Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Collective Dismay

Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Winning.


MK said...

Winning short term, perhaps, but long term, perhaps not. I once commented in the archivists' forum that if I had a chance to meet Rush Limbaugh, I would ask him, "what is it that you are so afraid of?" The Limbaugh type advocate has a much more limited appeal than someone with different a different personality and methods of acting who is able to project confidence and invite people to walk along with him or her. So, too, with a Walker type. Anyone who is that determined to strip teachers (many of them female) of their right to bargain on non-fiscal issues is signalling a very unattractive type of "I'm scared of letting you talk to me so I'll impose what I want" vibe that hurts the GOP. In fact, I'd say signalling "I'm so terribly, terribly afraid of some of the people with whom I share the world," which is my take on how Walker has handled all this, is the last thing the party needs going in to 2012. Had his goals been fiscal, he wouldn't have done this. All he's done is demonstrate that there's some else going on. Big blunder, totally unnecessary to hang this on his party, where it now looms as a national issues.

Fr. John said...

Thanks, MK. Here's the morning line based on a couple of recent conversations with smart conservative friends. It's a short argument: Government never gets smaller. The only way to slow or stall the growth is to do a WFB: Stand in the way and yell "stop." This is not to justify anyone's particular actions or rhetoric. But it does explain some of the severity of the right's demands on fiscal issues.

Barry Fernelius said...

But the end doesn't justify the means, particularly in this case. I'm as upset about how this was done as I am distressed at what was done. This may backfire on Walker and his party in ways that he hasn't anticipated.

Fr. John said...

I'm definitely with you in this case, Barry:

Fr. John said...

And when I wrote winning, I was quoting...well, you know!

MK said...

The problem for Walker is that by splitting the bill, he made it clear yesterday's action has nothing to do with the budget or deficit reduction. It affected baragaining for non-pay issues. Workplace issues where the last thing a governor should want to signal is that he's a big bully who's afraid of women.

That's where the potential damage to the national party comes. People already have noticed his carving out an exception for public safety workers (mostly men, many of whom vote GOP0. His threats to use the National Guard against teachers (mostly women). His proposed actions to limit support for reproductive health services for poor men and women. Deficit hawks in other states don't need this type of negative baggage with independets, especially women who work for a living. Too late to take away our vote (John Derbyshire's yearning to disenfranchise notwithstandind, LOL) or to mandate that we stay barefoot and preganant and in the kitchen, hah.

Walker comes across to me as a man-child. I keep picturing an 8-year old boy wrinkling up his nose and saying, "ew, girls, they're icky. Hey guys! Lets climb up on the fence and throw rocks at the neighbors dog!" Of course, the neighbor's dog is too quick for them, she runs for safety and her owner comes out to admonish the boys for being mean to her dog. Definitely not an image the GOP governors need. No wonder other governors have been cautious in saying anything to support Walker, no matter what they're views are on fiscal issues. Which of course are something else, entirely, as a public policy issue.

MK said...

PS Of course I understand that union busting is related to hurting people who are perceived as voting Democratic. Walker's error lies in taking draconian measures to bust unions at the same time he has made it clear he does not support reproductive health services for the poor (men and women alike). So for an independent voting woman such as I, who have been self supporting all my adult life, there's just too much of a whiff of fearing females and their expressions of individuality and diversity attached to all this. Why should I put my confidence in men who seem as if they wish we never had gotten the vote and never entered the workplace?

If I lived in Wisconisn, I'd probably tempted never to vote GOP on the state level again. Since I don't, I'm sitting back and watching how the national party (and its supporting pundits) handles this. It's much, much more of a radioactive issue than insular party types in Wisconsin seem to realize. From what I hear among my younger friends face to face and in the virtual world, I see many of them going "whoa, wait a minute, you can't turn back the clock on everything related to women's rights. It's the 21st century dude, we're not going back into the kitchen."

I'm older and look at it from a slightly different angle. I see it relating to that moral chasm in the GOP that Michael Gerson wrote about in 2007, when he said he and GWB wanted to use Hurricane Katrina as a trigger for conversations about poverty and race and fiscal conservatives pushed back against that. It would have helped move the party away from that "all I care about me and mine, the heck with the rest of the world" vibe that some of its tax rejecting and climate change disbelieving pundits project. The party just can't afford to take on much of a mysogonistic vibe now. Yet Walker is forcing theat on it.

The GOP would be in much better shape nationally, and certainly with Independents such as I, had the Gerson and W types prevailed as the face of the party as Bush's term came to an end. If the face of the party becomes Walker, along with Palin, it's going to be a long tough slog for the party to attract the 18 to 39 vote, efforts at voter suppression among college students notwithstanding.

I definitely see that among the people with whom I've been discussing it. And they already know, as one of the Daily Dish correspondents observed a year ago, that the previous generation selfioshly frittered away or consumed so much there won't be as much for the up and coming generation. They accept that actually, better than many baby boomers would, I think. It's the regression on rights issues that is going to hurt the GOP more than anything economic, I fear.