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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

Walker must win hands down

Question: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin continues to demand an end to collective bargaining rights for state employees even after winning their agreement on the benefit reductions he sought. These are the same state employees he must rely on to operate state government and implement his policies. How should he strike the balance between the urgent need to restore the state's fiscal health and his longer-term challenge of leading a large governmental enterprise?

Nothing Governor Walker can do will cause rank and file union members to implement his taxpayer-oriented policies. In fact, if government-employee union members can sabotage the policies of elected officials, that fact is an indictment of civil service rules not at issue in Wisconsin or anywhere else, and it calls for giving elected governors the right to appoint more high-level officials exempt from civil service.

Governor Walker must either win this confrontation hands down or see his four-year term utterly wasted. I believe that he sees that and will win. As a victor, he can be magnanimous and offer concessions from strength; as a loser, he can't.

By Slade Gorton

 |  February 28, 2011; 6:34 PM ET
Category:  Economic crisis , Government leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Unions, the government's low-hanging fruit | Next: Don't sabotage your own strategy

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Gordon thinks 4 years of Walker's union busting is something "That would be outstanding". He writes nonsense about high level officials forced to be in unions, ending collective bargaining, and a take no prisoners approach for Walker to be successful. High level officials need not be in civil service unions. Ending collective bargaining is not unconstitutionally violating freedom of assembly (non dues payers forced to be allowed in unions and vote for labor reps), not forcing an assembly to vote every year on whether to disband, instead of ending binding arbitration. Success is not taking budget concessions from unions, not exempting those that endorsed you, not taking the same pension and health care hits as lower compensation workers, not giving away 100 million immediately, giving another 50 million to Koch bros. energy companies, not allowing localities to make up state shortfalls by his draconian 900 million cut to education. He lies about the budget shortfall being 3.4 billion (2.2 per Milwaukee Journal Sentinel truth checker), has 75 million left over from an 85 million job creation program he inherited giving more breaks as if it would help, and looked like the grifter T-bag on the TV show "Prison Break" licking his lips playing the public presenting his budget. The conservatives on "Morning Joe" thought him shallow achieving the budget cuts not taking them, Ryan would not endorse his plan, only 4 other GOP governors support him on his web site, and a petition is halfway there for his removal with people sick over his punked answers (like trouble making plants), his ignorant Nat'l Guard threat, his stupid 14 must pick up checks (over $150,000 in a fund collected to keep them away) and his disdain for assembly to petition the gov't.

Posted by: jameschirico | March 6, 2011 1:57 AM
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Taking away collective bargaining rights from state/federal workers unions strikes me as un-Constitutional.

The rights to 1) free association and 2) petition the government, when added together, equals unions.

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Poppycock. Neither right is threatened here. No one is saying that these workers cannot petition the government or freely associate. What is being called into question is whether the state should let labor unions act as defacto permanent labor monopolies to the degree they have been allowed to in the past.

Think about it. Imagine that a company that provided the state of Wisconsin all of its paper was treated the same way a labor union is treated. At the end of the contract the paper company announces that paper prices are going up 20%. The state may refuse to sign the new contract, but until some sort of contract is signed with the paper company in question, the state is not allowed to buy any paper at all.

Labor unions are simply government imposed and protected labor monopolies. There is no constitutional right to have a monopoly as well over a century of anti-trust laws have proven time and again. Their presence in government produces higher costs and lower quality to the taxpayer, which is the true outrage.

Posted by: robert17 | March 4, 2011 6:24 PM
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You know far guys like this on the far right are going to lie about this?

Fox News did a piece on supposed violence in Madison and showed what they said was tape of the violence. Only the tape had palm trees in it.

This fellow is just another liar who knows the truth cannot justify what he is saying.

Posted by: colonelpanic | March 3, 2011 7:34 PM

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A remarkably stupid post when you consider that the Gordon seems to be merely stating his opinions, not purporting to introduce any facts at all. But what can one expect from a "truther"? Not logic, that's for sure.

Posted by: robert17 | March 4, 2011 6:08 PM
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You know far guys like this on the far right are going to lie about this?

Fox News did a piece on supposed violence in Madison and showed what they said was tape of the violence. Only the tape had palm trees in it.

This fellow is just another liar who knows the truth cannot justify what he is saying.

Posted by: colonelpanic | March 3, 2011 7:34 PM
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Taking away collective bargaining rights from state/federal workers unions strikes me as un-Constitutional.

The rights to 1) free association and 2) petition the government, when added together, equals unions.

Posted by: pagun | March 3, 2011 6:37 PM
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Mr. Gorton's comments are rather surreal. The not too veiled implication by Gov. Walker is localities need to be able to unilaterally cut public employees pay and benefits. Part of the need for this is his tax cuts. I know of no place in this country where teachers are considered overpaid and most don't take home anywhere near as much as other professionals with similar education and experience.

Good leadership calls for management to work with labor to reduce costs. But lets be real; this is not good leadership.

Tax cuts for the wealthy funded on the backs of teachers. At least that is a clear issue for voters to consider.

Posted by: bill16 | March 3, 2011 12:53 PM
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Serving on the 9/11 commission is no testament to honesty; far from it.

By ignoring that the workers have given concessions Mr. Gordon continues his legacy of dishonesty.

Posted by: colonelpanic | March 2, 2011 8:26 PM
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"My way or the Highway!"

"I'm the Decider!"

I had hoped those slogans would have been retired when Mr. Bush left in 2009.

Now we turn over a flat rock in Wisconsin and they resurface.

Posted by: shadowmagician | March 2, 2011 6:56 PM
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They already agreed to his demands. Its one thing to post an opinion and its a whole nother thing to LIE.

Posted by: rc95959 | March 1, 2011 3:04 PM
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Should of NEVER let 'public'workers unionize.This isn't about fairness,it's about these over paid and over benefited Union workers that don't want the taxpayers golden eggs to stop rolling to them.Problem is, these incredibly greedy Unions(along with the cradle to the grave Democrats} are killing the goose that lays them. And they have a NERVE to say Tea party protest are bad and ugly."for the times they ARE a changing".....And thank you Gov Walker!!!!!!!

Posted by: votingrevolution1 | March 1, 2011 1:08 PM
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Governor Walker has little credibility with his constituents when he takes a supposed call from a billionaire backer (the infamous Koch prank call) and will not even talk to his constituents, their representatives and not even return calls from the Mayor of Madison who has been trying to have a meeting with him since Walker's election! The fact he will not even negotiate or debate the bill and says that he will not budge is incredible. Why not have a public forum for open debate...unless you really don't want it exposed for what it is. A flawed bill with substantial misdirected elements, including the potential giveaway of State-owned energy plants to whomever the Gov wants, for whatever reason, and for any cost "without competition"! Look up the definition of cronyism and corruption in the dictionary. Morally and ethically bankrupt.

Posted by: Concerned73 | March 1, 2011 12:40 PM
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Walker, in his bid to destroy unions and thus, organized political support for his opponents (Democrats, in most instances) has shown a lack of intellect and honesty. This digging in of is heels, is the mark of an ignorant person. Someone who has some intelligence would see that this game of brinkmanship is going nowhere and the people of Wisconsin do not like his position on collective bargaining (CB). Time for Walker to give up the Right-wing dream of union destruction and see that his best bet is to compromise and allow CB for all unions, not just the cops and firefighters(his funding buddies, but no longer his policy supporters). Wisconsin deserves an adult in the Governors office, not a petulant man-child.

Posted by: bruce19 | March 1, 2011 12:30 PM
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Thank you Gov. Walker. You have done what the entire 2010 campaign couldn't do: give progressives & Democrats and emotional basis from which to defend the middle class, women, and poor. When Obama wins a resounding 2012 victory and the Dems take back the House, we will remember Gov. Walker as the right-wing stooge who made it all possible. Someone needed to fire up the middle/left, and Walker did it.

Posted by: cougartonyusa | March 1, 2011 11:19 AM
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The whole thing smells of corruption and machine politics. Unions that supported him are ignored; unions that opposed him are crushed. Corporate donors are rewarded with taxbreaks. An anti-health care ideologue is given unchecked control over the state's health care legislation.

This isn't 'leadership', and it certainly isn't going to save taxpayers any money. When has corruption and unchecked political power ever saved taxpayers money?

Let's be realistic. His 4-year term is utterly wasted.

Posted by: msw13 | March 1, 2011 11:16 AM
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"Shared Sacrifice" means cutting pay for teachers, firegihters, police, garbage pickers etc and tax break to the millionaires. At least that is the definition in Walker and his Tea party supportors' dictionary I suppose. I can't understand how the 21st century america can even be having this conversation. we went through this fight 50 years ago and decided that unions give some power to the workers against the tyranny of the companies they work for. Bargaining for cuts that the time demands is justifiable but disallowing the right of a bargain is inhuman.

Posted by: shrestbin | March 1, 2011 11:03 AM
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it is always nice to make a real life enemies on par with african despots, out of PUBLIC workers.

is america that bad off that govt leaders now attack their own employees?

Posted by: perryrants | March 1, 2011 10:46 AM
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Scott Walker is just a pawn in a Pinky and the Brain scheme. Yes, he has his own power trip (and likely greed) driving him, but, he is just a part of the plan. In order for Walker to get what he wants, he has to dump all over America. He had promises or "gratitude" to those who made this position possible for him (as always in politics). Taking all the strange and cruel things the Republicans have been doing into account, and what is going on in Wisconsin and around the red States, I think it is EASY to see what is happening.

I know those rich who support the Republicans at election time are now being paid back by the Republicans. Keep in mind, corporations sent millions of jobs over seas for greed. For lower wages. Remember all the debate about getting these corporations to bring the jobs back always ended in wages/expenses are to high. (Even though we know the BILLIONS many of these corporations pocketed.) On several occasions lately we heard from Republicans, EVEN AFTER PROMISES OF JOBS at election time.... Boehner, if we lose jobs "so be it" and others recently saying the same type comments which Rachel Maddow pointed out. Look at the TOTAL numbers of unemployed this will leave us with.

So, this is how the Republicans pay those who are responsible for putting them in office back. Lower wages and have ready and available employees, for the corporations to bring jobs back. You cannot lower wages without busting unions and changing the entire standard wage system. SO THEY ARE BUSTING THE UNIONS. One step at a time, the private sector will be next if they get this bill of Walker's through, they figured they could do it in every state, and they TRIED. They hit a few bumps in the road, but this plan is clear. Millions of unemployed people who are willing to do anything for work, and nothing to prevent these greedy corporations from paying the lower wages they had asked for all along.

Kill the jobs, lower wages, bring back business, and the rich have us right where they want us. Take it or leave it. Not enough income to keep up with the bills, lose more homes, hand them over to the rich, pay the rich rent, and.... lets not forget what the products are that these particular rich in the news (Koch) are selling.... ESSENTIAL ITEMS... gas, power, straight on down to the toilet paper we need to purchase. (Remember Walker's bill also had some sort of law to privatize the utilitie plants, giving him the right to sell them without a bidding process for whatever dollar amount he wanted. The Koch's denied that they wanted the plants, maybe a lie, and maybe it is planned for someone else who Walker owes "gratitude" to.)

While the people will not be able to afford anything but necessities, where does this leave small business?

Posted by: TessTy | March 1, 2011 4:22 AM
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"Magnanimous!" That made me laugh out loud. My elementary latin reminds me that "magnanimous" come from "great soul". This governor has already shown himself a weasel not even deserving the trust of his congressional peers (see the conversation with the Koch impersonator). In fact, that's the guy's tragic flaw: so flattered was he that a Koch might want to speak with him and offer political/monetary support that he spilled the beans and told everyone how untrustworthy he is. How can there *ever* be a resolution to this standoff in which Walker isn't treated like the liar he revealed on that call?

I can't imagine how making teachers into villians and chopping education back 20 years to balance the budget is, in any sense, a "shared sacrifice". Do words not mean anything anymore?

Posted by: t_parker16 | February 28, 2011 9:57 PM
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