There is not much news. There is a lot of noise. At first glance it appears as if there is a great deal of news, but upon further reflection what we are witnessing is data points. The data points are all the incremental accumulation of the coming end of several news stories.
At liberal Slate magazine we noticed an interesting sentence regarding the dreadful dull Academy Awards from last night and the possibility that co-host James Franco was high:
“So complete was Franco’s desistance from the co-hosting project that there was speculation around the Web as to whether he might have been partaking of a little of the Pineapple Express backstage. (You know, that strain of weed so rare that “smoking it is like killing a unicorn.”) All I know is that at some point during what must have been a long, tedious and stressful night, Franco clearly decided, “I’m never doing this again, so it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.” Unfortunately instead of loosening him up, this realization, herb-assisted or no, shut him down. He was like a one-term president dedicated to governing on the platform of Who Gives A Crap.”
President “Who Gives A Crap” made yet another appearance which further burdened a tedious event. The once “must watch” Oscar ceremony became as worth watching as the Nobel Peace Prize post President “Who Gives A Crap”. For a president who did not have time to denounce Libyan nutjob Gaddaffy but does have time to host Motown parties, basketball tutorials, and Glady’s Knight, it was another example of “Who Gives A Crap.”
Republican/conservative websites earlier noted that President “Who Gives A Crap” had once promised to don “comfy shoes” and walk the picket lines if ever unions were threatened. The unions are silent and protective of President “Who Gives A Crap”. There were no calls from organized labor that their great hero borrow Lanvin sneakers from Michelle and head on up to Wisconsin and prove he gives a crap about anyone but himself.
That it was Republican/conservative websites, not Big Labor, that goaded President “Who Gives A Crap” with his own words is instructive. As we wrote in our very first article about the Wisconsin battle, “The ending won’t be pretty.”
Big Media outlets are pretending that somehow the battle of Wisconsin will hurt Republicans. The truth is that it is the Obama Dimocratic Party that is in great danger as Big Labor is about to have its testicular fortitude cut off. In New York, the just elected governor from the Cuomo dynasty is in his very own Wisconsin style battle:
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proven particularly adept at keeping his party at line and labor unions at bay and off the airwaves while he pushes for budget cuts.
But there are some signs of cracks in support in his own party emerging today, as a source forwards on a letter sent by 42 local Democratic elected officials to the governor. At issue is Cuomo’s decision to let a tax surcharge on income over $1 million expire, a tax that many Democrats had hoped to use to plug the budget gap:
“[S]ome of Governor Cuomo’s budget policies are neither balanced nor well conceived,” write the signers, led by Robert Jackson, a New York City Councilman, and Catherine Fahey, a local Albany official. “According to the Governor, this is what it means to be a ‘new Democrat.’ …If this is what it means to be a New Democrat, and if this is what it means to be progressive then something is very wrong.”
The signers don’t include any members of a state legislature whose members know that they cross Cuomo at their peril, but it’s a sign of restiveness in Democratic Party ranks.”
“The ending won’t be pretty” we wrote. Andy Stern in an interview with Ezra Klein agrees with us:
“Andy Stern: ‘It may not end beautifully in Wisconsin.’
Last year, Andy Stern retired as the president of SEIU, the service employees union that he’d built into a 2.2 million member heavyweight. During his tenure, Stern was known — and sometimes reviled — for his efforts to reform organized labor in America: He struck deals with corporations like Wal-Mart, led a number of unions to break away from the AFL-CIO and form Change to Win, and argued that unions had to modernize themselves and accept the effective end of the corporate welfare state and the dawn of a much more competitive economy, when contracts alone wouldn’t be enough. Since retiring, Stern has served as a member of the president’s fiscal commission and a fellow at Georgetown University. We spoke last night about where labor goes after Wisconsin. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Ezra Klein: A week ago, everyone I spoke to in the labor movement was convinced that Walker’s initiative was the worst thing to happen to them in a generation. Now I talk to them and they say it may be the best thing to happen to them in a generation. Where do you come down?
Andy Stern: It has that potential. The unions managed to strip the fiscal issues out from all of it, and Walker made such a big mistake exempting the police and firemen’s unions. He mobilized unions members in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time, and brought them together with students and other progressives. It’s turned into a Democrat versus Republican fight, not a good government versus bad government fight. Walker is beginning to look stubborn and inflexible. They’ve clearly raised the price of taking this action to a very high level. It was interesting to see [Indiana’s] Mitch Daniels and [Florida’s] Rick Scott back away from this stuff. But it may not end beautifully in Wisconsin. They have to be really careful about how that end is interpreted — whatever it is. You have to think about how to not make it a loss, without making ridiculous claims that you’ve won.
But this is what we do best in labor: fight back. Our question going forward is how do we change our posture on budget and fiscal issues so we’re not always looking like an impediment. Budget and pensions are math. There is a problem in Wisconsin next year, as there is in 44 other states. And the union eventually made a decision about contributing to solve the problem, but doing it under duress looks different than doing it as part of a collaborative process.”
All that fight back talk is gibberish intended to deceive from the thrashing that unions are about to get in Wisconsin and in many other states. As we wrote this is less about unions than unions as an auxiliary of the Obama Dimocratic Party. President Nixon was in many ways saved by the “silent majority” and union members from the trade unions who beat up protesting anti-war students. That was at a time when unions had supporters in Republican ranks and Republicans had supporters in union leadership ranks.
What Stern and his ilk refuse to acknowledge is that Big Labor leaders are often at odds with the interests of their rank and file. We saw that in Massachusetts where labor unions paid workers to hold signs for Martha Coakley but those same workers voted for Scott Brown. Obama’s health scam was the breaking point for many of those union members. Andy Stern refuses to acknowledge the problem preferring to gloat about the “successes” such as electing President “Who Gives A Crap”:
“EK: When you left SEIU last year, my private suspicion was that you were leaving because you didn’t see a future for the labor movement. You’d broken SEIU and your allied unions off into Change to Win, and that didn’t reverse the decline. You’d helped to elect Barack Obama, and gotten health-care reform passed, and those were major accomplishments, but it seemed to me that if you’d seen a path forward for union density, you would have stuck around once they were finished. Was I right?
AS: What I would say is I felt that the next strategy of change would be different. I had tried everything I knew. I was too much of a victim of the model I created. I tried Change to Win and helping Obama, and then I just ran out of Andy Stern ideas.”
Big Labor, just like the mainline women’s organizations, gay groups and many Jewish organizations would rather tie themselves to President “Who Gives A Crap” than talk to their workers and act as representatives of the workers. At one point Stern appears to wake up to the failed alliance:
” EK: But that wasn’t an inevitable outcome. The Great Depression, of course, was a huge boost for the labor movement. The Great Recession has been a huge blow to it. I’ve been kicking around a theory that Obama and the Democrats were loathe — for reasons that made pragmatic sense — to really create a persuasive narrative around what had gone wrong in the country. Doing so would’ve meant vilifying Wall Street, and they needed the market to stabilize, and employers to start hiring again. Plus, they didn’t really believe it. But that left a vacuum that Republicans occupied with a different set of villains: Government, and by association, labor unions, particularly public-employee labor unions. Think there’s any truth to that?
AS: I would say that Republicans have been very successful. There are three things Americans don’t like: Big unions, big government, and big corporations. So Republicans go after big government and big unions, and only talk about small businesses. And it’s worked. Where does the union movement have enough penetration in an industry of this century to be disruptive? We’re down to 6.2 percent in the private sector. The forces that don’t like unions there have largely finished with us. And now they’re moving to the public sector. But part of this story is that the Democratic Party hasn’t embraced unions in the last 20 years. Republicans understood unions as an ally of the Democratic Party. But unions couldn’t get Democrats to embrace unions as a response. They made the argument that making more union members was how you make more Democrats, and that argument is true, but they couldn’t get the Democratic Party to really embrace that theory. Today, no one thinks about any type of labor or industrial policy at all.”
Labor unions are about to learn that they must adapt or die. Ignoring workers so that labor leaders get invitations to the White House is a sure path to death.
Wade Radthke, the ACORN founder sounds the warning as well:
“There still seems to be no coherent strategy or plan that pulls labor together in a more fundamental direction to rebuild and reassert. In some ways it is too easy to see Wisconsin as a last gasp of the old school. I heard recently that the Madison AFL-CIO was debating calling a general strike. If called, who would come? If we came, what would we really stop? I want to see this and count the feet on those streets! [snip]
…SEIU and every other union need to pull all of their last dollars together and figure out how to survive and turn the tide and do it now, make it real, and make it very, very different, because the bell has rung on the old school and the old ideas, as Stern acknowledges, and we are running out of time and money with the tide coming in hard against us.“
Indeed “who would come?” Move-on called for nationwide rallies this past weekend in support of Wisconsin’s public service unions. The rallies were as much of a dud as the Academy Awards with maybe 50,000 people nationwide attending. President “Who Gives A Crap” was AWOL. Perhaps President “Who Gives A Crap” and Mrs. “We all have to sacrifice” were busy with their personal trainer who flies in from Chicago several times a week to keep them toned.
The endgame in Wisconsin is approaching. No matter how many protesters are bused to Wisconsin this is not going to end well. Tomorrow Governor Scott Walker will follow through on his policies and blame the Fleebaggers for the consequences – loss of jobs for many. Some of those jobs might be the 7 Fleebaggers who are might be recalled from office.
Libya’s Quadaffy is also seeing the endgame approaching. Obama loving Chris Hitchens discusses President “Who Gives A Crap”:
“The Obama administration also behaves as if the weight of the United States in world affairs is approximately the same as that of Switzerland. We await developments. We urge caution, even restraint. We hope for the formation of an international consensus. And, just as there is something despicable about the way in which Swiss bankers change horses, so there is something contemptible about the way in which Washington has been affecting—and perhaps helping to bring about—American impotence. Except that, whereas at least the Swiss have the excuse of cynicism, American policy manages to be both cynical and naive.
This has been especially evident in the case of Libya. For weeks, the administration dithered over Egypt and calibrated its actions to the lowest and slowest common denominators, on the grounds that it was difficult to deal with a rancid old friend and ally who had outlived his usefulness. But then it became the turn of Muammar Qaddafi—an all-round stinking nuisance and moreover a long-term enemy—and the dithering began all over again. Until Wednesday Feb. 23, when the president made a few anodyne remarks that condemned “violence” in general but failed to cite Qaddafi in particular—every important statesman and stateswoman in the world had been heard from, with the exception of Obama. And his silence was hardly worth breaking. Echoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had managed a few words of her own, he stressed only that the need was for a unanimous international opinion, as if in the absence of complete unity nothing could be done, or even attempted. This would hand an automatic veto to any of Qaddafi’s remaining allies. It also underscored the impression that the opinion of the United States was no more worth hearing than that of, say, Switzerland. Secretary Clinton was then dispatched to no other destination than Geneva, where she will meet with the U.N. Human Rights Council—an absurd body that is already hopelessly tainted with Qaddafi’s membership.
By the time of Obama’s empty speech, even the notoriously lenient Arab League had suspended Libya’s participation, and several of Qaddafi’s senior diplomatic envoys had bravely defected. One of them, based in New York, had warned of the use of warplanes against civilians and called for a “no-fly zone.” Others have pointed out the planes that are bringing fresh mercenaries to Qaddafi’s side. In the Mediterranean, the United States maintains its Sixth Fleet, which could ground Qaddafi’s air force without breaking a sweat. But wait! We have not yet heard from the Swiss admiralty, without whose input it would surely be imprudent to proceed.”
Chris Hitchens’ words are empty because he was one of those that most vilified Hillary Clinton and supported President “Who Gives A Crap”. Now Obama’s weak excuses are tallied by Hitchens:
“Evidently a little sensitive to the related charges of being a) taken yet again completely by surprise, b) apparently without a policy of its own, and c) morally neuter, the Obama administration contrived to come up with an argument that maximized every form of feebleness. Were we to have taken a more robust or discernible position, it was argued, our diplomatic staff in Libya might have been endangered. In other words, we decided to behave as if they were already hostages! The governments of much less powerful nations, many with large expatriate populations as well as embassies in Libya, had already condemned Qaddafi’s criminal behavior, and the European Union had considered sanctions, but the United States (which didn’t even charter a boat for the removal of staff until Tuesday) felt obliged to act as if it were the colonel’s unwilling prisoner. I can’t immediately think of any precedent for this pathetic “doctrine,” but I can easily see what a useful precedent it sets for any future rogue regime attempting to buy time. Leave us alone—don’t even raise your voice against us—or we cannot guarantee the security of your embassy. (It wouldn’t be too soon, even now, for the NATO alliance to make it plain to Qaddafi that if he even tried such a thing, he would lose his throne, and his ramshackle armed forces, and perhaps his worthless life, all in the course of one afternoon.)”
Obama has been too busy courting the Academy Awards to develop a strategy or a purpose. President “Who Gives A Crap” is fast turning the United States into a helpless, stinking piece of crap:
“The United States, with or without allies, has unchallengeable power in the air and on the adjacent waters. It can produce great air lifts and sea lifts of humanitarian and medical aid, which will soon be needed anyway along the Egyptian and Tunisian borders, and which would purchase undreamed-of goodwill. It has the chance to make up for its pointless, discredited tardiness with respect to events in Cairo and Tunis. It also has a president who has shown at least the capacity to deliver great speeches on grand themes. Instead, and in the crucial and formative days in which revolutions are decided, we have had to endure the futile squawkings of a cuckoo clock.”
Obama could give a speech to the Arab and Muslim world noting that the Jews are not the problem. A few Reaganesque cruise missiles aimed at the Tripoli barracks in which Quadaffy hides could be persuasive that it is time to depart either Libya or this Earth. But Obama does not give a crap.
All Obama cares about is himself and the muscular arms of Mrs. “Who Gives A Crap”. The endgame in Wisconsin and Libya approaches. 2012 approaches as well.