The thing about Republicans is that they never engage on the real issue. Unable to prevail if they would just tell people what they are doing or want to do, they craft their actions in intricate, strategic dodges that divert voters from their real intent. Once it is discovered what they are really up to, they hide behind chats with their pliant sycophants on talk radio and Fox News, where it looks like they are talking about things, but they really aren’t.
If dragged into a discussion with real journalists, which they avoid like the plague, they maintain extreme message discipline, staying on their poll-tested talking points until they get what they want or the storm passes. Then, it’s on to the next deceptive campaign of lies designed to achieve another goal that would never be accepted by the public if it was ever discussed out in the open.
In Washington, the party that ran up record deficits under Reagan and Junior Bush complains about debt not because they give a damn about debt, but to starve the beast and prevent a Democratic administration from doing anything that might help anyone other than their corporate handlers. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was framed as a war of necessity over WMDs, those hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and thousands of our own soldiers died and were maimed for the maniacal geopolitical schemes of Dick Cheney and the neocons and petty revenge for the perceived weakness of Bush Senior.
Through it all, Republicans refuse to discuss why they are really doing what they are doing. Given truth serum, they would admit that they do most of what they do because their strings are being pulled by wealthy corporations who have too much to lose from regulation, fair taxation and control on the pollution and poison spewing from their plants and products. The rest of what they do is simple nepotism, providing jobs for themselves and the sons and daughters of their contributors, propagating the herd to spawn the next generation of government functionaries whose only mission is to destroy government.
This sadly-effective Republican strategy is being played out with a vengeance in Wisconsin right now, as an out-of-control governor and legislature rapidly destroys state government on behalf of their corporate masters who have hired the GOP stooges to make sure they will never again be adequately taxed, regulated or sued.
Under the guise of job promotion, they ram through a decimation of the law of personal injury. The law creates not one job. But it does ensure that the deadly calculations used by soulless corporations for whom the injuries and death predictably caused by their products are just a cost of doing business are just that much easier to take. Reducing the available punitive damage awards to pocket change, Smithers? Exxcelllent…
Another “jobs” bill that allows the unchallenged destruction of a small wetlands area in Green Bay has nothing to do with jobs (especially after Bass Pro Shops said they wanted nothing to do with destroying the environment) and everything to do with paying off a wealthy contributor for his help during the campaign. The pending Photo ID bill has nothing to do with voter fraud that doesn’t exist and everything to do with suppressing the vote of thousands of legitimate voters in Democratic strongholds.
And so it is with the union-busting effort being rushed through the legislature this week under the by-now laughable pretense of a “budget repair bill”. I was talking to a Republican yesterday and asked him how he could justify the deliberate destruction of collective bargaining for state employees. “Well, the budget has to be fixed…” I stopped him mid-talking point. It’s not about the budget and you know it, I said. If you want to bust the unions, why don’t you just come out and say it and we can fight through that discussion on the merits? So he came out and said, sure, union-busting is just fine with him. So there we have it. I won’t say who it is – I wouldn’t want him drummed out of his Republican circles for telling the truth.
Scott Walker would have lost the election if he would have described his radical intentions for the destruction of state government. If he came out during the campaign and presented the union-busting language of the bill, which – no doubt, was drafted and fully-formed by the WMC before the election – Walker would have been defeated not only by an energized union movement, but by moderate and independent voters who do not want to see such a radial change in the public employer-employee dynamic.
But, instead of being honest about his intentions, he hid behind vague notions of fiscal responsibility and job creation through the magical private sector. He and his corporate handlers knew his plans and those of the drooling Neanderthals in the legislature should they get their hands on the government they seek to destroy. This was their plan all along. That’s why Republicans in the legislature this week are hiding in their offices, ignoring the impassioned e-mails of their constituents, turning off their phones and sitting mutely at the pro-forma Joint Finance Committee hearing, like Clarence Thomas at Supreme Court arguments. If they engage, they lose, and they know it. They are waiting for the storm to pass so they can rubber-stamp the bill and move on to the next outrage they didn’t tell us about.
Of course, it would help if the few remaining local media outlets that employ real journalists would dig through the bullshit – it’s not that hard to figure out – and broadcast what is actually going on. Instead, we get the Journal Sentinel, praising Walker for picking “the right fight” as a move toward “fiscal integrity”. They offer mild criticism of moves that only “smack” of union busting rather than the real thing. They let charter members of the local Republican echo chamber like Patrick McIlheran and Rick Esenberg, blather on about how great Walker’s union-busting moves are, while progressives are stuck with the mealy-mouthed O. Ricardo Pimentel, whose one-the-one-hand-then-the other equivocation and I’m-sure-they-mean-well disposition does nothing to counter the GOP message discipline of the paper’s omnipresent right-wing columnists.
No, we’ll have to figure it out on our own, as the Republican jihad continues. I guess I’ll just have to, as a major local politician encouraged me on my voice-mail yesterday, keep writing.