Monday, February 21, 2011

The Wisconsin 14: State Democrats On The Lam Are In GREAT Company — Abraham Lincoln

That's right: "Honest Abe."

The Democratic Wisconsin state senators who fled Madison to the friendly confines of the great (still Blue) state of Illinois in order to deny Republicans the quorum necessary to pass their union-busting bill, are on the right side of history — considering the company they keep: America's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln.

Back in 1840, when Lincoln was an Illinois state legislator, the state bank was in financial crisis, having dispensed more paper money than it held gold and silver in reserve. The Democrats seized their opportunity to destroy the bank, much as today's radical right wing — fascist, please will someone in media con cojones, other than Thom Hartmann and Noam Chomsky, attach the correct historical analogy to this coalition of extremist Republicans controlling the party and the right wing plutocrats bankrolling the assault on unions — has launched a multi-state coordinated assault on America's public employee unions. Lincoln skipped out on the Illinois legislature by jumping, or as some joked referring to his long legs, stepping out of a window to deny the legislature the necessary quorum to kill the bank.

Young Abe Lincoln, Hiding Out From the Illinois Legislature in Undisclosed Location, 1840.
Lincoln was brought back, but his losing effort did not go unnoticed. And for the Teabaggers, who don't know but a true thing or two about their history, this one falls under our "Tea Party Remedial Education" series (because we believe in redemption): When the Constitution was being debated, some legislators from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania absconded to prevent its passage. Some were found in a tavern and dragged back to cast a vote. It's been done at least four times in Wisconsin alone, not to speak of the U.S. Senate.

It looks like Illinois is back playing a role in fighting this assault on the unions. Two of Illinois finest political leaders have come out four square in support of the unions: President Obama and our great Senator Dick Durbin. As former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said: "No one should take away collective bargaining rights; those are rights that built our middle class, and they should be sacrosanct." As Governor Rendell noted, Walker never campaigned on destroying collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin. Polls show the people of Wisconsin are against it. And — surprise surprise: WALKER IS A GODDAMNED LIAR!

Good on the Wisconsin Democrats for preventing a vote on the bill that Governor Walker rammed through without due consideration or consultation with the unions, slowing this process down until the people of Wisconsin have had more time to consider it. The union has already agreed to the financial concessions on salary, health care and pensions the Governor thinks necessary (although they are not, it's a false crisis) to balance the budget. It's about retaining their workers' right to collectively bargain over working conditions, a whole host of issues including classroom sizes, overtime, vacation, hiring and firing. Basic worker rights that have historically been jointly negotiated — hence collective bargaining. Andy Stern explains this fascist (let's call it for what it is) power grab.

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