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What"s This Problem The Right WingWith Unions?

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Balladeer
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50 posted 02-28-2011 10:07 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

and also angry at him for what they see as his relative lack of support of Federal unions.....in which case, the point was missed completely. I, for one, have no feelings about Obama's support or lack of support of Federal unions, much less anger.

The point is that, if Obama is so concerned about the treatment of union workers, he doesn't have to look all the way to Wisconsin. He can look in his own backyard. The fact that he doesn't shows the shallowness and insincerity in his words and actions.
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51 posted 02-28-2011 11:26 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     I thought the subject was the Right Wing's understanding of Unions and their difficulty with getting that the concept might be useful.  I'm uncertain about what the wonderfulness or difficulty The Right Wing has with President Obama was particularly to the issue.  I was reasonably clear about my mixed feelings about his position here, but what does this have to do with the attempt at destroying collective bargaining that was initiated in this case by the Republicans in Wisconsin?

     And if there are others with points of interest they'd like to bring up here, I'd be interested in hearing what they have to say about the subject.

     I am puzzled by the Right Wing's attempt to shift the discussion to the behavior of the President, whom I criticized for his lack of stance on Federal Unions, trusting my informants gave me the best information they had in this regard ó and whom I praised for his support of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin.

     It does seem inconsistent that My Right Wing Friends would criticize the man for being pro Union on the one hand and then criticize him for being insufficiently pro Union on other other hand.  As I said before, of course, nothing obligates any of us to be consistent; it simply seems like a strange stand for Right Wing Folk to take.  
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52 posted 03-01-2011 01:10 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

It isn't Michael, or the Right Wing, that is being inconsistent, Bob. They are simply pointing out Obama's and the Democrats' inconsistency on the issue of public sector unions. They don't seem to want collective bargaining and mandatory union membership at the federal level, but push for its continuance at the state level. Their position on federal employees, regarding the issue, in my opinion, is the correct one, and probably one of the rare instances that I find myself in agreement with them. But I am consistent and believe that states, if they wish, should be able to limit collective bargaining of public employee unions as well.

Pointing out his inconsistency on the issue, or disagreeing with any of Obama's policies, isn't evidence of anger. It's evidence of disagreement. People can disagree agreeably and without anger.
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53 posted 03-01-2011 12:36 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:

It isn't Michael, or the Right Wing, that is being inconsistent, Bob. They are simply pointing out Obama's and the Democrats' inconsistency on the issue of public sector unions. They don't seem to want collective bargaining and mandatory union membership at the federal level, but push for its continuance at the state level.



     I assume you are accurate in your description of the current Federal Union situation. I haven't checked into it at this point.  I don't like the current situation you describe, and I would disagree with it's necessity.  I criticize the administration for that status Quo.  We both do, for different reasons.

     I would also point out the President Obama is not running a unified party the way the Republicans did through much of the previous two administrations.  The Republicans have been very effective in mounting a resistance.  The President must pick his fights.  He can't put everything on the table all the time for every issue.  I personally do not believe that The President could get a bill through both houses that would change the current Unionization rules.  Since it's a money bill, it would have to go through The House first, which has a majority of Republicans.  I don't think such a bill would pass, and I doubt very much that it would even be allowed to come up.  You may be able to blame the President for that piece of political reality, but I can't.  He's got to play the cards he has.

     Is it sad that he can't get through s pro-Union bill of this sort?

     I think it it is.  What my Right Wing friends think is up to them to say or not say.  I am reasonably certain that if the Unions thought the President could do such a thing, many of them would be pressing him to do so, and I see no evidence of such pressure.  There is such pressure on the state level, and there The Republicans appear to be playing to their base.  According to Ms. Maddow, about 55% of Republicans in Wisconsin thought that Governor walker was doing the right thing last week, but among Democrats and Independents, support was pretty much the other way around.  The Democrats can and are pushing at the State level, where they can use the issue to make gains in approval ratings.

     The issue seems to be good for the Democrats.

     But we still don't seem to be talking about what the Republican problem is with Unions.  We've been talking about the press and now we're talking about how President Obama is hypocritical in his level of support for Unions.  Actual conversation about what's so terrible about Unions seems to be short on the ground, however, other than complaints about how Unions support Democrats.  

     Many of them do.  But so what?  Mike was kind enough to give a link to a list of donors to both parties, and I noticed that there were a lot of organizations that donate to the Republicans.

     While I'd like to know who's behind all the organizations that donate to both parties, and to have that be an issue in campaigns, I figure that both organizations have a right to donors as long as both parties use the donations in a legal and perhaps even an ethical fashion.  The notion here is that we should discourage the government being bought by anybody, though frankly, I'm at a loss to suggest how that might be accomplished.  I'm afraid that I'm against entrepreneurial spirit among Senators and Congressmen and Judges, but I'm afraid that nobody's much interested in my opinion about that, in either party.  Ah, well!
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54 posted 03-05-2011 12:10 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The problem isn't with unions in general, Bob, it is with public sector unions.


quote:
When government unions sit down with the politicians they put into office, the relationship is not adversarial. It is not healthy. It is incestuous. And taxpayers must pay the cost of their cohabitation.
  
http://www.songoftruth.org/forum/topic/show?id=4612011%3ATopic%3A94996&xgs=1&xg _source=facebook

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55 posted 03-06-2011 03:45 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Interesting thought, but not I think the case.  Certainly that's the center of the current Wisconsin brouhaha, but Republicans have supported a long list of anti-union legislation over the years, and have gone out of their way to make anti-union comments.  

     While all unions are not angelic by any stretch of the imagination, Republicans have tended to take the management side in a lot of the legislation.  They are the ones who have called a lot of anti-union legislation "right to work" laws.  If there has been some sort of anti-union propaganda spread about, for example  about how the unions have driven up the cost of U.S. manufactured cars to make them non-competitive, Republicans have quite often supported it.  Or am I remembering incorrectly here?

     Perhaps somebody might refresh my memory of the great Republican labor leaders or crusaders for the rights of labor, or, more to the point, great Republican Union Leaders.  Who might some of the Republicans be who backed unionization since, say, the time of TR?

     Public Sector Unions, too.
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quote:
Certainly that's the center of the current Wisconsin brouhaha, but Republicans have supported a long list of anti-union legislation over the years, and have gone out of their way to make anti-union comments.

So you would support the Republicans in the current Wisconsin brouhaha, Bob? It is only the long list of alleged anti-union legislation over the years that truly concerns you?


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57 posted 03-06-2011 08:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Sorry, Ron, you may have missed parts of my postings on this thread, #23 and #45, specifically, which I believe addresses the point you raise.  I may have misunderstood the point you were trying to make, however.  I do that sometimes.  Is there anything that I haven't covered in these two excerpts?

quote:

#23
Simply having a single shop union can work out, but it's generally better to have a larger one because there's more support in case there's a serious quarrel with the management.††And these do happen from time to time.

†††† This current quarrel in Wisconsin would be an example of that, in my opinion, because the issue seems to be the right to have collective bargaining at all.††The state unions appear to have said that they're willing to cave on the money issues, but that they're not willing to give up the right to collective bargaining.††If they give that up, they're sitting ducks, and that's pretty simply a poor idea.

†††† Trading back and forth what the working conditions and rewards are is one thing.††Giving up the right to have the discussion is something else entirely.††And for the only unions to be asked to give up that right to be the ones who didn't support the Republican Party in the last election is adding insult to injury.




and

quote:

#45

††† In the case of Wisconsin, the Unions aren't asking for more money or more benefits; they've taken money issues off the table.††The issue is purely right to organize, and the Republicans are trying to undermine it.††The cause of the difficulty in budgets is not the Unions, it's the recession and the slowdown in economic activity, and the large numbers of people out of work.††

†††† Were it purely a matter of budgets, that could be solved by negotiation with the unions about temporary give-backs.††In fact, the unions in Wisconsin have already made those concessions.††Governor Walker is trying to get legislation through that undermines the right to collective bargaining, however, and that is not something aimed at solving a temporary budget problem of uncertain duration and degree.††It is an attempt to undermine the very right of labor to negotiate on somewhat equal footing with management.

†††† Their attempt "to reform the scope of collective bargaining" is to eliminate it.††It has no affect on the state budget that I can see.††It does, however, reflect a long term Right Wing agenda item, to break the Unions.

Ron
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58 posted 03-06-2011 09:44 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I read the earlier posts, Bob, but sometimes we change our opinions and that seemed to be what you did in post 55. After looking at Denise's link, you very quickly inserted a "but" that went from the specific (i.e., Wisconsin) to the general. It sounded to me like Denise convinced you? If not, why the sudden jump?
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59 posted 03-07-2011 02:01 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     No, I donít believe The Republican Problem with Unions is confined to  public sector Unions, despite Deniseís assertion that the problem is only with public sector unions.  I am unconvinced, though Denise may well be talking about her own position.  Among other indications to the contrary is the frequently made case ó by Republicans and others on The Right ó that Union funding of the Democratic Party is in some way wrong.  I donít know that Republicans have made a specific issue of Public Sector Unions funding of Democrats is wrong as opposed to funding by Unions in General.

     The issue to my mind remains the issue of attempting to exert control of the Free Market by making it difficult or impossible for labor to function as an organized market force.  The Republicans seem to focus on whatís good for Capital rather than for the Market as a whole.  Their attack is not only against labor, but against other factors that may restrain the unfettered rule of capital, such as Government, which might seek to regulate capital, and environmental protection, which seeks to protect the long term health of the system in which the Market operates.

     The link Denise uses in her posting #54 from Pat Buchanan says this:

quote:

Walker would also require public service employee unions to hold annual elections by secret ballot to determine if state workers want the union to represent them, or if they would prefer to have their deducted union dues put back in their paychecks.
Legislators submit to voters every two years.



     The implication is that the two kinds of certification are the same.  In fact, Union Officials must run for office regularly as well, not simply governmental legislators.  Mr Buchanan doesnít  suggest that State Democracy and its legitimacy be voted on every  election cycle, and that we offer to return all taxes to voters who decided to vote against submitting to State authority.  That would be the actual equivalent.  

     You will see that the same sort of argument is pursued against unions in general by Republicans, suggesting that specific unionization efforts in the private sector be put on trial with every contract negotiation.  The argument is not one Republicans use specifically against Public Unions.

     Nor, I suspect, would the Republicans pursue these lines of attack if Unions werenít doing something approaching an acceptable job for their members.

     So no, I am unconvinced.  I believe that Republicans on the whole are against Unions on the whole, and that the case in Wisconsin is a instance of Republicans picking on Public Sector Unions because they believe them to be riper targets at the moment, not because they see them as something different in type or kind.

     Also, the thread has to do with Unions and the Problem that the Right Wing seems to have with them, not simply the situation in Wisconsin, which is a specific instance of how the Republicans seek to divide and conquer.  

     Not all companies are rapacious and greedy at the expense of everything and everyone else around them.  There are a number of companies that really try to function in the interests of the community as well as in the interest of the owners.  Failure for the left to recognize this is tragic.  Nor are all Unions only out to get everything they can at the hands of management.  Failure to recognize this is short sighted.

     And while competition is healthy in many situations, so is cooperation, and the issue is how to strike a decent balance between them, as well as a balance in short and long term utility for the system as a whole.

     Does that help clarify my position, Ron?  I don't want to be confusing.

    
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60 posted 03-07-2011 05:35 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I think that most Republicans would like to limit the power of unions, both public and private through Right to Work legislation, giving the choice to the workers, and not having them forced to join a union in order to be employed.

But I think that the public sector unions are more troubling to the Republicans than the private sector ones because of the fact that in public sector unions the 'management' side of the table doesn't have their own money on the table. It is the taxpayers money that they are bargaining with and the taxpayers who have to foot the bill. The unions get what they want and the politicians who come through for the unions get campaign financing and the taxpayers get taken to the cleaners.
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61 posted 03-07-2011 11:10 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I am a taxpayer and was a taxpayer even when I was in a Union.  Most Union members, if you think about it, have to be.  You, as a Union member, are still a taxpayer.  Any gains you make will come out of your own pocket as well.  Any give-backs you vote for come out of your paycheck.  I don't know of Union give-backs causing a flood of money to get refunded to taxpayers.  They didn't when I was in AFSCME and gave back money to Massachusetts, and I don't hear of any money being given back here in California, either.  

     In any state that I know of, too big a raise in Union wages or benefits would get the party responsible for negotiations kicked out of office, or at least greatly complicate re-election campaigns.  Givebacks from Unions, on the other hand, are good for voter Brownie points for the negotiating party, and frequently can simplify re-election campaigns.

     It's in the interest of both parties to the negotiation to be good to the voters.  

     You can construct sensible scenarios to support either position, Denise.  Considering the give-backs the Wisconsin have put on the table and the likelihood they won't see anything but more financial squeeze in the future, this argues to me that they are willing to give back for not only their own selfish interests, but for the selfish interests of everybody else, too.

     Whereas with Governor Walker, I see little if any interest in the negotiations, only an interest in breaking collective bargaining rights.  The Republicans appear to be interested in undermining them wherever they can.  They've even gone so far as to attempt to blame the Wisconsin budget shortfall on the Unions instead of on the worst economic slump since the great depression.  It is a good thing that many Republican governors are refusing to get on this particular bandwagon with Governor Walker.  They seem more of the go slow school than the pedal to the metal school of union busting.  I don't believe that they're actually pro-Union, though I suppose it's possible.  
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62 posted 03-08-2011 05:52 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The union members are taxpzyers, that's true, and we pay along with the majority of other taxpayers who are not public sector union members, who are gaining no benefit from the union contracts.

There was just an election. But the losing side has taken its ball and gone home...well, fled the state, actually. Will they ever again be able to convince people that they support and honor the domocratic process?  
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63 posted 03-08-2011 07:41 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Personally, Denise, I think what the Democrats have done in Wisconsin is deplorable. Lacking the votes to get what they want (or avoid what they don't want), they've subverted the democratic process and resorted to gaming the system. It makes the votes of the constituents, the people who put them ALL into office, meaningless.

But make no mistake. Their tactics are not greatly different from a Republican filibuster or either side of the aisle trading a vote on this today for a vote on something else tomorrow. Those, too, pervert the will of the voters by privileging the strategies of the politicians.

Any time the votes of our representatives don't directly reflect the votes of our citizens, it is a travesty of the system.

Except . . . it pretty much IS the system, isn't it? It's what we've allowed it to become? Where results are everything, overshadowing lesser things like honor and duty?

It's deplorable, Denise. But it's not just a Democratic failing. It's an American failing.


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64 posted 03-08-2011 11:27 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I totally agree, Ron. Most of the actions of the majority of our elected officials are deplorable and a subversion of the will of those who elected them.
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65 posted 03-08-2011 06:36 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I thought this was a well-stated assessment of the issues with unions.
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/thomas-sowell/2011/03/08/union-myths/
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66 posted 03-09-2011 07:00 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I've never been very good at figuring percentages. Can anyone here tell me what the percentage of increase it is from $13.44 to $57.86? And if you can, can you show me the method for calculating it?

Thanks!  
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67 posted 03-09-2011 09:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

    

     Interesting editorial by Thomas Sowell.  I believe it reflects the Republican general position that I described above, doesn't it?  That is, it's focused on all unions and Public Unions only as a special instance, mentioned later in the article,  It also asks readers to accept uncritically the notion that unions are responsible for the decline of the US auto, steel and coal industries, and it suggests that Unions are siphoning off profits from companies.

     Among the things it ignores are the issues of safety and worker protections and working conditions.

     The suffering of mine owners as they were forced to install machinery to keep workers safe against preventable work accidents, such as flooding, methane and ó long term ó black lung is not something that even crosses my radar.  The fact that non-union mines still may have some of these issues to deal with is, for me, justification enough for organizing activities designed to force them to be unionized operations.  The fact that mines now use a lot of machinery as opposed to human labor suggests to me that the retirement plans and medical benefits the unions got were entirely appropriate.  It also says to me that mines were being modernized at the same time everything else in society was being modernized.  Think of all those poor scribes put out of work by the printing press.  Think of all those jobs that died as a result of the transistor.  

     I'm quite happy that mines don't kill as many people as they used to.  The towns that got in trouble because of this sort of thing did not have populations that all killed themselves; they went to places where they could find other work, and they did.  Their lives were a matter of indifference to the owners while they worked in the mining towns originally; the crocodile tears shed afterward by Mr. Sowell  are only lugubrious.

     The reason I stopped buying US built cars for so many years is that the US stopped caring about the quality of the cars it built.  I got tired of spending money on cars that were designed to fall apart in two years and often developed problems before that point.  Toyota and Honda built better cars, and, for my money, still do.  They are more responsive to the market needs, and their quality has proven itself to me to be much greater.

     US Steel ran into problems because, in case you've forgotten as Mr. Spowell seems to have forgotten, US manufacturers did not want to lay out the capital investment necessary to modernize 19th Century steel plants into plants that operated more quickly, more safely and on a larger scale.  In Korea, in India, and in Japan they did.  And they have been paying their workers better as their economies have improved.  Our steel producers didn't want to put in the money.  Our solution?

     Blame the unions.  Don't bother to modernize the American plants.  I don't find this a useful strategy.

     Unions do not interrupt the free market; they are part of the market that the folks with the most money are trying to run out of business.  Mr. Sowell is in denial of this basic fact.  Labor is a part of the marketplace.  Capital needs labor to buy its products, and to transform raw materials into those products in the first place.You can't be much more part of the free market than that.

     There is more to the marketplace than capital.  Republicans seem, on the whole, to have difficulty saying that quickly five times without choking.  How much more basic can you get.

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68 posted 03-10-2011 02:09 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas

Roughly about 430.50595238095235% Denise



Balladeer
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69 posted 03-10-2011 03:01 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Divide 57.86 by 13.44 and then multiply by 100 (for the percentage).
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Thanks guys! I'll try to remember the formula for future reference.

Yikes! That's a big increase for my share of my health insurance premium!

I can see both sides of the issue, Bob. Neither side is faultless.
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71 posted 03-11-2011 07:05 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     I had some time to think about this, Ron.  Iím not sure that I agree.  Originally, my understanding is, that founders didnít envision party politics here in the United States.  They thought that each legislator would try to represent the will of the voters and not represent the will of the party because once again, they really didnít envision parties.  Now parties showed up very quickly, and they probably should have been foreseen.  I believe that the lack of parties was one of the reasons for the original set up of the national administration:  The winner of the Presidential election would be President, and the runner up would be Vice-President.  I think you might  make a case for it, at least.

     What we have now and have had for centuries is much more partisan than that.  

     I donít believe the situation in Wisconsin did reflect the will of the voters.  Nobody that I know of ran on the platform of eliminating collective bargaining rights in that state, though governor Walker now reports that he did in fact do so.    Rachael Maddow reports that he did not run on that platform, and, while the Governor disagrees, he hasnít seen fit to excerpt any statements made at the time from his speeches or campaign statements that would support his position.  The polls indicate that the electorate is more than 60% in favor of the pro-collective bargaining position, and only about 35% support the Republicans in this.  

     I believe that this would suggest that the vote taken about collective bargaining in Wisconsin a few days back, then, reflects the priorities of the Republican Party base, and not that of the voters overall.  You could make a decent argument going the other way, I think, but it seems to me to be something of a stretch to do so.  And certainly the notion that the reason for doing so was because of the budget crisis in Wisconsin has proven itself, politely speaking, somewhat misleading.  In order to pass the legislation the Republicans demanded, the Republicans had to take all budgetary language out of the bill, and they did so.  

     It was also a bill that attacked only Unions that did not support the Republicans during the election.  The Pro-Republican Unions were exempted.

     It seems very clear, at least to me, that the Republicans were attempting to attack collective bargaining rights of people they felt were political antagonists, and who were likely to support the majority of their agenda anyway.  

     My personal hope is that the Republicans will have to go to court to defend their actions, and that they will lose.  
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72 posted 03-11-2011 07:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"The will of the voters" is an interesting phrase. If that is something to be taken into consideration, then the stimulus plan was against the will ofthe voters. Obamacare was againstthe will of the voters. Cap and trade was against the will of the voters. Funny how, when the will of the voters is against something Democrats push, it shouldn't matter and yet, when it is against something pushed by republicans, it takes on a new meaning. Whenever I bring up that fact about something on the Democrat side of the plate  is against the "will of the people", I get something like...the people voted for the representatives so whatever the representatives pass is the will of the people. How about that?

As far as platforms are concerned, Obama didn't run on his version of Obamacare. He ran on a version of health care reform that bears little comparison to the final product. He also didn't run on extending the Patriot Act or keeping Gitmo open. Platforms are tricky things, aren't they?


Another interesting comparison is  the Wisconsin vote and Obamacare. When Obama did an end run around the constitution..following it but in a way ill-designed to use to get the plan through congress, disregarding, not only the will of the people but also enough congressmen that it wouldn't have passed in the standard way, democrats - and even the liberal press - had no problem with that. Now that Walker did his own end run, still following the constitution, democrats scream FOUL, along with that same liberal media and demand it go to court.

Gotta love it when those chickens come home to roost....

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73 posted 03-11-2011 07:53 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

btw, my last comment is not simply a chance to blast Obama. It makes a valid comparison to Mr. K's comments, if one is still allowed to show both sides.
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quote:
They thought that each legislator would try to represent the will of the voters and not represent the will of the party ...

Are you suggesting our legislators don't vote their conscience, Bob? Heaven forbid.

In point of fact, I think they do. Indeed, any time you can see a legislator deviate from party lines -- and we see it all the time -- it's clear they still have free will. The problem isn't that they don't vote their conscience, in my opinion, but rather that they let their conscience too easily be influenced by peer pressure.

And that's entirely OUR fault. So long as there are people who vote along party lines, the party will hold that kind of power. Too many of our citizens aren't voting THEIR conscience; why should we be surprised when their representatives do much the same?

quote:
The polls indicate that the electorate is more than 60% in favor of the pro-collective bargaining position, and only about 35% support the Republicans in this.

And we're right back to running the country according to the latest poll?

The only poll that ever counts (and this answers Mike's entire post about the will of the voters, I think) is the one that takes place in the voting booth.

quote:
Now that Walker did his own end run, still following the constitution, democrats scream FOUL, along with that same liberal media and demand it go to court.

And the same exact thing will happen when the shoe is on the other foot next month, Mike. The irony of course is that both sides are right to holler FOUL. And both side are wrong to continue following the same foul strategies.

Argue your points. Cast your vote. Accept the results.

It really should be any more complicated than that. And I put it to you, Mike, that is only our own partisanship -- at the citizen's level -- that has allowed our government to develop into something that both of us seem to condemn with equal fervor.


 
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