One of the supposed intellectual stalwarts of the right-wing cabal currently trying to dismantle honest government in Wisconsin is calling out Ed Garvey for guessing that the usual suspects already have or will soon pour up to $6 million into Justice David Prosser’s effort to hold on to his WMC-friendly seat on the Supreme Court.
“Fighting Ed Garvey falsely stated that WMC had given six million dollars to Justice Prosser's campaign and ‘bought’ him,” harrumphs Rick Esenberg, Marquette law professor and part of the legal brain trust that brought us Assembly flash-votes in the middle of the night, frivolous lawsuits in Oconto County, arrest warrants going out for political opponents, an illegal conference committee (the Senate never passed anything for the Assembly to “disagree” with) with illegally short notice, a Senate meeting illegally, without the constitutionally-required quorum for a bill with obvious fiscal implications or 24-hour notice, and a rushed Assembly vote that was also without adequate public notice. All brilliant stuff that I look forward to Rick discussing at his next conference at Marquette, or, certainly, at his next regular confab with the WMC political action committee.
Esenberg first called Garvey out on March 12th, huffing, puffing, and demanding that he “substantiate” his claim that the primary non-talk-radio poisoners of the public well in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Manufacturer and Commerce, “put about $6 million into his [Prosser’s] campaign”. Apparently not satisfied with Garvey either ignoring him or providing insufficient support for his statement, Esenberg returned to needle Garvey again on March 14th, headlining that “Being Garvey Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry”.
Well, a million off here or there – what’s the difference? The thing is that we don’t know how much Esenberg’s fellow travellers driving the hard-right agenda of the WMC spend in time, energy and money propping up the justices of the Supreme Court that they think (with good reason) they have in the bag. Due to Esenberg’s Federalist Society cohorts on the US Supremes and their infamous Citizens United opinion, anonymous corporate money is the most protected form of “speech” in history.
But, people in curved-glass buildings (have you seen the new Marquette law school palace?) shouldn’t throw stones. With all the sanctimony of someone wrapped in an academic and corporate cocoon, Esenberg pretends to be holier-than-Ed. “On this blog, if I get something wrong, I fix it,” he writes.
Well, not exactly.
In the midst of defending his indefensible support of the notion that politicians should go around arresting their political opponents for the totally legitimate and historically-validated tactic of quorum-busting on March 9th, Esenberg lit after me for having the temerity to suggest that might not be a good idea, much less legal. Accusing me of incivility and worse – I love it when people helping Scott Walker destroy the lives and careers of thousands of people get sensitive about being called out for their actions – Esenberg lurched, as he often does, onto a right-wing talking point he knows isn’t true. He said I was complaining about “restricting collective bargaining rights that don't exist for federal employees”.
This oft-repeated canard has been a favorite of those on talk radio, Fox News, and elsewhere where they know their audience doesn’t know any better. Their tactic is to repeat the Big Lie until it is believed. But I know – and Rick does too – that most federal employees enjoy the full range of rights to bargain hours and working conditions that are the essence of Walker’s union-busting bill and the protests against them. Federal employees do not bargain on wages and benefits, but they have very effective unions that bargain and enforce contracts that include crucial language on layoffs, transfers, hours, safety, overtime, working conditions, and all the other traditional bargaining subjects that were just so brutally ripped from under feet of the public employees in Wisconsin. To say that, because the union-busting bill allows whatever unions survive to bargain within a thin sliver of base pay, Wisconsin public employees maintain more collective bargaining rights than federal employees is an unfunny joke. UPDATE: And one that Scott Walker himself perpetuates in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Thursday.
Federal employee unions also, by the way, have their member dues deducted from their paychecks and don’t have to recertify themselves every year.
Noticing this and other things in his typically snooty post, I wrote a comment on it. Among other things, I asked him about the federal employee bargaining lie and why he would claim something he knew wasn’t true. In response [deleted bit about him deleting my comment -- he didn't, sorry, see update below] he told the same bald-faced lie in his next post, claiming that “most federal employees are sunject [sic] to similar restrictions”. Then he repeated the lie -- twice -- in this comment thread to the March 14th post. UPDATE 3/18/11: In a comment below and on his blog, Rick says he found my comment in his spam file. Not the first time I have been so classified.
It may be that Ed Garvey’s claim was inaccurate or just premature. But, if there is one person who shouldn’t be calling anyone out on accuracy, it is Rick Esenberg.