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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Playing with fire

Mitt Romney's not-so-smooth march to the nomination has prompted the candidate to bite the hand that feeds.

Romney is doubling down on his Michigan gamble, not only defending his criticism of the Bush-initiated GM and Chrysler bailout, but also charging the Hard Right's new favorite, Rick Santorum, is squishier on unions than he is.
“I’ve taken on union bosses before, and I’m happy to take them on again because I happen to believe that you can protect the interests of American taxpayers, and you can protect a great industry like automobiles without having to give in to the UAW [United Auto Workers], and I sure won’t,’’ Romney said Wednesday.
Well at least he's showing his dad's business some real love instead of the usual mish-mash of opinions he generates toward the auto industry.

But the slam against unions, whose concessions were an integral part of the restructuring, risks antagonizing a key Republican constituency. That's right, union members.

Exit polls from 2008 show John McCain took almost 40 percent of the union vote. And does anyone remember where the concept of Reagan Democrats comes from? And surely we can't forget the image of Joe the Plumber?

The white, working class has been drifting right since the days of Richard Nixon and the hard hats. If anything, Barack Obama understated their desire to cling to unions as well as guns and religion.

And we need to look no farther than Wisconsin and Ohio to see the line in the sand. Union members turned out in force to try to derail Republican governors Scott Walker and John Kasich's moves to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public unions.

In his usual both sides of the fence straddle, Romney ignores his own 2002 gubernatorial campaign promise to push for annual increases in the minimum wage, tied to the cost of inflation. And like so many Republicans before him, he has courted and won the support of police unions, which traditionally lean right.

Romney is engaging in some sort of strange calculus that opposition to the core industry in Michigan and the men and women who make it run, is somehow a winning strategy in both the primary and the general election. And Democrats are more than happy to let him go on his merry way:
"We don’t want to sabotage their primary,’’ said Albert Garrett, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We think whoever they select won’t be good for workers in Michigan.’’
Somewhere in Chicago, David Axelrod is smiling.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey did you see that GM (still partially owned by us the taxpayers) had a great profit and now we're giving the union employees a $4,000 bonus? What a country.

February 17, 2012 6:32 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

They are giving everyone in the company a profit sharing bonus, not just the union workers. Does this mean you are also against the banks giving out their million dollar bonus after taking billions from the government and never paying a single cent back?

February 17, 2012 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

The T is a mess with its finances, but if we want a service then we need to pay for it. The T needs to clean itself up and then we can talk about raising fares if there are no other solutions. Why are the only two things being discussed are cuts and raising fares? There are plenty of ideas out there that can help.

February 17, 2012 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian - yes.

February 17, 2012 11:53 AM  

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