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Monday, June 11, 2012

Post Recall Thoughts, Links and Excerpts

America's Class War
New Yorker Excerpt:
This overreach may well embolden G.O.P. governors in other states to follow the Wisconsin example. But the tactical blundering of the anti-Walker forces shouldn’t be allowed to obscure what is at stake here. Exploiting public concerns about debts and deficits that have resulted from an economic downturn largely brought on by Wall Street malfeasance, Republican politicians, backed by wealthy individuals and corporations, are looking to cripple the unions and balance local budgets on the backs of low- and middle-income workers.

The above framework was never part of the main message in Wisconsin. People are only now just starting to catch on. Every tax cut, credit and loophole for a millionaire or a corporation is meant to drive a tax shift to place a greater burden of the cost of government, state or federal, on the backs of the working poor and middle-class - until we're all screaming for smaller government. It's a brilliant maneuver if you keep your eyes closed. Apparently, we're still blind to it.

McCabe: When the scapegoating subsides
BDN Excerpt:
LIBERALS DWELL on how Republicans have used social issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun rights as wedges to splinter off low-income rural voters who used to vote for Democrats and now reliably support Republicans. The left overlooks the economic wedge the right has skillfully exploited.

Republicans ask people in places like Clark County if they have pensions, and the answer is invariably no. “Well, you are paying for theirs,” they tell them. Do you have health insurance? No. Well, you are paying for theirs. Are you getting pay raises? No. Well, you are paying for theirs.

For years now Democrats have not plausibly made the case that they will deliver better health or retirement security or higher pay to all but the state’s few government workers. What is the modern equivalent of the GI Bill that offers every family a path to vocational training or an affordable college education? Where is the digital age’s equivalent of rural electrification or the interstate highway system?

WE HAVE one party that is scary and another that is scared.

Should taxpayers pay better wages and benefits for others than they get themselves? How backward of a wedge question is that, and Democrats can't beat it back? I've heard that statement from Paul Ryan at one of the townhalls. Despite nobody checking the irony of the $175,000 annual congressman collecting government health insurance - he agrees. How difficult is it to say that Republicans want a single wage and benefit class for the 99% and single party rule like they have in China and N. Korea? And fit that statement in every time a reporter asks a Democrat about the economy and wage disparity. Republicans have no problem claiming Democrats are turning America into Europe or Greece at every chance they get. The fact is, Democrats don't have a unified messaging or marketing plan like Republicans do.

How Walker Really Won Wisconsin
CounterPunch Excerpt:
Walker was able to capitalize on the frustration over the continued erosion of living standards and insecurity felt by most Wisconsinites. Walker provided a false empowerment to the electorate by transforming them from victims to owners of the system. His campaign rebranded the electorate as “the taxpayer” or veritable stockowners of a company they owned: government. The people would take charge of their lives through a Walker-led movement against government waste by union and bureaucratic “elites.” Walker’s campaign thus took on the hue of a libratory project.

Van Jones: National Democrats Didn’t Do Enough In Wisconsin Recall
TPM Excerpt:
“To the extent this fight is considered a life-or-death fight for the labor movement, and is now being considered a big signal of poor health for the progressive cause, you did not see a commensurate level of engagement and participation from national Democrats in that fight,” Jones said in an interview with TPM at the Netroots Nation conference. “I’m seeing a lot more energy mourning the loss than I saw energy securing the win.”

Authoritarian Populism" and the Wisconsin Recall
Monthly Review Excerpt:
Today's Republican Party strategy is a hyper-charged repeat of the Reagan years. The New Right thrives in crisis situations, since crises provide ammunition for the war against the status quo, always skirting the fact that they themselves are at the direct service of the financiers and corporate executives -- the real parasites. In 2008, capitalism nearly came crashing down on top of us and neoliberalism, so we thought, no longer looked so appealing.

Europe Is Dumbfounded By Walker Victory
Atlantic Wire Excerpt:
The recall victory of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is sending shockwaves through Europe as right-wing and left-wing newspapers marvel at the Republican's ability to survive an election months after stripping the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions. In European countries, where a much larger percentage of the labor force is unionized, politicians typically face insurmountable opposition from labor groups during wage and work-hour disputes. Today, some of the continent's biggest papers are doing a double-take at headlines from over here.

Andy Kroll, How the Wisconsin Uprising Got Hijacked
Tom Dispatch Excerpt:
Wisconsinites could also turn to one of their own: Robert "Fightin' Bob" La Follette. He created his own band of "insurgents" within the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Republican Party. Together they formed the Progressive Party, which fought for workers' rights, guarded civil liberties, and worked to squeeze corruption out of government.

Ultimately, however, the decision on what comes next rests in the hands of those who inspired and powered the Wisconsin uprising. And with an emboldened Governor Walker, there should be no shortage of reasons to fight back in the next two years. But success, as Tuesday's election made clear, isn’t likely to come the traditional way.

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