As a large and furious demonstration was under way outside and inside the Capitol in Madison last week, Barack Obama invited in a TV camera crew from Milwaukee and proceeded to fan the flames.
Dropping the mask of The Great Compromiser, Obama reverted to his role as South Chicago community organizer, charging Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature with an “assault on unions.”
As the late Saul Alinsky admonished in his “Rules for Radicals,” “the community organizer … must first rub raw the resentments of the people; fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression.”
After Obama goaded the demonstrators, the protests swelled. All 14 Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to paralyze the upper chamber by denying it a quorum. Teachers went on strike, left kids in the classroom and came to Madison. Schools shut down.
Jesse Jackson arrived. The White House political machine went into overdrive to sustain the crowds in Madison and other capitals and use street pressure to break governments seeking to peel back the pay, perks, privileges and power of public employee unions that are the taxpayer-subsidized armies of the Democratic Party.
Marin County millionairess Nancy Pelosi, doing a poor imitation of Emma Goldman, announced, “I stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights, especially for all the students and young people leading the charge.”
Is this not the same lady who called Tea Partiers “un-American” for “drowning out opposing views”? Is not drowning out opposing views exactly what those scores of thousands are doing in Madison, banging drums inside the state Capitol?
Some carried signs comparing Walker to Hitler, Mussolini and Mubarak. One had a placard with the face of Walker in the cross hairs of a rifle sight. Major media seemed uninterested. These signs didn’t comport with their script.
In related street action, protesters, outraged over Congress’ oversight of the D.C. budget, showed up at John Boehner’s residence on Capitol Hill to abuse the speaker at his home.
And so the great battle of this generation is engaged.
Between now and 2013, the states are facing a total budget shortfall of $175 billion. To solve it, they are taking separate paths.
Illinois voted to raise taxes by two-thirds and borrow $12 billion more, $8.5 billion of it to pay overdue bills. The Republican minority fought this approach, but was outvoted and accepted defeat.
Wisconsin, however, where Republicans captured both houses and the governor’s office in November, and which is facing a deficit of $3.6 billion over the next two years, has chosen to cut spending.
Walker and the legislature want to require state employees, except police, firemen and troopers, to contribute half of their future pension benefits and up to 12.6 percent of health care premiums.
Wisconsin state workers and teachers enjoy the most generous benefits of state employees anywhere in America. According to the MacIver Institute, the average teacher in the Milwaukee public schools earns $100,000 a year — $56,000 in pay, $44,000 in benefits — and enjoys job security.
More controversially, Walker would end collective bargaining for benefits while retaining it for salaries and wage hikes up to annual inflation. This would ease the burden on local governments and school districts faced with the same budget crisis but less able to stand up to large and powerful government unions.
Other new governors like John Kasich of Ohio are looking at the Wisconsin approach to save their states from bankruptcy. They, too, are now facing massive street protests instigated by Obama and orchestrated by his agents operating out of the DNC.
The Battle of Madison, where Obama, Pelosi, the AFL-CIO, Jackson, the teachers unions and the Alinskyite left are refusing to accept the results of the 2010 election and taking to the streets to break state governments, is shaping up as the first engagement in the Battle for America. What will be decided?
Can the states, with new governments elected by the people, roll back government to prevent a default? Or will the states be forced by street protests, work stoppages by legislators, and strikes by state employees and teachers to betray the people who elected them? Will they be forced to raise taxes ad infinitum to feed the government’s insatiable appetite for tax dollars?
In short, does democracy work anymore in America?
What Obama has done will come back to haunt him. He has encouraged if not incited an angry and alienated left that lost the country in a free election to overturn the results of that election by street protests and invasions of state capitols.
As the huge antiwar demonstrations in the 1960s broke the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and sought to break the presidency of Richard Nixon, Obama and his cohorts are out to break Wisconsin.
One hopes the people of Wisconsin will stand up to this extortion being carried on with the blessing of their own president.