They Shoot Deserters, Don’t They?

Erica HollowayErica Holloway 11 Comments


Not satisfied with holding the Legislature hostage, union leaders in Wisconsin now seem bent on calling for a general strike.

I’d point out the history of striking against the public, which is illegal, and how it never bodes well for the union. But this article from The New American does the heavy lifting for me.

Writing in Liberation, the official newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, union organizer Jeff Bigelow also urged a general strike. “Waiting for an electoral solution could deplete the energy of this new movement,” he said. “We need tactics that escalate pressure now. The most reasonable tactic, one that would resonate with a lot of people and contains the seeds of victory, is the general strike.”

And “electoral solution?” The public voted just four short months ago to oust those same “solutions” and somehow, the point eludes these agitators. More to the point, Wisconsin voters selected Governor Scott Walker and the Republican majority due to their promises to balance the budget and address issues, such as collective bargaining.

Yet somehow, its all been a big surprise.

It’s not just folks in Wisconsin who support Governor Walker. Rasmussen’s recent poll found that nearly 50 percent of Americans back this gutsy cheesehead.

“The outcome of an illegal strike is likely to be mass firings, combined with immediate decertification of the unions themselves, at least after a short period of time to reconsider,” predicted conservative blogger Ed Morrisey in a piece for HotAir. “Walker will eventually have to follow Ronald Reagan’s example with PATCO [Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization] to establish firmly that the people of Wisconsin, through their elected representatives, run the state of Wisconsin — and not union bosses or Barack Obama’s political organization.”

Mass firings in the face of general strikes by President Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge before him resulted in higher public approval ratings for both figures. That’s just as well for Walker.

The “electoral solution” of 2012 might look a lot like 2010, only sweeter.

– Follow me @erica_holloway.


Comments 11

  1. Erica,

    A few of questions about comments in your post:

    1. “Wisconsin voters selected Governor Scott Walker and the Republican majority due to their promises to balance the budget and address issues, such as collective bargaining.”

    Did the Scott Walker ever mention that he would try to eliminate collective bargaining while he was campaigning? I cannot find any direct quotes on the topic.

    2. “…nearly 50 percent of Americans back this gutsy cheesehead. ”

    Isn’t “nearly 50%” less than a majority?

    3. “Mass firings by Reagan and before him by Calvin Coolidge resulted in higher public approval ratings for both figures.”

    Didn’t Coolidge’s term end with the Great Depression?

  2. I’m sure Ms. Holloway will answer Alger, but I’m perplexed by question 3. Unless, of course, Alger is buying into the oft-repeated but non-factual pap that Coolidge caused the Great Depression because he was a conservative. He didn’t run in 1928, by choice, saying 10 years in Washington was enough for anyone (he had been VP as well), and left office in March 1929 with a high approval rating. The Great Depression is historically known as starting in September 1929 with a drop in the stock market, followed by the Black Friday crash of October 29, 1929. A good read about the reasons:

  3. Greg,

    Fair enough point.

    I guess I was just tapping into the oft-repeated theory that the outgoing President still owns at least the next few years. You probably have heard that Clinton was responsible for 9-11 even though he left office almost 8 months before the attack. On the other hand, Clinton gets no credit for the strong stock market returns during his Presidency – Those are credited to the policies previously put in place by Reagan and Bush, Sr. Likewise, Obama should take no credit for the major upswing in the stock market during his first two years. The only exception I can find is that Obama clearly deserves all the blame for the current high unemployment.

  4. Alger:

    1- The Union’s hit piece on Walker warned voters that he would reform collective bargaining. See Lindsey Graham with a piece on Meet the Press:

    2 – 50% support of Walker is still greater than 38% support of the unions. The support of Walker matches up with the opposition to a general strike against the public.

    3 – Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts at the time of the general strike and mass firings of police officers. He was later elected vice president and then, president.

    Thanks for your questions.

    – Erica


    Well said, Ms. Holloway! One of the most-famous American Political quotes of the 20th Century came from then-Gov. Calvin Coolidge, regarding that public employee strike:

    ** “There is no right to strike against the Public Safety.” **

    This made him a national figure, leading directly to a genuine draft movement to make him VP at the 1920 Republican National convention. The delegates did not like the VP candidate recommended by Presidential
    nominee Warren Harding. A single delegate at the back of the Hall began yelling, “Coolidge, Coolidge, Coolidge!”…… and the idea swept the floor. He was promptly nominated and then elected. Ralph G. Martin captures this colorful scene in his memoir of great US Conventions, “Ballots and Bandwagons.”

    And that’s the Way it Was…

  6. Erica,

    I know you can do better than that:

    1. A scare piece by the opposition is not the same as the candidate making a statement as to his intents. I therefore repeat “Did the Scott Walker ever mention that he would try to eliminate collective bargaining while he was campaigning?”

    2. I never said the unions were popular, they certainly have their own problems. I just pointed out that “nearly 50% is not a majority.” If you were quoting the Rasmussen poll the number, it was 48%. You also neglected to include that 60% are opposed to weakening collective bargaining rights – 60% is a majority.

    3. I misunderstood your point on Coolidge. Now that I understand, it is a point well taken. Of course, none of the public employees in Wisconsin have gone on stirke and I think you would have to admit that there would be a difference between non-safety workers and policemen striking, were it to come to that.

    Thank you for your previous response.

  7. Post

    Jim: Thank you. Coolidge chose his words wisely.


    1. NPR Story via Weekly Standard: Why So Surprised About Walker?

    2. Independent Voters Support Walker by 66%


    3. Public strikes still hold the public hostage for whatever service those sectors provide for the purpose for coercion.

    Thank you for the fun exchange.

    – Erica

  8. Erica,

    I always enjoy an intelligent exchange of ideas and your posts and replies certainly fit into that category.

    1. Your first link actually proves my point that then-candidate Walker never said he would eliminate collective bargaining. No one should be suprised about the wage and benefit cuts, but many other states and municipalities, including the City of San Diego, have done that without eliminating the workers’ ability to bargain as a unit.

    2. I am not sure who the Free Enterprise Nation is or whether their polling would be considered unbiased. My main point was more focused on the collective bargaining aspect and most (60%) think the Governor overreached on that point.

    3. The whole purpose of a strike (or lockout in the case of the NFL owners) is to gain leverage and get a better deal. It is, and it should be, for obvious reasons illegal for public safety employees to strike. I don’t see the same rationale for janitors or librarians.

    The last word is yours, if you want it.

  9. Post
  10. Well, I’ll say it…he is getting rid of unions because in this day and age unions do more harm then good! It is the perfect opportunity to get rid of them because they’ve helped bring Wisconsin government to its knees and the Republicans won the election! For the last two years Democrats have been smugly saying “elections have consequences” as they’ve ignored the right side of the aisle. Well…here is a consequence to losing the last election. The best part is the “recall” attempt against the WI Gov. Remember when Davis was recalled? Remember all the bellyaching that we heard from the left about how recalls are not the “American way” and how “democracy is dead”?

    To sum up…unions have grown greedy, counter-productive, and turned into a bunch of violent bullies. Most of the right would like them all to go the way of the Dodo.

    Why are we treading lightly on this? Just get rid of them and if you don’t like the deal you are getting from your boss you can go someplace else to work. And if enough people are unhappy with that boss, things will change or the business/department will suffer dearly. See how that works?

    I don’t care if he said he was going to do it before he got elected or not. He is there now…so do it! Thanks Gov Walker!

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