Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A few things at stake

This morning I appeared on the left wing radio and TV show, Democracy Now! hosted by Amny Goodman. I guess you can always learn something because I thought we've had Democracy since 1776!
The likelihood that I would persuade anyone in that audience to view the recall election any differently is on a par with my winning Dancing with the Stars next year. In fact, I am not sure that the prospect for convincing anyone anywhere to view things differently are very large.

But, if you have any doubts, the following is at stake this year.

Recall as the new normal. Politicians can learn. If the Democrats successfully accelerate the election cycle, we can expect to see it again. From both sides. This isn't to say that we'll have all recalls all the time but whenever a politician is seen as politically weak or does something that inflames the other side's base, recall will be part of the potential response. We will have effectively eliminated any presumption against it.
Do you enjoy the permanent campaign? You know what to do.

Responsible budgeting. We have a problem in the US. Democrats want to spend money but won't raise taxes on anyone but the hated "rich." The math doesn't work. Republicans, I must admit, are stronger on tax cuts than spending reductions. Walker departed from this pattern. He tried to make his budget work by lowering the cost of government through collective bargaining reform. To recall him will be to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
Walker made some tough choices. Barrett won't say what he would have done. That's a common thing for politicians to do, but it's not serious. A successful recall would reward it.

New possibilities for government. While much of our rhetoric is "for" or "against" government, Walker's reforms went beyond that. He tried to find a way to avoid tax increases without substantial service reductions. Reducing the power of public employee unions will increase the power of good public employees. Public service won't be strangled by seniority rules or rigid work rules. Merit pay becomes more of a possibility. Government can leave behind the outdated industrial assembly model of labor relations and move into the 21st century.

Or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought you did a good job on the Amy Goodman show. Her questions weren't as slanted as I was expecting. Your co-guest as you noted engaged in a lot of sloganeering. My guess is he cannot conceive of the possibility that less unionization might actually be a good thing for many people inside and outside the unions. The part where Ms. Goodman and the other guest talked about the divide and conquer comments was kind of silly. Walker said what he thinks and what I expect most republicans think. Of course republicans want to defeat the public employees who are their political opponents and a major driver (though not the only one) of rising costs of government. The republican base doesn't generally like more government cost and higher taxes.