Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ann Coulter's (not so) Brilliant Take on Wisconsin, NPR

A couple of videos of an interview between Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are on titled as  Coulter's Brilliant Take on Wisconsin, NPR.

Coulter asks, "Where has Scott Walker been?", then goes off lambasting Walker's actions and the fact that she hadn't seen him on TV in two weeks and apparently she was upset because he wasn't on the night before the interview gloating over his victory in getting the bill passed.

"A little harsh", Hannity says at the end and "You're making a mountain out of a molehill here"?  That was an understatement. 

Yes, it was over the top.  In actuality there is little difference between Coulter's harsh words against Walker and those of the demonstrators in the capitol and the streets of Madison.

Scott Walker exhibited something throughout this ordeal which eluded Coulter in this particular interview - Class.

Now I like Coulter and agree with many of her ideas, but contrary to her opinion here, Scott Walker did just fine by keeping the rhetoric down and his public exposure to a minimum.  When he did appear to clarify his position, he was composed and provided well thought out and rational reasoning for his decisions.  Several examples can be seen on Wisconsin Public Television and The Daily Caller.  So why complain he kept a low profile after the vote?  What more does she want?  Him to gloat like Nancy Pelosi?

Obama appealed to the nation after the Gabriel Gifford shooting for the political rhetoric to be toned down.  Not to say that Walker had that in mind and was specifically heeding that request when speaking publicly or that he even needed to change his normal demeanor, but he is one of the very few across the entire country who appear to be actually practicing it.  Obama sure didn't do it himself when he immediately took to the airwaves to state Walker's budget bill "seems like more of an assault on unions" to interject his opinion into a state matter and give unions the green light to unleash the dogs.  While Obama's comments appear calm and collected, this is what the union people saw it as meaning when he promised SEIU to help "paint the nation purple".

Unions sure didn't tone it down with their calls for nation-wide demonstrations with the accompanying threats, vandalism, and thug tactics.  However, it's important to note that some teachers may have not joined the protests because they may disagree with the concept of forced union membership and the tactics the union used to bring in out of state union people to make the uproar seem bigger than it really was.  Lest we forget or haven't yet seen what happened in the worker vote in California during the bitter union fight between SEIU and NUHW, thuggery seems to be their normal mode of operations.

It's a shame we rarely see the type of restraint Walker exhibited anymore.  Another good example was when we saw Ron Paul aptly tell all his critics who thought they had him in a 'gotcha' moment during the 2008 campaign when they made a big deal about him accepting a donation from a white supremecist.  He said it seemed like everyone was making too big a deal out of it and asked why should he give the money back to let him spread more hate with it instead of keeping it to put it to good use spreading message of freedom?  No ranting or raving.  The furor soon died down and the trolls went away.  What else could have happened in the face of such logic?

Like Paul, Walker spoke his piece as to the reasoning behind his actions and got his message out.

Then the unions went nuts with all sorts of crazy allegations, hyperbole, and outright lies. 

  • Walker's bill did not "strip public sector employees of collective bargaining" and his actions were not "union-busting".  He simply curtailed their use of all-inclusive collective bargaining and he wasn't even trying to take the employee's right to organize away.  
  • The unions and teachers in the streets were not "what democracy looks like" as they claimed.  It was a temper tantrum and pure playground bullying and has no place in a civilized society. 
  • The comparisons to equate that these public employees' rights were being trampled by Walker similar to those of citizens in Egypt or Tunisia is such a far-flung hyperbole between totally disparate situations. 
The unions' actions and the protesters' vociferous indignation brought discredit upon themselves just as Coulter's words do for her.  So all that huge uproar did was prove to the world why Walker was right that collective bargaining for the public sector unions in Wisconsin over certain terms and conditions of employment needed to be curtailed.

He didn't need to constantly respond in kind to each new twist of their spin.  When you're right, the truth helps to speak for itself and you don't need to be on TV every night or out there in the streets with megaphones and political grand standing to defend yourself  from the myriad of baseless claims such as those thrown at him by the unions and the run-away Democratic legislators.

That need to limit unions choke-hold on the government was especially glaring in the way some of the teachers publicly showed they would accept fake doctors' notes to 'legally' take off work to demonstrate and still get paid for it.  That fraud showed that those specific individuals had no respect for the terms of their contracts and that they did so with union official complicity in breaking the rules of the contract.  Would any parent want people who would so readily participate in such fraud teaching their children after seeing that?  I don't understand how any of the teachers could think that openly committing fraud to illegally participate in a protest for all of us to see would buy them any sympathy.

Also contrary to Coulter's opinion when she said "you can't have unions for government workers", well, they do a lot more than just collective bargaining.  Supervisors in government workplaces can be just as malicious and unfair to employees as those in the private sector.  The unions play a very important role in assisting individual workers in addressing grievances and contract violations.

So, after the protests, what's next?  Well, what it all boils down to is that employees still have the right to organize, the unions still have every right to exist, so they won't be going away.  What Walker did do, however, was to limit their legal ability to use of collective bargaining for at least some aspects of the conditions of employment and pensions.  But, more importantly, he empowered employees by giving them back their right to decide for themselves whether they wanted to voluntarily donate their union dues instead of the state collecting it from paychecks for the union.  Thus, instead of the state doing the extra work, the union will have to hire more people to collect and process dues payments (you might even say Walker "created" jobs with that action) and they'd have that much less money to influence elections

Walker obviously knew where the root causes of the problems were within the process that were put into place by less experienced and less intuitive people before him and he proposed reasonable solutions to correct it.

Let's not forget that at least some of the teachers, especially the many good ones, have a right to be indignant over some of the gross generalizations thrown at them during this ordeal, and to be fair, that may have fueled some of the ferocity of the protests.  There are certainly many, many more good teachers out there than there are bad ones.  However, those good teachers do need to understand that is part of the price of collective bargaining.  You band together with other people whose ethical and moral value systems may differ significantly from your own then you'll get painted as such by the association.  But sadly, many of those have been forced to join the unions and co-opted to accept coworkers who just can't cut it while the unions protect them which diminishes the strength of the organization.  When you allow such corruption into your midst, it's too bad but you get the stink all over yourselves.  It's no different than good cops protecting bad cops with the blue wall of silence.  So you must make your decisions to organize carefully, and afterwards, strive diligently to weed out the corruptive practices.

So what did we all learn here, if anything?  Well, there is certainly no need to break the union or take away workers' rights to organize, but maybe it's time to break it's stronghold over the labor supply monopoly by giving private industry a chance to fix the problems inherent of a sole supplier system by bringing in competition.  Bring on the charter schools.  Either that, or give the teachers the 'democracy' they so courageously put their lives and their collective honor on the line for by shouting for it in the streets and let the taxpayers get to vote on their contracts.  It's only fair that they get a say in how their money is spent.

The fallout from the spectical in Madison will be felt for years to come and I have to think that Walker's actions served him well, while those of the union exhibiting their traditional childish temper tantrum like tactics and outright bullying will bring about the unintended consequence of what really weakens them.

Let's hope it swings the pendulum towards more open, honest, and intellectual debates between labor and management rather than screaming in the streets.

As for Coulter's take on NPR...

If you agree with Paul's reasoning for accepting the white supremecist's donation, then there's also nothing wrong with NPR accepting Muslim Brotherhood (MB) donations for exactly the same reasoning, as long as they don't let it influence their reporting  and it was reported in accordance with the law.  If NPR believes it has integrity, good moral ethical values, and that it's doing good things with real balanced reporting, then that ensures, at least in their opinion, that the money will be used for good things rather than some of the bad things folks can imagine the MB could spend that money on.

Schiller is also entitled to his personal opinions about the Tea Party, however wrong they may be, without risk of losing his job as long as NPR isn't putting them out on air without giving the Tea Party equal time to respond to his baseless allegations.  But he did have to answer to management for voicing such opinions to a prospective donor.  He's as entitled to that as much as Juan Williams is and well...  we all know what NPR thinks of that.

And then there's Liley, who went through extraordinary lengths during the vetting process to tell the phony donors that they might be able to accept the donation as anonymous and keep the source hidden from the governmnet and she bent over backwards to find out for them, but that only showed her ignorance of the laws and the vetting process, probably because she was fairly new at that job.  It would have or at least should have come to nothing in the vetting process.

As John Stewart showed on The Daily Show, NPR's subseqent actions were the real the meat of the whole story.  To cut and run as fast as they did showed how much or how little integrity and fortitude their leadership had in defending their people and their ideology.  The red-faced intellectual elites at NPR acted like they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar instead of just doing the normal everyday business of fund raising, and they were practically speechless.  If you can't take the heat....  Good riddance.

NPR scrambled in light of these 'scandals' and despite all their intentions to prove they were really fair and balanced, it seems they fell victim to the unintended consequence of raising all the more doubt.


  1. There are times I just want to smack Ann Coulter. Much of it is shtick am I sure. I went to a lecture that she gave, and it was an invite only thing of young republican women. I was one of the few that was not still in college. It was totally different than what I expected. So I think much of her talking points is a way to garner attention.

  2. Yeah, she does seem to thrive on attention. Her antics there obviously irked me enough that I felt the need to blather on about it at length. Normally, I could care less, but she really did Walker a disservice and it was quite distasteful.

    I must have watched that clip at least 30 times and I can't figure out what her problem is with him. It appears she wanted him to act as confrontational as the other side or like she often is, which would have only been to his detriment.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and for the comment.