argument is a non-starter with US industries. Corporations never look at macroeconomic factors outside of their own market. They’ll always find ways to work the market to keep sales going. They’ll only care if it causes them to lose workers for better opportunities. They’ll only care about it as a microeconomic issue.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    @Zifnab25:

    This isn’t all about money. […] It’s a fight to turn employees into serfs.

    Exactly. It’s about returning us to an age when everything in our lives came to us as a favor from the local robber baron or machine politician, who gave us our livelihoods out of the good of his 1%er heart and could take them away if we put so much as a toe out of line. Anything that might enable the public to have a voice in the system, from unions to the welfare state to regulation now even to voting rights, has to go.

    (Let’s be honest, if it was only about money, the 1% did perfectly well for themselves in the years of the “liberal consensus.”)

  60. 60
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    I view at as two separate issues.

    One issue is how a state-level Democratic party can frame a position on an issue and succeed in winning voter appeal.

    The other issue is how does the popular support of Democrats impact fund raising, which can have long-term consequences for state-level Democratic parties.

    In the South, the Democratic parties were not able to frame their positions in such a way that it appealed to old-time Democrats, who hated the national Democratic figures such as Pelosi, both Clintons, Ted Kennedy, etc., while not becoming Republican-lite.

    The Southern Democratic parties lost the messaging battle in a couple of election cycles.

    This shouldn’t have been the end of effective state-level Democratic parties in the South.

    So what happened to drive those parties to irrelevance so quickly?

    My theory is the electoral losses drove money out of state-level Democratic parties.

    I think the pro-union Democratic arguments in the Midwest is an easier selling point, as far as making the case for something popular Democratic politicians can agree to jump onto.

    I think behind the scenes the fundraising issue isn’t irrelevant to the future of state-level parties.

  61. 61
    Chris says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    My impulse to outrage is tempered by the fact that the people of Michigan elected a Republican governor and sent a majority of Republicans to the state legislature.

    Pretty much what my friend from Wisconsin, a child of two union members, had to say after the 2010 elections. Yeah, it really sucks that they’re trying to bust unions, but what the hell did these people expect?

  62. 62
    Kay says:

    @👽 Martin:

    They are now. More specifically, they’re learning that if you give employees – even line-level no reason to invest in their employer because they have no job security, benefits, pension, that the employees will given nothing back to the employer.

    It’s not just job security, as in “keeping a job”. It’s the ability to have a reasonable somewhat orderly life outside work. With JIT scheduling and temp positions they are making it impossible for people to budget or plan anything. It gets worse every year. Conservatives are doing more to destroy the incentive to work than anyone else. Do they want people to take and keep entry level jobs? How about not making doing that impossible for them to manage?

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @Warren Terra:

    I’ve got no problem with Sherman unleashing a swathe of destruction in the context of a bitter civil war, but doesn’t the specific retributive policy you describe violate modern (i.e. post-Sherman) ideas about the acceptability of “collective punishment” in warfare?

    Yeah… when I read that I was like “gee, that’s convenient. So if you see anything in this county that you really want to take, all you need to do is pay a local to take a pot shot at your troops from far enough away? No potential for abuse there at all…”

  64. 64
    Tyro says:

    My impulse to outrage is tempered by the fact that the people of Michigan elected a Republican governor and sent a majority of Republicans to the state legislature. WTF did they think would not happen as a result?

    Yeah, seriously. People talk about the republican wave as though it just “happened.” It didn’t. It was the result of people voting for Republicans. I guess the voters took a losing bet in assuming that the republicans hated black people more than they hated unions.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Seanly:

    When are the 1% going to figure out that driving down wages for most of the remaining 99% is bad for business?

    An obscure Scotsman in the 18th century figured this out. Of course, very few have actually read what he wrote, because he was very critical (in a very genteel 18th century sort of way) of greedhead corporatists back then.

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I think people make a big mistake when they underestimate the importance of cultural identity when it comes to politics specifically and sociopolitical struggles more generally. The 1% are just as prone to voting with their hearts rather than their wallets as are the most abortion-hating, gay-fearing lower-middle class Godbotherers in Kansas. The difference being that the cultural issues which motivate the 1% are loathing of and contempt for the proles, rather than religion and sexual mores. What’s the matter with the boardroom? applies here.

    This.

    A lot of them would rather live in a pigstye as long as they get to be king of it, than have to share a paradise with people outside of the narrow, restricted group they consider “their peers.”

  67. 67
    Steeplejack says:

    @Zifnab25:

    This isn’t all about money. You can tell because Republicans spent the last two election cycles running on increasingly unpopular planks like opposition to women’s health and gay rights–positions that financially benefit only a handful of demagogues.

    It’s still about the money. Those “unpopular” positions don’t benefit them (the GOP plutocrats) directly, but they serve to “mobilize the base” to get out and vote for their running-dog candidates, which benefits them in the long run.

  68. 68
    Lojasmo says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    It could be argued that Obama takes the same approach as Sherman.

  69. 69
    Lojasmo says:

    @roc:

    Oh? Choosing benefits instead of pay raises? I shall just collect my pearls and retire to the fainting couch.

    Are you absolutely unaware about the nature of collective bargaining? Seemingly so.

  70. 70
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Chris:

    No potential for abuse there at all.

    I’m always shocked when war turns abusive.

  71. 71
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    My theory is the electoral losses drove money out of state-level Democratic parties.

    I don’t know. You can have plenty of money and still have a completely inept state Party.

    My larger point is that’s a partisan political process argument, and those Democrats who might be motivated by it didn’t vote for Snyder.

    You can get where you want to go either way, but just look at the two arguments and tell me which one is more powerful and persuasive: “Democrats will lose one of their donor/base groups” OR “most people will lose on wages/decent working conditions”. If you win the bigger argument you’ll also win the political Party battle, but it’s just much more appealing to talk about people rather than “those poor politicians! What ever will they do?” :)

  72. 72
    Ming says:

    Thanks for bringing this up, Kay. I agree with your critique of the framing. “oh, the poor Democratic Party” is definitely not the way to go. Not only is it less effective, it sends the message that of the various outcomes the Dems could be concerned with in this fight, what they’re concerned with is their own asses. Screw that. The question is, is it good for regular working folk? is it good for the state?

  73. 73
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    If Michigan is what a “pro-union” state looks like, the rest of the nation must be actively throwing garbage at union workers.

    @roc: Why yes, that’s pretty much exactly what happens.

  74. 74
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    Mitt Romney had plenty of money. We spent the whole summer laughing at his campaign. Rightfully, I might add. Granted, he won that one debate, and THEN WE LOST THE ELECTION! in our MINDS but how much could 18 rounds of debate prep have cost?

  75. 75
    Elizabelle says:

    The NYTimes public editor just put up a discussion forum on yesterday’s Froomkin item on Mann and Ornstein.

    Go to it!

  76. 76

    I just very recently moved to N MI from NE OR (the geography does matter). In order to lock down a rental from 2200 mi away I proposed paying 6 mos in advance on arrival – which I did. I like the place and my landlady so last month I offered to help her out with Xmas by upping the ante to rent through Aug, which I paid. I moved here mostly because my mother (85) lives about 1/2 hr from here. I’d just damn near forgo the rent to get the hell out of this state but Mom, however, won’t get any younger.

    Fuck.

    I thought I knew what I was doing when I decided I could make this move – did the weighing of pros and cons and barely came up with this as reasonable.

    By the way, re: Sherman. Breaking the abillity to wage war involves breaking the supply chain, both roads and rail, and then at the source. That doesn’t have anything to do with terrorizing the populace into opposition to its gov. Food and clothes are as much to an army as guns and bullets.

  77. 77
    Roger Moore says:

    @Birthmarker:

    The corporatism is the end. Destroying every group that traditionally votes democratic is the means.

    No. Destroying every group that opposes corporatism is the means. Unions oppose corporate power and get both barrels from the big corporations, but there are plenty of Democrats and Democratic-leaning organizations that support corporatism and receive corporate support. That’s the big point that Kay is making about avoiding treating this as a partisan issue. There are partisan overtones, but this is really about doing what’s best for big corporations, not about explicitly partisan politics.

  78. 78
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    A lot of them would rather live in a pigstye as long as they get to be king of it, than have to share a paradise with people outside of the narrow, restricted group they consider “their peers.”

    I think Milton, who it may be worth remembering, lived during a period of history when the intersection of what we today call socioeconomic and cultural issues was tearing apart the very fabric of British society and plunging them into a civil war the echo of which we still live with today, and who was himself on the side of the regicides, put it best:


    Here at least
    we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
    to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

    When I contemplate what we’ve done with the American Middle Class of the mid-20th Century, the title Paradise Lost hits all too close to home.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @aimai:

    In fact they rammed it through right now because its their last chance—they wouldn’t have been able to after the lame duck session.

    And presumably they held off until the lame duck session precisely because they knew that voting against unions before the elections would hurt their chances in the election. If this were really popular, they would do it well before the election so they could run on it as an issue.

  80. 80
    RaflW says:

    Sometimes, the urge to privatize goes pretty directly to the bottom line of GOP legislators. There is that to consider as well (the dude denies personal gain, but isn’t required to disclose).

  81. 81
    Punchy says:

    Dear Michiganers —

    You voted in a ton of Republicans. Republicans are well-known to be strongly anti-union. Now you’re….suprised?…that Republicans have set out to destroy unions.

    Elections and consequences, how the fuck do they relate?

  82. 82
    jl says:

    Beyond the horse race? What could that be? A strange and terrifying void beyond all imagination! Map makers say ‘there be monsters’.

  83. 83
    Steve says:

    @Bobby Thomson: So even if the law gets repealed, they got away with it? Even if the people who voted for it all get kicked out in the next election, they got away with it? I don’t think you understand what it means to get away with something.

  84. 84
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    President Obama also had a lot of money.

    My point isn’t what is a winning argument, my point is that somewhere in the background of state politics neutering the other side’s ability to raise money will help dismantle the effectiveness of your opposition.

    I don’t think the money issue is something that needs to be played out on center stage, but it shouldn’t be dismissed either.

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @👽 Martin:
    If that were the case, this would have always been on the docket. This appears to have bloomed in full since Nov 6. Politics is driving this.

    Politics is not the driver here, politics is the car, the means to the end and the end is money. The uber wealthy and the level or two below them are willing to give up a little tiny bit of power(that helps them) to gain wads of money. They get someone else to be responsible for the transfer of even more money to them. They are like dons in that their hands are clean even if their desires are not. This is what Kay is talking about. We are talking about the journey and the car we are going in and they are planning the conflagration at the end of the road. We need to discuss the end game, the bottom line, because it is that most people would suffer from. The road to get there is irrelevant.

  86. 86
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gene108:

    So what happened to drive those parties to irrelevance so quickly?

    My theory is that a local party will be driven to near extinction when they become hopelessly wrong-footed with regard the the dominant sense of cultural identiy for that area. Cultural issues are so powerful in politics because they are less negotiable than purely economic interests. In a fight over money, however much neither side may like it, you can find a way to split up the pile of money. When it comes to cultural identity, sometimes that is simply impossible, there is no middle ground, you either belong to one tribe or the other, a split identity doesn’t work. So political battles that are over culture war issues have a special scorched-earth character to them that make them more potent and more vicious than purely economic struggles.

    You would think it would be the other way around, that people would care more about the $ in their pockets than the ideas in their heads, but the last century of history has taught us that materialistic explanations for human behavior have a very poor track record in terms of explaining and predicting political movements.

  87. 87
    Cathy W says:

    @Roger Moore: Also, if it were really popular, they wouldn’t put in the small appropriation that makes it ineligible to be repealed by voter initiative. (The MI constitution bans referenda on appropriations bills, and hypothetically “41 cents shall be appropriated for postage to mail the signing copy to the governor by US Post” would be adequate to turn any bill into an appropriation, although I think they usually go with appropriating a token amount for education and publicity or something.)

  88. 88

    A lot of people are going to be very sorry to have voted for these GOPers, but it’s going to take awhile. The wage depression won’t set in until the contracts that are in force start expiring.

  89. 89

    Shorter me: Kay is right

    Also too, the sad part of all this is that there is significant public support for the idea that one’s life can be improved, economically and otherwise, by making one’s neighbors’ lives worse. It’s not surprising that the ruling class sees economic distress as an opportunity for exploitation, a chance to increase their power. But it is surprising and depressing that so many in the working class enthusiastically join in.

  90. 90

    @Chuck Butcher:

    A lot of people are going to be very sorry to have voted for these GOPers, but it’s going to take awhile. The wage depression won’t set in until the contracts that are in force start expiring.

    By the time they feel the effects, a fairly large number of them will have been convinced that it all happened because of blacks, or immigrants, or women, or whoever else FOX news & Rush tell them is to blame.

  91. 91
    Hoodie says:

    @aimai: Well, there are a lot of people who do think that, or at least delude themselves into believing it, which is why it gets off the ground. A lot of people who are ok with privatization don’t actually have kids in the crappy charter schools created or, if they do, they’re in the good charter schools that tend to be like private schools. As far as the former is concerned, if it can be sold that the charters are cheaper, they don’t give a damn how bad the instructional quality is. It’s like the deficit mania; always start with the realization that they don’t give a shit about the deficit, they just want to stop spending money on people that aren’t themselves. But if you tell them that they’re the next to get screwed, they may listen. Depressed wages is more effective topic for that.

  92. 92
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    President Obama also had a lot of money.

    He’s actually a good example. He lost Wall Street donor support btwn ’08 and ’12, so he found other donors.

    I don’t know why state parties are failing in the south, but are we sure it’s a lack of fundraising or donors? I don’t know much about Florida state politics, but people here say that the Democratic Party there is inept. That’s a 50/50 state. Do they lack money or… something else?

  93. 93
    Linnaeus says:

    I’ll be traveling to Michigan for the December holidays to see my family and friends there. I know my family is pretty outraged by this. My friends, however, are more likely to be for it, so this year’s holiday parties with them should be just tons of fun.

  94. 94
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    I agree with you generally about being competitive in redder areas. I just think it’s smarter to move on issues and let the rest take care of itself. As an example, I don’t think the entire voting rights focus should be on swing states. If you’re the Party that protects voting rights, that’s your issue, and it should be your issue whether they’re suppressing voters in Ohio OR Tennessee. I was pleased the DOJ went hard after Texas on voting rights, and Democrats aren’t counting on Texas in a presidential election. It’s something that matters a lot to a certain group of voters, and it’s the right thing to do anyway. Will Texas go Democratic? Well, I don’t know, but it can’t hurt if people can vote.

  95. 95

    @Hoodie:

    A lot of people who are ok with privatization don’t actually have kids in the crappy charter schools created or, if they do, they’re in the good charter schools that tend to be like private schools.

    And a lot of people don’t have children in public schools at all. This is one part of this public debate that is almost never mentioned. There are people who really, truly, seriously do not care about public schools except for one thing: they do not want their taxes to go up.

    A big part of the argument for corporate schools is that public schools waste tax money. The voters who don’t care about schools or education agree. What they are hearing is, “Give us your schools and we won’t ask for any more money.” Oh, they do love that.

  96. 96
    rikyrah says:

    It’s hard for me to feel bad for those who feel ‘ betrayed’ by Snyder, since the first thing they rammed through was that anti-DEMOCRATIC Emergency Manager Law, which took away a person’s right to have those duly elected by them rule them.

    IF you didn’t see the writing on the wall WITH THAT…

    then saying you’re surprised by the anti-union thing…

    well, you’re not too bright.

  97. 97
    Linnaeus says:

    Given that “vehicle bills” were in place and that there are already pro-RTW ads being aired in Michigan before the law is even signed, it’s pretty clear that this was in the works for months. My guess is that the Michigan GOP saw their chances lessening with their reduced state House majority and figured they needed to go for it now.

    I’m also guessing that Snyder got his arm twisted a bit. There’s reports that some of his key allies in the legislature were facing leadership challenges from the rank-and-file (ha!) members if they didn’t get on board. Wouldn’t be surprised if some big donors threatened Snyder himself. Which is not to say that he doesn’t agree with RTW (I think he does), but that he would have preferred trying to enact it under different circumstances. Doesn’t excuse his maneuvering or his disingenuous argument, though.

  98. 98
    Hoodie says:

    @James E. Powell: Exactly. The only thing that works to shake people like that out of their delusional “fuck you, I got mine” attitudes is to get across that they don’t really “got” anything. If you work for a living, you are potentially a target, i.e., if they go after the unions, you’re next. This came home to me when I was speaking to a guy that is a fairly high-level near-50 white collar type in a Fortune 500 company. He told me that his headquarters job is being outsourced to Ireland because the company wants to evade US corporate taxes. He’s actually seen the paperwork, he has a year to decide whether he should move to Ireland. The kicker is that, unlike the past, there is no special comp for working overseas, i.e., you get the same treatment as if you were regular Irish employee except, of course, you’re not an Irish citizen. Your a migrant worker.

  99. 99
    Kay says:

    @Linnaeus:

    I just can’t believe he makes the “we have to compete with other states” argument. Jesus Christ. These companies aren’t paying state or local taxes, they’re getting huge subsidies just to stay put, forget “creating jobs”, and they also require race to the bottom wages? Tell me again why we’re all paying for the privilege of them making huge profits. I thought we were paying them for “good jobs”. Now we’re paying thru the nose for crappy jobs?

  100. 100
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    There are few political euphemisms that make me angrier than “right to work”. I’m glad that the president has taken this on directly with “right to work — for less.”

    It is the encoding of the post-feudal feudalism that still has a huge cultural hold in the South, where people are brought up to believe they have the choice to suck up anything The Boss wants, or to quit, with nothing in between.

    It’s the same sentiment that leads people in shitty jobs with no employee protection to lash out at union and public sector workers who do, instead of examining why they don’t have those protections themselves.

  101. 101
    dollared says:

    @TerryC: So why did you tolerate it? Did you not read the newspaper? What did you like about this Republican governor?

  102. 102
    gene108 says:

    @Hoodie:

    Ireland ain’t so bad. A First World-ish country of native English speakers, with good beer on tap.

    I remember reading a few years ago IBM gave 5,000 employees the option of working in India, for Indian wages or seeking a new job.

    That’s a raw deal.

    India can be overwhelming for Americans.

    India is easily one of the most crowded countries on the planet, the sheer press of humanity everywhere hits you like a club. Then the 110 degree heat kicks in, along with the questionable sanitation conditions in some parts, the massive traffic congestion they have now in urban areas and air pollution from all the traffic.

    Though one bright spot in India, for Americans at least, is all the signs are in the local language and English.

    Also, too in India, when you speak American English, no one can understand your accent ;-).

  103. 103
    dollared says:

    Moderation. Is there a new errectile dysfunction medication I haven’t heard about yet? I watch ESPN….

  104. 104
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    I just think it’s smarter to move on issues

    I think Democrats in the Midwest have issues they can stand on that align relatively well with where President Obama is at policy wise.

    The same wasn’t the case during the Clinton years and early Bush & Co. years, which is why some many Southern Democratic parties failed to find issues to rally around and often ran as being Republican-lite.

    I just think with the total unpopularity of Bush & Co., there would be an opportunity for state and local Democrats to tie their respective Republican counter parts to the disastrous policies of DC Republicans, but so far no state Democratic Party in the South has really been able to rally around anything.

    They all have thin benches of candidates and don’t seem to be able to run a state level campaign anymore.

    My opinion is it is due to fundraising differences, as much as having issues to stand for.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    @dollared:

    I’m sorry but I can’t get you out because I’ve left the office and am now on a phone. I can’t get in the editor from here.

  106. 106
    Linnaeus says:

    @Kay:

    I just can’t believe he makes the “we have to compete with other states” argument.

    Oh, it’s ridiculous. Michigan has been “competing” with “right to work” states for over 50 years. But it’s a major issue now because of Indiana? Riiight.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dollared:

    There’s some weird things that have been happening with moderation lately — either WaterGirl or PurpleGirl was complaining about mystery moderation a few days ago and it’s happened to me a few times. It seems to be random AFAIK.

  108. 108
    kay says:

    @Linnaeus:

    I’ve been reading Teddy Roosevelt on unions ( big supporter) and it’s amazing how current he sounds. He even addressed the “corrupt union boss” issue. He said we would never get rid of corporations or governments because of instances of corruption (HA!) So why apply that only to unions?

    After that he backed Taft for President and destroyed the progressive GOP, but still :)

    Mistakes were made. By him.

  109. 109
    Birthmarker says:

    @Roger Moore: Point taken.

  110. 110
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steve: OK, if you define “not getting away with it” as “facing some form of retribution before death,” then the odds of them getting away with it shrink. But if you define it in a more practical way of, “can they get away with adopting this legislation,” then my point still stands and they have gotten away with it. I suppose John Wilkes Booth didn’t ultimately get away with it, either, but he got away with it long enough to do a lot of damage.

  111. 111
    jefft452 says:

    @Warren Terra: “I’ve got no problem with Sherman unleashing a swathe of destruction in the context of a bitter civil war, but doesn’t the specific retributive policy you describe violate modern (i.e. post-Sherman) ideas about the acceptability of “collective punishment” in warfare?”

    I dispute that Uncle Billy practiced collective punishment
    Supplies burned were supplies belonging to the CSA government for use by the CSA army
    Plantations burned were owned by CSA or State gov officials or army officers

    The “swathe of destruction” was neither random nor arbitrary

  112. 112
    debbie says:

    Why, when it blew up in Kasich’s face right next door, does Snyder think this will work for him? Seems pretty stupid to me.

    Kay, have you been following Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board boondoggle? I watched a televised 2-hour meeting yesterday, and Ohio is totally screwed.

  113. 113
    kay says:

    @debbie:

    No, I haven’t followed anything until this got my attention. I’m feeling calm about Kasich lately because he’s a bit of a screw-up. He started that big intra-GOP battle right before a national election, he pushes voter laws that no court will uphold, he passes anti-union laws that don’t exempt fire and police. He might just be dumb. Thank God. Doesn’t he seem like a mess?

  114. 114
    debbie says:

    Yes, a total mess. He was incredibly disengaged during the broadcast. He had that 1,000 yard stare thing going for a while, then he would pipe up with some sort of irrelevant comment. Towards the end, he said that he’d heard that the board got more work done when he wasn’t around, so he got up and left. No comment, not even a goodbye.

    It was like watching Crazy Drunk Uncle.

  115. 115
    kay says:

    @debbie:

    I feel as if Ohio Republicans are all scheming behind his back, which is good.

    He doesn’t have to do anything but wait for the economy and then take credit for it and his approval goes up the less he appears, so maybe we’ll be spared drama and turmoil.

  116. 116
    Nathanael says:

    OK, this is important regarding Snyder and the Michigan GOP.

    The legislature are the usual slaves of the DeVoses and the Koch Brothers.

    Snyder *is* independent; he doesn’t care about the DeVoses or the Koch Brothers. He simply wants to be the absolute ruler of Michigan; the King of Michigan, if you will. Hence his fondness for abolishing democracy. He will generally do whatever benefits that goal.

    This may have actually been a rather bad move for him. He’s up for election in 2014 and he doesn’t have time to consolidate his power before then, and this just ticked off his voters.

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