By Patrick J. Buchanan
The anti-democratic methods President Obama’s union allies are using in Wisconsin testify to the crucial character of the battle being fought.
Teachers have walked off in wildcat strikes, taking pupils with them. Doctors have issued lying affidavits saying the teachers were sick, a good example of ethical conduct for the school kids.
Thousands of demonstrators have daily invaded the Capitol, chanting, hooting, banging drums. Hundreds have camped out there and refused to leave so the Capitol building can be cleaned.
Is this democracy in action? Is this what 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green went out to see that Saturday morning in Tucson?
Picketers have carried placards with the face of Gov. Scott Walker in the cross hairs of a gun sight. He has been compared to Hitler, Mussolini, Mubarak. Democrats have fled the state to deny the elected Wisconsin Senate a quorum to vote.
Such tactics cannot be allowed to triumph in a republic.
Why is the left behaving with desperation? Because it senses what this battle is all about. Not just about pay, but about power.
The Republicans are not only resolved to guarantee government workers pay a fair share of the cost of their pensions and health care. They are in a purposeful drive to disarm and demobilize the tax-subsidized armies of the Democratic Party and end sweetheart deals between unions and the poodle politicians they put into office.
“Walker wants to end collective bargaining,” is the wail.
Actually, what the governor wants to end is the scandalous practice of powerful unions raising millions and running phone banks and get-out-the-vote operations for politicians who thank them with wages, benefits and job security no private employer can match.
Since the 1960s, government unions have been able to sit behind closed doors with the politicians they put in office and write contracts, the cost of which is borne by taxpayers who have no one at the table.
They call this collective bargaining. A more accurate term is collusive bargaining. And Walker means put an end to the racket.
When Ford sits down with the UAW, Ford negotiators represent the executives, directors and shareholders. Should they give away the store and Ford have to raise prices, and be undercut by Honda, all Ford workers, shareholders and executives suffer.
This is a healthy adversary procedure where Ford and the UAW each represents the interests of those who sent them, and both share a stake in keeping Ford prosperous.
When government unions sit down with the politicians they put into office, the relationship is not adversarial. It is not healthy. It is incestuous. And taxpayers must pay the cost of their cohabitation.
Gov. Walker also seeks to end the practice of having the state government collect union dues from state workers.
Indeed, why should a Republican administration collect dues for the benefit of union bosses who constantly labor to see to it those Republicans are not re-elected? Let the unions collect their own dues.
Walker would also require public service employee unions to hold annual elections by secret ballot to determine if state workers want the union to represent them, or if they would prefer to have their deducted union dues put back in their paychecks.
Legislators submit to voters every two years.
Why ought not unions to do the same?
In Wisconsin, the die is cast and Walker cannot yield.
For if he yields, the state and its 3,000 cities, counties, towns and school districts will be forever at the mercy of these unions.
If he yields, it will be a triumph for the tactics of intimidation, wildcat strikes and mass demonstrations to block legislative action.
The senators who fled will come home heroes, and Walker will have broken the hearts of the people who put their faith in him.
If Walker yields, governors and legislators across America will read the tea leaves and back away from taking on government unions. That means higher and higher taxes, as in Illinois, and eventual sinking of the states into unpayable debt and default.
The correlation of forces is in Walker’s favor. Time is on his side. When you are holding a winning hand, you do not offer to split the pot.
After his opponents invaded the Capitol, called him Hitler, fled the state, and tried to shout down and shut down the legislature with raucous demonstrations, what other cards do they have left to play?
Walker has recalled Ronald Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers as an example of how a strong leader must stand up even to a popular union when it is wrong.
There is an earlier example. When the Boston police went on strike and criminals ran amuck, and Sam Gompers came to the defense of the cops, Gov. Calvin Coolidge sent a telegram to that founding father of the American labor movement, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”
Scott Walker cannot lose this fight, because his country cannot afford to have him lose it.