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With Boehner as Speaker instead of Gingrich, Republicans can better win P.R. battle if Democrats force a government shutdown

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:42 pm - February 25, 2011.
Filed under: Congress (112th),New Media

One reason Senate Democrats now seem eager to negotiate spending cuts and avoid a government shutdown is that they may realize that it won’t benefit their party as much as just such a shutdown did in 1995.

Over at the Washington Examiner, while saying “Republicans shouldn’t seek a shutdown,” Byron York also believes “they shouldn’t fear one, either”.  Among other things, he contrasts the fiscal and media situation then and now.  Voters in 1995 were not as concerned with government spending as they are now. And “today’s media environment is substantially different”:

“In ’95 there was no Internet, no bloggers, no Facebook, no Fox News,” says Dick Armey, who was House majority leader during the shutdown. “The discourse of politics today is carried out in a media world that didn’t exist in 1995.” That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be negative coverage of Republicans if a shutdown occurs, just that the overall media picture would be more balanced.

Finally, he notes that Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.  The incumbent seems far more “disengaged and aloof” than his predecessor, with the Arkansan more willing to show himself engaged in the process of the presidency, i.e., by rolling up his sleeves and working with his ideological adversaries.

York leaves one thing out:  John Boehner is no Newt Gingrich, less likely to vent his frustration at a Democratic president’s crass political games in front of a microphone. Recall when the Georgian made it appear the “Republican hard line was due, in part, to a ‘snub’ from President Clinton“, as if the government shutdown were the result of a personal pique, not a genuine concern for fiscal discipline.

Gingrich, as Jennifer Rubin put it in a recent post, is “unpredictable and undisciplined“. The Ohioan is quite the opposite. Try and they might, the Obama Democrats will never be able to demonize John Boehner, they way they demonized Gingrich. He just won’t give them enough rope.

Happy Birthday, Leah!

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:47 pm - February 25, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Holidays,Romance

Just wanted to wish our loyal reader and GayPatriot-get-together organizer Leah a Happy Birthday today.  Apparently, she’ll be celebrating the way some of our male readers like to celebrate, by spending the evening with a studly guy!

Leah, thanks for all the support you’ve provided to this blog and for the friendship you’ve shown to me.  You certainly have earned the right to spend not just evening with a stud, but also to share your life with such a guy.

Public Employee Unions’ “Cozy Setup” with the Democratic Party

In his column today, Charles Krauthammer, like George Will in his earlier this week, gets at the essence of events in the Badger State and explains the difference between a private enterprise negotiating with a union and a government agency doing the same:

In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It’s the perfect cozy setup.

And those who benefit from union largesse are, by and large, Democrats.  Heck, here in California, the unions (most them representing state employees) provided the phone banks for the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote efforts.  No wonder Democrats have become so upset by Walker’s modest and sensible reforms:

To redress these perverse incentives that benefit both negotiating parties at the expense of the taxpayer, Walker’s bill would restrict future government-union negotiations to wages only. Excluded from negotiations would be benefits, the more easily hidden sweeteners that come due long after the politicians who negotiated them are gone. The bill would also require that unions be recertified every year and that dues be voluntary.

Recognizing this threat to union power, the Democratic Party is pouring money and fury into the fight. Fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized. The Democrats’ strength lies in government workers, who now constitute a majority of union members and provide massive support to the party. For them, Wisconsin represents a dangerous contagion.

Read the whole thing to see just why the Apollo of punditry dubs “Obama’s Democrats” as “the party of no.”

Oh, and this post about providing the The “Untold” Story of Scott Walker’s Longstanding History with Labor shows that when Scott Walker ran for governor of Wisconsin, he already had a record of taking on unions.  And he still won by a comfortable margin over a candidate backed by the labor unions.

Gerald McEntee: Three Days of Silence, Will you Speak Up?

In the spirit of HRC’s 11/18/10 release:

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – for the second day called on American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) President Gerald W. McEntee to come out against the kind of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment sadly typified by a union activist’s angry rhetoric and actions Tuesday in Rhode Island. The activist has not yet apologized and Gerald McEntee has said nothing.

“This union activist doessn’t know when an apology is in order, why doesn’t he?” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “As a progressive union leader allied with the Democratic Party, McEntee should know to speak up when someone protesting as an activist at a union ‘solidarity” rally makes hateful remarks, particularly as we strive to promote more civil discourse. Anti-LGBT bullying needs to stop and Gerald McEntee should be a part of making that happen.”

According to media accounts, AFSCME sponsored a “solidarity” rally in Providence on Tuesday and a citizen journalist was taping the event for public access TV.  That prompted the union supporter to respond by threatening the cameraman, saying, “I’ll f**k you in the a**, you faggot!” [sic]

That language is unacceptable. Over the past year a number of union activists have harassed Americans seeking to peacefully assemble and express their grievances.  Gerald McAntee has a prime opportunity to give union activists a lesson in tolerance – to let them know it is wrong to bully other other people, but has so far remained silent.

Sainz added: “Don’t squander this opportunity. Apologize for the behavior and make it clear that you stand against hatred and bullying. Union activists of this country are listening. So are we.” (more…)

HRC Silent when Union Activist Uses Anti-Gay Slur

Last November, on two successive days, HRC issued press releases (one each day) asking Sarah Palin (while attempting to demean her by calling her a “reality TV star”) to “come out against . . . anti-LGBT bullying” because her teenage daughter had used the slur “faggot” on Facebook.  Even after the teen deleted the offensive comment and her older sister apologized, HRC still called on the accomplished former governor (i.e. not the individual who used the term) to speak out.

HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz even called Mrs. Palin’s parenting skills into question, “As a mother, she should know to speak up when a child makes hateful remarks”.  Yet, he has no clue what the charismatic conservative said to her daughter in private, only whining that she didn’t speak out in public.  That she removed the post suggests that either her parents asked her to remove it because they didn’t want their child using such language or, perhaps they had raised her well enough to realize, when her emotions had cooled, that she had spoken too harshly.

Since originally posting on this, we could come up with no evidence that HRC had ever asked a prominent Democrat to speak out when her child used offensive language.

Now, we’ve got a union protester using the same slur, and in circumstances which make its use far more troublesome than that of a teenager posting on Facebook.  Let me remind you of the facts:

At AFSCME’s “solidarity” rally in Providence, Rhode Island on Tuesday, a cameraman was accosted by a fuming pro-union protester. The cameraman had his back to the goon, who appears to accost him unprovoked. The goon screams:

“I’ll f**k you in the ass, you faggot.

This borders on assault, with the adult using hateful words actually threatening an individual. HRC has not called on AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee to speak out against such hurtful language, particularly given his minion’s obvious use of the term to demean, in a context clearly suggesting that homosexuality is an inferior status. And HRC is more ideologically in sync with AFSCME than it is with Mrs. Palin, having joined them in endorsing the One Nation, Working Together rally last October. (more…)

Wisconsin House Passes Budget Reform Bill; Senate Democrats Block Vote, Blame Republican for holding things up

Wisconsin Democrat Jon Erpenbach is a real piece of work; he flees his job as an elected representative of the people of Wisconsin’s 27th Senate district and blames the state’s Republican governor for his absence! And as he holds up the business of the chamber to which, I repeat, he was elected, he says the governor is the one responsible for the delay.

This is just rich:

Erpenbach, who was in the Chicago area, said all 14 [Democratic] senators remained outside of Wisconsin.

“It’s not so much the Democrats holding things up,” Erpenbach said. “It’s really a matter of Gov. Walker holding things up.”

Amazing, just amazing.   The cheek of this guy.  He demands the elected governor of his state yield to his demands or he won’t participate in the legislative process.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin House approved the governor’s budget plan while left-wing protestors have taken over the public areas of the state capitol, creating suck a ruckus  “pounding on drums and chanting . . . loudly that police who are providing security have resorted to ear plugs.”  If these guys were Tea Party protesters, we’d hear an earful about their antics disturbing the peace!

Oh, and these union sympathizers are overnighting on public property.

(The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headlines its article on the vote, “Budget-repair bill approved in early-morning vote” whereas Yahoo! headlines the AP piece, “Wis. Assembly passes bill taking away union rights“.  The Wisconsin paper reports that the “61-hour debate that was the longest in living memory.”  “Democrats offered more than 100 amendments”.  He cites a diva to make his point:

Democrats launched a filibuster, throwing out dozens of amendments and delivering rambling speeches. Each time Republicans tried to speed up the proceedings, Democrats rose from their seats and wailed that the GOP was stifling them.

Doesn’t seem like the governor is demanding his “own way” as one of Erpenbach’s colleagues put it.  Instead, his  package must first pass through the legislative process.  That said, the Wisconsin House Republican leadership should have been more sensitive to their Democratic colleagues when calling the vote and made clear they knew they were voting on final passage.

Still, this is a step in the right direction.  It’s too bad truant Democratic Senators are preventing an elected legislature from doing its job.

UPDATE:  Seems I was a bit hasty in saying Republicans should have been more sensitive to their Democratic colleagues.  The minority party stretched the patience of those elected to run the Wisconsin House to the limit.  The AP, Sonicfrog writes, “altered” its “story to make the Republicans look bad.”  He cites a diva to make his point:

Democrats launched a filibuster, throwing out dozens of amendments and delivering rambling speeches. Each time Republicans tried to speed up the proceedings, Democrats rose from their seats and wailed that the GOP was stifling them.

“The Democrats,” Ann Althouse writes, “were playing games and the Republicans decided to play one of their own.”  The Democrats were trying to gum up the works and whined when Republicans tried to speed up a long-drawn out operation.

UP-UPDATE:  Ed Morrissey has fun with Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller’s statement that Governor Walker has “got to realize there’s more to leadership than just demanding your own way“:

Er … like stamping one’s feet and fleeing the state, with the minority refusing to participate and do their jobs unless Walker makes changes to a bill that would easily pass the legislature?  That kind of “just demanding your own way” is exactly what the minority caucus has been doing for over a week.  If Miller wants to negotiate, the state of Wisconsin has a forum for that: the legislature.

WI Survey Skewed Against GOP Shows Strong Support for Walker’s Budget Plan

In last fall’s gubernatorial election in the Badger State, Republican Scott Walker bested Democrat Tom Barrett by nearly 6 points, winning with 52.25% of the vote to Barrett’s 46.48% of the vote.  In a sample of 500 likely Wisconsin voters where only 46% said they voted for Walker, 71% thought the Republican’s “budget changes that include unions to pay 5.8% of their salary toward the cost of their pensions plans and double their contributions for health care premiums to 12.6% are fair“.

Although they consider the plan fair, Wisconsinites are split on the governor’s overall budget repair bill, with 50% having a somewhat or very favorable opinion of the package and 49% having a somewhat or very favorable view of the union protesters.  Interestingly 69% of Wisconsinites think government workers in their community “have better benefits than private sector workers” while 48% think they are better compensated that private employees, with 29% disagreeing and 23% not sure.

Now, to be sure, 56% favor collective bargaining for public employees.  That said, in all, these numbers suggest that the public employee compensation issue could hurt Democrats in upcoming elections should they appear too cozy with their unions, especially when private sector workers have had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs.

It would be interesting to see what these numbers are for the Golden State.

(H/t: Washington Examiner and Memeorandum.)

Wealthy gay marriage supporters won’t cave to howling media mob

Glad to hear that after much maligned by the mainstream media, two prominent  backers of gay marriage refuse to yield in supporting groups and individuals who promote causes and ideals near and dear to them:

In interviews with National Review Online, Koch executives responded to the incident and pledged to “not stop” supporting free-enterprise initiatives, even as opponents attempt to sully the Koch name and the groups that brothers David and Charles Koch, the company’s co-owners, support. They also noted that David Koch and the governor have never met or spoken.

“With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” says Richard Fink, the executive vice president of Koch Industries. “We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. When government grows as it has with the Bush and Obama administrations, that is what destroys prosperity.”

Emphasis added.  Jane Mayer notwithstanding, seems the Koch Brothers are motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.  John Hinderaker who alerted me to the piece quoted above finds it

. . . remarkable that at this late date, when Communism and socialism have been wholly discredited around the world, businessmen who run one of the world’s most respected companies, have created many thousands of jobs and vast amounts of wealth, and have paid taxes in amounts that are incomprehensible to the rest of us, are demonized for pointing out the obvious benefits of free enterprise.

Indeed.