The importance of Michigan
December 20, 2012
We’ll confess to reacting less than optimistically to November commentaries saying Republican governors would hold back the Obama agenda. That skepticism makes the recent political earthquake in Michigan all the more impressive.
Ponder the enactment of a right-to-work law there, of all places.
Michigan spawned the public employee unionization that’s eaten away state and municipal solvency nationwide. Morris Andrews came from there more than half a century ago, built the Wisconsin Education Association Council on the United Auto Workers industrial union model, and turned feeble Wisconsin teacher unions into the 800-pound gorilla of state politics.
Wisconsinites are uniquely qualified to evaluate certain aspects of the developments in Michigan. TV audiences nationwide saw the turmoil there, while Wisconsin viewers saw a noxious but conspicuously thin replay of the events here in early 2011.
The most striking aspect of video shot last Tuesday in the Michigan Capitol? Half the rotunda floor was visible. The same shot in the Wisconsin Capitol would have shown no floor, but thousands of union protesters packed together in a solid mass.
Concede that this all happened over a few days instead of a couple of months, and it remains amazing that bigger crowds didn’t assemble in the cradle of forced unionism.
Wisconsin state AFL-CIO president Phil Neuenfeldt partook in the Michigan protests and complained about the rapid process on Sunday morning television, saying, “If it’s good public policy you shouldn’t be afraid to have a discussion with your constituents.” Fair enough. Here’s the “discussion.”
Chances are the next step is a union lawsuit, and we’ll see if the Michigan courts are as intellectually dishonest as those in Dane County, where almost any judge is willing to say the Legislature doesn’t get to make the laws.