September 16, 2012
Advice to the lovelorn
By Bill Kraus
Twenty years ago the Senate Democrats asked me to tell them why they were not beloved. I told them. They haven’t invited me back, nor have they acted on what I told them.
Recently, a mostly public labor union group asked me the same question. I accepted their invitation. I never learn. I told them I thought they lost the sympathy that accompanied the Republican overreach on collective bargaining by resorting to the kind of bullying in the recall process that had spurred the Republican overreach.
The face of public labor unions is the 500-pound gorilla that buys power with money and votes to crush their enemies and intimidate their friends. Actually, one of the beneficiaries of their largesse once told me, “You have it wrong. They are not the 500-pound gorilla. It’s more like a 600-pound gorilla.”
Other contributors to this discussion suggested that the public unions’ world has changed and the face of these organizations must change as well. Instead of the hard-line, aggressive, no holds barred leaders and staffs, the unions should put their main assets, the teachers and public employees, out front.
People like teachers. Teachers and public employees as well are an important, respected part of every community. The union staffs and leaders are no less worthy. It’s their less lovable image and the fact that they are less local that’s a problem.
My audience, interestingly, did not push back on either the characterization or the recommendation.
Whether the possibly chimerical judicial ruling on the famous Act 10 will alter what I regarded as an encouraging sign will be evident soon. I hope not.
If the Republicans had asked the question these labor representatives did I would have told them that their face, which is increasingly that of the defining social issues and their strident adherents, will destroy them.
It is okay to suck up to the hard liners with money and votes.
If that association becomes you or your image though, you are history.
The small sample of the labor movement that I saw seemed to have learned that lesson in the last chaotic couple of years.
If the Republicans don’t they will wither for lack of young blood, talent, energy, and even money if the people with the money think they are buying into losing causes and a party with a face that repels more than it appeals.
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Asking the unions to play nice is a capitulation to the image which is depicted by the marketing money of the opposition.
Mother Jones would not soften her stance and it seems we heard at the recent Bobfest how Bob insisted on remaining true to those concepts he valued.
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, IL | September 16, 2012
I always thought this was a pretty good article on how ridiculous our elected representatives are on spending:
...Senators and their staffers actually cost tax payers a grand total of $815,257,000 in 2010 above and beyond their regular salaries.
...These "appropriations and outlays" consisted of line items like:
$1,238.56 per senator for "Senatorial Health and Fitness Club Memberships"
$333.87 per Senator for Hair Care Revolving Fund"
$1,666.73 per Senator for "Senate Gift Shop Revolving Fund"
$2988.21 per Senator for "Stationery"
$44,164 per Senator for "Use of Foreign Currency"
$135,249.22 per Senator for "Miscellaneous Costs"
Haircuts, gym memberships, gift shop tchotchkes - just some of the things a $174,000 annual income (with free healthcare and retirement funding) apparently doesn't cover.
These absurdities and others add up to an obscene $8,162,000 or so per Senator or a total of $815 million. Stripping them away while Congress declines to serve in their elected roles, plus that $100 million in regular salaries, gives us almost a billion dollars we can subtract from the deficit problem. And this is before we've even taken a peak at the House of Representatives' "expenditures" let alone those of the White House.
I think we should start with some tough love on our elected crooks, er representatives, er parasites, first.
-Mad Hemingway | Heart of Badger country | September 17, 2012
Since we have allowed WEAC and AFSCME to become the defacto heads of the state Dems, we shouldn't be surprised that they are acting in their own interest. Yet there is a great deal of frustration over their bungling efforts to wire up the governors recall election for the benefit of Kathy Falk.
The cure is to have a viable party structure throughout the state where all Dems and independents are welcome.
-nonheroicvet | Disgusted, WI | September 18, 2012