Obama Slams Michigan ‘Right to Work’ Laws as ‘the Right to Work for Less Money’ [updated]

This afternoon, President Obama gave a speech in Detroit blasting the Michigan GOP’s effort to jam right-to-work laws down Michigan citizens’ throats:

Right-to-work laws are “giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama said in his speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant.

“What we shouldn’t be doing is try to take away your rights to bargain for better wages or working conditions,” he said, arguing for the need for high-skilled, well-payed workers. “We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

Here’s video from TPM:

For full coverage of the disaster that is becoming Michigan democracy, including photographs from the lovely Anne Savage, please check out Eclectablog.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to Eclectablog’s coverage of today’s rally.

[cross-posted at ABLC]

136 replies
  1. 1
    different-church-lady says:

    “We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

    You know, I’d be happy with a stable place somewhere in the middle, where I didn’t have to run a race all the time.

  2. 2
    double nickel says:

    Good to see the President gets it.

  3. 3
    Rafer Janders says:

    Right-to-work laws are “giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama said in his speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant.

    Um, is he allowed to say that?

    “What we shouldn’t be doing is try to take away your rights to bargain for better wages or working conditions,” he said, arguing for the need for high-skilled, well-payed workers. “We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

    Seriously, is he allowed to say that? I thought this was verboten in American political discourse?

  4. 4
    Brachiator says:

    Obama Slams Michigan ‘Right to Work’ Laws as ‘the Right to Work for Less Money’

    Goddam, I am loving me some fiery populist Obama.

  5. 5
    robotswillstealyourjobs says:

    Gobama!

  6. 6

    “We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

    He’s playing the race card!

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    Obama v. 2.0 > Obama v. 1.0

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    @Cris (without an H): nope, he’s obviously trying to appeal to NASCAR fans.

  9. 9
    ruemara says:

    Michigan is a terrifying case of the subornment of democracy. It’s horrible to see and I can’t even begin to comprehend living under this nightmare. When will fucking Dems remember to show up for midterms and when will people stop voting against their best interests? Amazing work on the part of Eclectablog for focusing on this. Hell, even Maddow has given him some props for using his info.

  10. 10
    👽 Martin says:

    @piratedan: Um, then he’d be calling for a race to the left.

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Are we sure this isn’t comedy?

  12. 12
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Seriously, is he allowed to say that? I thought this was verboten in American political discourse?

    There are some serious advantages to the 22nd amendment.

  13. 13
    Zifnab25 says:

    @different-church-lady: Behold, for I stand here reelected in my second term and do not give one steaming shit about you weaselly moderates who won’t remember any of this in 4 years anyway!

  14. 14
    jnfr says:

    @different-church-lady:

    “And the one thing wrong with this rat race
    I’ve been running all my life is
    the rats are winning.”

    — Charlie King

  15. 15
    piratedan says:

    @👽 Martin: and then place your hands on your hips… and bring your knees in tight

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @piratedan:

    nope, he’s obviously trying to appeal to NASCAR fans

    No, that would be the race around in endless circles ovals. You’d think that fans of a sport that’s turning left all the time would be a bit more favorable to the Democrats.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Obama v. 2.0 > Obama v. 1.0

    Read any bios of Teddy Roosevelt lately? This trajectory should sound familiar. 1st term spent kissing up to Congress and playing off different factions within his own party. 2nd term spent signing executive orders to get around a useless Congress and hitting people upside the head with a clue-by-four.

  19. 19
    R-Jud says:

    @👽 Martin: Oh no. I read the comments on that article, and now I am going to be humming all night:

    Obamadon
    Doo-doooo-do-do-do
    Obamadon
    Doo-do-do-doot

  20. 20
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Goddammit, do we have to go through this every time Obama says something populist. He’s been saying the same shit for his entire term in office. Go fucking look up his statements on whitehouse.gov.

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    @Roger Moore: turn left, turn left, go straight, ok turn left. h/t the onion

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Forget it Jake, it’s ChinaCognitive Dissonance town.

  23. 23
    Comrade Jake says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: He’s just positioning himself to the left so that Hillary will seem moderate/centrist in 2016.

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    @Eric U.: NO! GO STRAIGHTER!

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    Vote for the GOP and reap the wages of the third world.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Unsympathetic says:

    I won’t wait up for Obama to attack Wall Street fraud.

    The thing that always puzzled me: Who, exactly, has convinced the Michigan lawmakers that by passing these bills.. they, somehow, will share in the top1%’s profits? How did they convince themselves that they are anything more than the next useful idiot?

  28. 28
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    I’m from MI, and today I’m working at a manufacturing plant in AL, a RTW state. Industry flocks here because wages are low. And can you blame them? Politicians, Dems as well, have neglected Labor. It started way before Clinton signed NAFTA and allowed Mexico to start pulling the playing field down at one end. I dunno if PBO has the juice to get this MI RTW bill killed but I sure hope so.

    I’ve been up since 3:00 am and traveled way too many miles today. Sorry for the hardass rant. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m pissed and I’m not sorry.

  29. 29
    MTiffany71 says:

    Michigan: Third world wages, first world prices.

  30. 30
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Yeah, but he doesn’t mean it.

    You can tell.

  31. 31
    PurpleGirl says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    Manufacturers have been chasing low wages for many years. I’ve watched that desire for paying low wages destroy the garment industry, first in NYC and then elsewhere in the US. Companies moved south and then to the Caribbean and South America and then to Asia.

  32. 32
    Liberty60 says:

    @Brachiator: Amen to that.
    I think part of the “Obama is a Sockulist” stuff is that finally- after 3 or 4 decades- we have a Democrat who is unafraid to give a full throated endorsement of the New Deal. It sounds radical now, to folks who were weaned on Fox news.

  33. 33
    Arclite says:

    “The right to work for less money”

    More succinct phrasing like this, please.

  34. 34
    👽 Martin says:

    @Unsympathetic:

    Who, exactly, has convinced the Michigan lawmakers that by passing these bills.. they, somehow, will share in the top1%’s profits?

    Given that many of those voting for the bill won’t be in the legislature come January, they may be very directly profiting with a fat lobbyist job. This is why lame duck bills are so insidious.

  35. 35
    Liberty60 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Read any bios of Teddy Roosevelt lately?

    Hell yes:

    Corporation cunning has developed faster than the law of nation or state. Corporations have found ways to steal long before we have found that they were susceptible to punishment for theft. But sooner or later, unless there is a season of readjustment, there will come a riotous, wicked, murderous day of atonement..

    Now THAT’S a bully pulpit! I would pay a weeks wage to hear someone say that to the pearl clutchers on the Sunday talk shows.

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    OT, but on my way out the door, here is the New Yorker on the pleasures of Hobbittses

    With the imminent release of the first of Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of “The Hobbit,” I revisited J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, which I had not opened since I was a teen-ager. Re-reading “The Hobbit” turned out to be something of a revelation. Formerly, I’d seen it as nothing more than an appetizer for the big feast of “The Lord of the Rings.” Now, I realized, it was a perfecly balanced meal of its own—one that left you feeling sated rather than gorged. A good case can be made that “The Hobbit” is a better and more satisfying read than its gargantuan successor

    And a bit on the Stones and Led Zeppelin

    Mick Jagger is still improbably thin and jumpy, at the age of sixty-nine, and the rest of the band can’t match him for kinetics, but they were fully present. Performing in a three-dimensional proscenium based on their tongue logo, they started with the early work—like their cover of the Beatles “I Wanna Be Your Man”—and proceeded through the hits, tossing in the two new songs for the sake of pride (or vanity). The eighties and nineties were entirely ignored. And this is the Stones’ success story—they forged an approach and a series of characters, which endure. That their indelible albums are all from the late sixties and early seventies and don’t likely add up to more than seven seems irrelevant now; they lasted, and represent some kind of pliable model of generosity. We don’t begrudge them “Steel Wheels,” because they stuck around long enough to bring Mary J. Blige on stage to hammer home “Gimme Shelter,” as thrilling a live moment as any sane human hopes for. Their many redundancies did not diminish their worth, just as Zeppelin’s dedication to never repeat themselves constituted their authority. Neither path is close to easy. A bettor’s hunch would favor Zeppelin’s catalog, over the next century, as it’s less confusing and so precise. But the Stones are almost their own species by now, and so easy to summon as humans. They’re both rock and roll, a term both bands were comfortable enough to claim, without footnotes.

    Led Zeppelin reunited briefly in December of 2007 for a show at London’s 02 Arena that’s now been released as both audio and video as “Celebration Day.”

  37. 37
    KG says:

    @Brachiator: Aerosmith is following the Stones’ route. I remember seeing them back in the late 90s, and they barely played anything off their newest album. It was all “old shit” as Steven Tyler said. I honestly can’t name a single song they’ve done since I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, and honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that was the newest song they played on tour.

  38. 38
    Catpause says:

    Here is the Michigan state Capitol tonight, now with extra, added security. I wonder if the state police have a union?

    http://i.imgur.com/bqmVm.jpg

    Care of Redditor: Seadub

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Liberty60:

    and at the end of that same TR quote from 1903:

    These fools in Wall Street think they can go on forever! They can’t! I would like to be elected President of the United States to be the buffer between their foolishness and the wrath that is surely to come-unless they sober up.

    compare and contrast with:

    Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees — and, by extension, to themselves. “These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”
    __
    But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
    __
    “My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

  40. 40
    some guy says:

    Go fucking look up his statements on whitehouse.gov.

    We’ve extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade. And I’ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system and reining in insurance companies – reforms that won’t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.

    Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises – especially to our seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years. That’s what Medicare is all about.

    …..

    And I’m willing to make more entitlement spending cuts on top of the $1 trillion dollars in cuts I signed into law last year.

    ……

  41. 41
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Catpause:

    Here is the Michigan state Capitol tonight, now with extra, added security. I wonder if the state police have a union?

    Yes they do! Police and fire unions are exempt from Snyder’s RTW law. Wonder how that happened….

  42. 42
    some guy says:

    @Unsympathetic:

    one acronym answer: ALEC

    two word answer: Koch Roaches

  43. 43
    Lojasmo says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    And, uh…his record pretty much backs this shit up.

    Best president in any of our lifetimes, and I’m including you actual olds, not just middle aged fuckwits like me.

  44. 44
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Catpause:

    Cops and firefighters are exempt from the MI GOP’s RTW law. As if that couldn’t be predicted.

  45. 45
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @some guy: Your point, other than that you’re an idiot with reading comprehension problems?

  46. 46
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Sorry for the redundant posts. Holiday Inn Greenville AL WiFi is giving me network errors.

  47. 47

    Sorry to go OT but Judge Fox in NC just ruled the “pro life” license plates unconstitutional. Anyone who knows Judge Fox knows that this is a BFD.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....rolina_Cho

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Best president in any of our lifetimes, and I’m including you actual olds, not just middle aged fuckwits like me.

    In terms of liberal policy, I’d rate it as:

    hypothetical domestic policy-only LBJ (e.g. no Vietnam War) > Obama > LBJ (actual) > any one of Truman, JFK, Carter or Clinton

    So yeah, what you said. Best Dem since FDR and that’s saying something.

  49. 49
    some guy says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    simply to refute mindless cheerleaders such as yourself. point made.

  50. 50
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @some guy: You haven’t made any point other than you’re a dipshit. Nice straw man.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    Actually, I’d say labor neglected Democrats. See also all the white union voters who flocked to Nixon and Reagan. Clinton/DLC era triangulation was well after that. I’m pissed off that it happened, but I lay a pretty big share of the blame on all the turncoat voters who helped to destroy the liberal consensus rather than share it with These People.

  52. 52
    Steeplejack says:

    @Brachiator:

    The eighties and nineties were entirely ignored. And this is the Stones’ success story–they forged an approach and a series of characters, which endure. That their indelible albums are all from the late sixties and early seventies [. . .] seems irrelevant now [. . .].

    Dead at 30, buried at 80.

  53. 53
    Chyron HR says:

    @some guy:

    Why don’t you make like your boy George Zimmerman and save us all from the Obamanation?

    Chicken?

  54. 54
    Raven says:

    @Chyron HR: You might want to lay off shit like that.

  55. 55
    bemused says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Great quotes. Which biography of Teddy would you recommend?

  56. 56
    some guy says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    nothing says radical fiery populist like bragging about cutting a trillion out of entitlement spending. bravo, you really nailed it, idiot.

    all straight from whitehouse.gov. President Kill List really needs smarter cheerleaders.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I’ll always have a soft spot for Truman. FDR’s foreign and economic policies + taking civil rights off the shelf and making it an issue again for the first time since Reconstruction = completing the creation of the Democratic Party I identify with today.

    Otherwise, weathered the inevitable anti-FDR backlash pretty well. Didn’t get any new policies in place but it wasn’t for lack of trying, and he held the line as best he could against those who wanted to reverse it. Interestingly, that’s not at all how it was supposed to play out. As a Southerner and a product of urban machine politics, Truman was a guy many liberals didn’t trust, while the old guard identified with him and expected a return to normalcy after all that FDR liberalism. Rude awakening how he turned out not to be, I’m sure.

  59. 59
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Chris:

    Actually, I’d say labor neglected Democrats. See also all the white union voters who flocked to Nixon and Reagan.

    Fair point. By the Reagan era union membership was older and more prosperous. Plenty of them went for the GOP’s vision of the country. Part of this was losing track of their own past and the dangers of backsliding. They certainly did themselves no favors in backing Repubs, who did everything they could to put power back in the hands of corporations.

  60. 60
    Eclectablog says:

    @ruemara: Thanks so much. I appreciate that.

  61. 61
    gwangung says:

    @some guy: that doesn’t make the argument you think it does.

    It just makes you look math and arithmetic averse.

  62. 62
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Raven: Ahh. I’m a bit behind on my troll nyms. thanks for the heads up.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    some guy says:

    @gwangung:

    the idiot made the point that to see what a fiety populist is all one needs to do is go to whitehouse.gov

    there you will find a President who promises Medicare recipients they won’t see their benefits cut. We’ll find out soon how much that promise is worth.

    the second cite was of a President bragging about cutting a TRILLION in entitlement spending during the worst recessionary period in our lifetime. sorry, Tax Collector for the Austerity State does not make one a populist.

  65. 65
    some guy says:

    the BJ Center Right Fight Club always get their panties in a bunge whenever anyone hints at the fact that maybe, just maybe, Obama is not the second coming of FDR.

    too funny

  66. 66
    Raven says:

    @some guy: How ya doin sweetie?

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    I don’t mean to say that the DLC/Blue Dog crap isn’t a problem, or to minimize the concerns of the people who get shafted by it.

    It’s just that there seems to me to be a popular trope among a certain type of working and middle class white voter that, “oh, I liked the Democrats when they were fighting for the little guy, but then they abandoned us” – which gets who abandoned who backwards and lets these voters off way too easy.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @Chris:

    which gets who abandoned who backwards and lets these voters off way too easy

    It’s code. The Democratic Party did abandon social conservatism (discrimination) as a value, and many former Democrats chose to fight the social wars rather than the economic ones.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    If Obama was the second coming of FDR, he would have killed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell the same way FDR killed federal anti-lynching legislation, but somehow you FDR worshippers never want to talk about that part of his record.

    Though I do have to admit that your passionate support of giving private health insurance companies massive windfalls through Medicare Part D and your insistence that we have to keep doing it or else it means we’re killing Medicare! to be quite amusing.

  70. 70
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    It’s just that there seems to me to be a popular trope among a certain type of working and middle class white voter that, “oh, I liked the Democrats when they were fighting for the little guy, but then they abandoned us”

    You just have to learn to hear the dog whistle in that statement to understand that it’s true. The abandonment wasn’t giving up on unions, it was taking the concerns of minorities as seriously as the concerns of whites, to the point that they spent serious political capital on civil rights legislation. After that, a lot of working and middle class whites knew they were going to have to become free agents and vote for whichever party was going to look after Real Americans like them.

  71. 71
    mclaren says:

    This latest statement from Obama is very very very bad news. Since history shows that Barack Obama always does the opposite of what he says, his statement of strong support for unions tells us he’s going to push hard to bust unions nationwide. So we’re looking at another PATCO holocaust, but this time from a Democratic president.

    Dire news indeed.

  72. 72
    some guy says:

    @Raven:

    doing fine. getting my last lesson plan of the semester prepped for delivery, then a nice vacation until spring semester.

    and you?

  73. 73
    some guy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s OK, it’s your continuing support for pedophilia and kiddie porn that really makes you stand out.

  74. 74
    Raven says:

    @some guy: Swell, it rained.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Baud says:

    @mclaren:

    You wrote what I would write if I were doing a parody of you.

  77. 77
    some guy says:

    @Raven:

    torrential downpours and thunderstorms here in North Central Florida. we needed the rain, however

  78. 78
    Lojasmo says:

    @some guy:

    If Obama was the second coming of FDR, you would be in an internment camp

  79. 79
    Lojasmo says:

    @mclaren:

    Wow. You are certainly characteristically full of shit.

  80. 80
    some guy says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Re-education camps for leftists? really, you think that’s where President Kill List is heading?

  81. 81
    Rex Everything says:

    Shorter Chris, Baud, and Roger Moore: “Democratic Party=pure and blameless; everyone who had/has a problem with NAFTA=racist.”

  82. 82
    Baud says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Whoa. You’ve passed the Fox News reality threshold there.

    P.S. Obama is God.

  83. 83
    Raven says:

    I suppose it’s too much to ask to bury this dead horse and put up a FOOTBALL thread?

  84. 84
    Chris says:

    @Baud:

    Oh, I totally agree. It’s the story they say in public when they’re too embarrassed to say “I left the country club when it started letting in darkies.”

  85. 85

    I know the phrase “right to work for less” is the current slogan, but it goes beyond union members.

    The Governor thinks that it is his job the reduce the pay of Michiganders. Who does the Governor work for?

  86. 86
    Rex Everything says:

    @Chris: Alright, that’s enough of you idiots flinging the old bullshit around.

    Working class whites NEVER abandoned the Democratic Party. As Kevin Drum reported last year,

    About 50 percent of these moderate-income whites vote for Democratic presidential candidates, and a bit more than half self-identify as Democrats. These numbers bounce up and down a bit (thus the “Reagan Democrat” phenomenon of the early ’80s), but the overall trend has been virtually flat since 1948. In other words, it’s not that the working class has abandoned Democrats. It’s just the opposite: The Democratic Party has largely abandoned the working class.

    It’s a pretty good read. Certainly better than your fairy tales about country clubs and firstborn children.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This too.

    I’ve heard (wouldn’t know personally) that firstborn children sometimes get really jealous when their baby siblings arrive because they’re no longer the center of attention. They usually grow out of it pretty quickly, but all those “I didn’t leave the Democrats the Democrats left me” voters have the same issue and probably will until the day they die.

    Well, sorry kid: this will always be your family, but there are other children in the house and they’re not going to be ignored just because you’re jealous. If you’d rather go live in a meth lab with your abusive, alcoholic uncle who just got out of prison, that’s your choice.

  88. 88
    Baud says:

    @Rex Everything:

    You’re short excerpt makes no sense on its own terms. Why should I waste my time with a longer article?

  89. 89
    Rex Everything says:

    @Baud:

    You’re short excerpt makes no sense on its own terms.

    It makes perfect sense. It corrects the complete misrepresentation you, Chris, and Roger Moore are peddling, to wit, the notion that working class whites abandoned the Democratic Party in the post-Civil Rights era.

    To repeat: IN FACT, working class whites have NOT abandoned the Democratic Party—“these numbers bounce up and down a bit, but the overall trend has been virtually flat since 1948.”

    To amplify: You, Chris, and Roger Moore are full of shit.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    Awww, did someone destroy your illusion that FDR did everything he wanted without having to make compromises with racist Southern Democrats?

    Yes, Manzanar never existed. I made it all up just to be mean about your hero.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Interesting that you left out this very important paragraph right before your quote:

    But working-class African Americans have been (and remain) among the most reliable Democratic voters, and as Larry Bartels has shown convincingly, outside the South the white working class has not dramatically changed its voting behavior over the past half-century. (emphasis mine)

    So given that Drum is already working with only 50% of the working class (ie the Northern half), I’m not sure his conclusion is exactly what you seem to think it is. Even using his argument, it’s indisputable that half of the working class was lost over civil rights.

  92. 92
    Baud says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    To be fair, if you exclude the whites who have abandoned the Democratic Party, not very many whites have abandoned the Democratic Party.

  93. 93
    Rex Everything says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not sure his conclusion is exactly what you seem to think it is.

    Well, why don’t we just paste it in his own words? “[I]t’s not that the working class has abandoned Democrats. It’s just the opposite: The Democratic Party has largely abandoned the working class.”

    Seems to clear things up nicely.

    So given that Drum is already working with only 50% of the working class (ie the Northern half)

    ?? That’s absurd. Neither Drum nor anyone else (except, sadly, you) thinks Southern whites comprise 50% of the entire working class.

    Even using his argument, it’s indisputable that half of the working class was lost over civil rights.

    Wrong. And weak, and of highly questionable honesty, but I’ve come to expect that around here. Drum says the support of white Dems for the Dem party has been flat since 1948. Get it? Since pre-Civl Rights Era. “Indisputable”? You’re a cretin.

  94. 94
    ruemara says:

    @Brachiator: The author of that book review is a moron. And I’d say it to his/her face.

  95. 95
    doofus says:

    U@Rex Everything: I missed the part where he backed up that assertion. Please help me, by pointing out where he did that.

  96. 96
    Rex Everything says:

    @doofus: That’s your argument? To suggest that Kevin Drum is simply telling lies, and Mother jones is printing them?

    You’ve got the right moniker anyway.

  97. 97
    Baud says:

    @Rex Everything:

    To suggest that Kevin Drum is simply telling lies,

    You’re a Drumbot.

  98. 98
    doofus says:

    @Rex Everything: Nope. Just curious is all. I suppose my curiosity will have to go unrelieved.

  99. 99
    Rex Everything says:

    @Baud: You can’t deal with what the article says, so I’m a Drumbot. Whatever.

  100. 100
    Baud says:

    @Rex Everything:

    You’re the one whose proof is simply to cite someone else who agrees with you, and neither of you provide evidence to back it up.

  101. 101
    Rex Everything says:

    @doofus: Yeah, well, my curiousity as to where the Obots backed up their claims about white country-club working class racists leaving the Donk in droves will have to go unrelieved. Cause I was curious about that.

    Were you?

  102. 102
    Rex Everything says:

    @Baud: Uh huh. Uh huh. Where’s your evidence that anything like your racist working class scenarios ever took place, by the way? You being so into proof and all …

  103. 103
    doofus says:

    @Rex Everything: I do not treat speculation as data, which is what some of the other commenters were providing. Perhaps I was mistaken in believing that Drum article you linked was providing more than that.

  104. 104
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @bemused:

    which biography

    For a general audience IIRC Edmund Morris’ books are considered the gold standard, and after that I’d mine the bibliography plus delve into bios of other contemporaries like Gifford Pinchot. I’ve also read some interesting TR stuff in other books that were focused on other issues like the 1912 election. I find the period spanning the 2 Roosevelts fascinating because that was when the ideological pivot happened with progressives leaving the GOP and moving over to the Dems. It took most of the 20th Cen for the switch to happen but it started then, and I wonder what it would be like to live thru a period like that when ideology was very much up for grabs in both major parties.

  105. 105
    Rex Everything says:

    @doofus: Doofus, here’s how it is: Real articles in real, respected publications that assert data are generally accepted as sources. Not that they’re never wrong, but it’s usually a considerable scandal when they are. For the author to provide a link and a source for every single assertion is a blogger thing; it’s not what you find in more traditional media. To call an article in Mother Jones “speculation” because it does not list every source for its assertions is to display a fair level of ignorance.

  106. 106
    doofus says:

    @Rex Everything: Judith Miller will be happy to hear that.

  107. 107
    Baud says:

    @Rex Everything:

    My proof is the election results.

  108. 108
    rikyrah says:

    I don’t see how anyone is shocked by what’s happening in Michigan.

  109. 109
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    Agree with liking Truman. However I mark him down a bit for not having much of a legislative legacy, and even though Taft-Hartley was passed over his veto, it wasn’t exactly a high point for liberal policy and happened on his watch. Ditto for the start of Cold War Red-Baiting, which was actually pioneered by Democrats (LBJ taking out Leland Olds in his Senate re-confirmation hearings) which blindsided Truman, setting a bad precedent which Joe McCarthy then followed up on.

  110. 110
    Linnaeus says:

    Labor unions, like any institution in America, had their share of members who were not especially sympathetic to the equality movements for racial minorities and for women. This created division within the labor movement, something that Jefferson Cowie, in his excellent book Stayin’ Alive, covers pretty extensively.

    That said, the labor movement did diversify and did increasingly admit nonwhites and women into its leadership ranks, often to a greater degree than a lot of other institutions in America (and the activism of those groups themselves, of course, had a lot to do with that). Even today, one of the best predictors of whether someone will vote Democratic, especially if that person is a white male, is whether that person is a union member.

    White working-class voters are certainly not innocent of racial and gender bias. But I sometimes think those biases get exaggerated and those of the more “genteel” classes get covered up as a result.

  111. 111
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Mnemosyne: OT, but have you read Farewell to Manzanar? I think it’s the book equivalent of what it feels like weeks after you’ve had the shit kicked out of you.

    I read it for an Asian lit class. The prof held some excellent discussions. One day she showed us Ansel Adams’ Manzanar photos. She gave us some background about the restrictions placed on what he could photograph, then showed us one of a view from high up and asked why this was one of the most important pictures in the collection that showed what the true nature of the camp was. No one could give an answe until she asked where such a high vantage point could be found in the camp. We then realizes it was the watch tower where the armed guards were located, just like a prison.

  112. 112
    Rex Everything says:

    @doofus: I repeat: “Not that they’re never wrong, but it’s usually a considerable scandal when they are.”

    Believe it or not, people still cite the Times on matters of fact, despite Judith Miller.

  113. 113
    Linnaeus says:

    @rikyrah:

    I don’t see how anyone is shocked by what’s happening in Michigan.

    I’m not. Maybe a little surprised by the push now to do it in lame duck – I wouldn’t have predicted that – but if you know who the players are in this situation, it’s not shocking at all.

  114. 114
    Baud says:

    Google came up with this 2008 Brookings paper, p.6 of which explains:

    The White Working Class Abandons the Democratic Party

    Although the authors go on to address contrary conclusions by others.

    Kevin Drum is not mentioned, however, so take it for what it’s worth.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Drum says the support of white Dems for the Dem party has been flat since 1948. Get it? Since pre-Civl Rights Era.

    Something kind of important happened in 1948 that happened because of something else important that happened but, hey, why look at history and facts when you’re trying to claim that white people who left the Democratic Party were totally not racist?

  116. 116
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Linnaeus:

    those biases get exaggerated

    Nixon made great use of the support he got from labor unions for propaganda purposes, especially in the leadup to the 1972 general election, thereby ensuring that this notion of the white working class abandoning Democrats would receive extensive coverage in the press and be widely repeated, so I think you are correct.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    Sorry, missed this the first time:

    @Rex Everything:

    Neither Drum nor anyone else (except, sadly, you) thinks Southern whites comprise 50% of the entire working class.

    So what percentage of the white working class is made up of Southerners? It’s pretty important to your claims here.

  118. 118
    Baud says:

    @Linnaeus:

    But I sometimes think those biases get exaggerated and those of the more “genteel” classes get covered up as a result.

    Makes sense. I’m just sick of these “Democrats have abandoned _____” bromides that come up every so often.

  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Also, three:

    Drum says the support of white Dems for the Dem party has been flat since 1948.

    No, he says the support of white working-class Dems outside of the South has been flat. You keep trying to elide over the fact that Drum says right in his article that he’s only talking about a portion of the white working class.

  120. 120
    Chris says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Oh sure. I’ve posted many times before that I considered the upper class Republicans just as bugfuck as their base (IMO and in my anecdotal experience, on racial issues too), and I’m pretty sure I’ve also opined that the GOP’s base was middle more than working class.

    But the “don’t ignore the other social classes” thing cuts both ways. Even if you assume that the white working class is completely innocent and that the crossover was all in other parts of society (somewhat dubious given the Southern flip especially if 1948 is your landmark – as others have said) – quite a few of those middle class people would have been union or former union voters, lifted into a decent existence by New Deal era policies. And all that stuff under Nixon and Reagan, euphemistically called “bouncing around?” That shit matters too. No Republican since then has gotten anywhere close to their margins in the popular vote, but their years of presidenting were all it took to shift the political climate drastically.

  121. 121
    Linnaeus says:

    @Baud:

    Makes sense. I’m just sick of these “Democrats have abandoned _” bromides that come up every so often.

    That’s fair. The story is often, as they say, more complicated. Part of it is shifts of loyalties among Democratic politicians. Part of it is due to tensions within the institutions outside of the Democratic Party.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Linnaeus:

    White working-class voters are certainly not innocent of racial and gender bias. But I sometimes think those biases get exaggerated and those of the more “genteel” classes get covered up as a result.

    I think it’s partly that, and IMO it’s also because the media usually tries to conceal the fact that Southern working-class whites vastly distort the picture. Just looking at this past election, Obama and Romney were splitting the white vote about 50/50 in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, but Romney was getting an outsized proportion of the white vote in the South (something like 70%, IIRC), to the point that it was distorting the national polling numbers and making the race look closer than it actually was.

  123. 123
    doofus says:

    @Baud: Thanks. Good to have. Is a very complicated story and I am always interested to hear more.

  124. 124
    jefft452 says:

    @Chris: “Actually, I’d say labor neglected Democrats. … pretty big share of the blame on all the turncoat voters who helped to destroy the liberal consensus rather than share it with These People.”

    I think you discount things like McGovern torpedoing the repeal of Taft-Hartley
    Labor vs Dem party disputes have not been solely, or even primarily, started by labor, nor over racial issues

    Yeah, AFL unions were white only far too recently, but CIO unions never were

  125. 125
    Linnaeus says:

    @Chris:

    I don’t dispute that. You’ve made a totally fair point. What I’m saying – and I’m not saying you argued this – is that we have to be careful about assigning “blame” to a particular group or institution. The reality is much more textured than that. I don’t think the Democrats necessarily abandoned labor, and likewise, I don’t think labor necessarily abandoned the Democrats. Depends on the specific time and place one is looking at.

  126. 126
    Linnaeus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, that’s a key point. Regional variations among white working class voters were pretty pronounced. Interestingly, white (and generally, too) working class votes for Republicans are strongest where organized labor is weakest.

  127. 127
    Chris says:

    @Baud:

    This, which is what my original point stemmed from.

    And more generally every time voters complain of being betrayed by their politicians, regardless of party. There are millions of reasons why the climate has turned favorable towards shitty politicians in the last fifty years, but at the end of the day, one of the key ones is this: because the electorate voted for thways

    We’ve been saying exactly this to Republicans for a month now about Obama’s election. I would say it works both ways.

  128. 128
    jefft452 says:

    @Chris: “…given the Southern flip especially if 1948 is your landmark – as others have said) – quite a few of those middle class people would have been union or former union voters,…”

    Given Union membership in the south vs the north east, west coast, and rustbelt, I would guess that very little of the southern flip was driven by union or former union voters

    But it would be just my guess, I don’t have stats to back that up

  129. 129
    Chris says:

    @Linnaeus:

    That’s fair. And Jeff at 124 raises another good point – objection sustained :D

    I agree with your last line. Not all working voters (or even most) voters screwed the Democrats and not all Democrats screwed the working class. A few people make a hell of a difference, I guess.

    As for Rex’s rebuke, I do recall that even in the South the white working class is less ideologically committed than the middle class to GOP ideology. That’s been discussed here before too. Though I don’t know the numbers, and I don’t know if that ever translates to actually flipping it to the Democrats.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jefft452:

    Not necessarily — Taft-Hartley was passed in 1947, and all of the “right to work” laws stem from that. So at least some of those working-class whites in the South could have been former union workers whose unions were killed by the state.

    ETA: The map that accompanies that Wikipedia article is interesting to say the least. Assuming I counted right, it looks like 4 of the 23 RTW states voted for Obama. The other 19 voted for Romney.

  131. 131
    Chris says:

    @jefft452:

    Another good point. I would only argue (despite using union voters as my original example) that labor populism involves more than just them. The South may not have had as strong a union movement as the North, but they did have a few rabid redistributionists like Huey Long, plus all that infusion of Yankee money via the New Deal that went such a long way towards developing the region. The phenomenon of Democratic populism leading to a more solid middle class society didn’t take exactly the same form in North and South but happened in both places nonetheless.

    Krugman’s theory in “Conscience of a Liberal” is that it’s not class or race issues, but both of them taken together, that explain the Southern switch and other Nixon/Reagan Democrats. It happened not just because Democrats moved towards civil rights, but also because at the same time that was happening, the middle class society created by the New Deal made a lot of those former populist voters feel comfortable voting on issues other than economics. It would make sense.

  132. 132
    lacp says:

    It’s disturbing that ABL has been infected with wingnut-think; that ‘jamming-down-the-throats’ biz is the language used in sweaty conservative fantasies about the Kenyan Usurper.

  133. 133
    Gian says:

    I’m sure the thread is dead. But for the 5 of you who may see this…

    Obama has commented in the past about how Reagan was transformative – it was a big flip-out in the ’08 primary.

    to give the community organizer some slack on the ecconomics stuff, I think he’s simply trying to turn the national conversation away from “the scariest words are I’m from the government and I’m here to help”
    to something else, and some of that is simply putting raising taxes on the table.

    the right wing freakout on this has educated me on why the Clinton hate circa 1993-2000

    I think that the president is trying to change the conversation from the rachet taxes down, bitch about government overspending routine of the last 30 years.

    But don’t worry, no drone strike on Norquist or the Kochs will happen.

  134. 134
    The Raven says:

    Two Democratic legislators in Washington state have turned coat, too.

    It looks very much like, having lost the election, the Republicans intend a revolt.

  135. 135
    LAC says:

    @some guy: Shorter you: Teh Obama is like teh Bush! DRONES!!

    Mindless cheerleading? Try mindless dry humping of the faux progressive narrative blow up doll. Aren’t your nuts sore yet?

  136. 136
    Pococurante says:

    Blue collar whites are very conservative in a social/religious sense. This is especially true in the South. And the South has never been friendly to unions so again it’s not as likely as it is in the North that Southern blue collar workers are unionized.

    That’s where the “the Democratic Party left me” sentiment comes from: social, not economic, issues.

    It’s starting to dawn on a lot of this demographic that they were snookered by the GOP on both social and economic issues…

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