National Democratic Party Supports Attack on the Democratic Process



By 03/09/2011

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The National Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, under the tight control of a politically sophisticated White House, is still trying to raise funds by supporting the desertion from legislative duty taking place in Wisconsin and Indiana. The latest e-letter from this august body comes from Indiana legislator Pat Bauer, who exhorts recipients to send in money because “if we go home now and allow the Republicans to attack workers’ rights with impunity, Indiana families will suffer. Their wages will fall. Their retirements will be at risk. Their children’s schools could be dismantled, and their voices in the workplace will be stifled.”

I realize that fund-raising letters have to use hysterical language, but, according to Bloomberg news, “The bill [approved by an Indiana Senate committee] would limit collective bargaining agreements between local districts and teachers’ unions to focus on wages and wage-related benefits. Evaluation procedures, dismissal procedures and working conditions would no longer be included in contracts. The bill would also limit teacher contracts to a span of two years — the length of the state budget cycle.” Mr. Bauer refuses to return to the legislative chamber until that bill is modified.

The unmitigated partisan harangue is annoying.  Far more disturbing, however, is the refusal by Democratic legislators to participate in the democratic process simply because their views are currently in the minority.   When legislators allow the wheels of government to grind to a halt simply because teacher unions object to a piece of legislation limiting the topics on which they can bargain, we no longer have “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

If it were only Indiana, it would be bad enough.  But the national Democratic party–with a leader ensconced in the White House–is throwing its full weight behind this scandalous abuse of power.

-Paul E. Peterson




Comment on this article
  • Nate says:

    As others have pointed out in past columns of yours, decrying this as “an abuse of power” while you and other conservative commentators were silent while the Republican minority in the Senate ground the country’s business to a halt with secret holds and filibusters is the basest hypocrisy.

    And the idea that Democrats in Wisconsin have left the state “simply because their views are currently in the minority” is extremely misleading — worthy of inclusion in a “partisan harangue”, perhaps (hypocrisy again). Democrats in Wisconsin are using their quorum rights to prevent the majority from voiding the rights of a minority, and violating the will of the people, as expressed in several polls at this point.

    Republicans filibustering in the Senate, and Republican state legislatures around the country devising ever more convoluted congressional districts to favor their party, and Scott Walker who tried to ramrod this bill through the legislature before anyone noticed — they all know how to abuse power. And you attack those who are trying to preserve some semblance of democracy.

  • A filibuster in the Senate is in accordance with Senate procedures and is used regularly by Senators from both sides of the aisle. Refusal to show up for many days for a quorum call, bringing democratic government to halt, is against the law.

  • Nate says:

    First, not everything legal is right, and not everything right is legal, and conflating the two is not nearly enough to justify your argument.

    Second, you’re wrong on the facts. The absence of the senators is not illegal, while threats of arrest by the Walker administration and the senate Republicans do, in fact, violate the state’s constitution. See the post and discussion here: http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/03/03/wisconsin-dem-senators-officially-fugitives-from-the-law/

  • “Everything right is not legal?”

    It is the responsibility of those who are elected to write our laws to uphold them and obey them.

    Democracy cannot function if the quorum call is abused.

  • Dale says:

    “A filibuster in the Senate is in accordance with Senate procedures and is used regularly by Senators from both sides of the aisle”

    That’s highly misleading. The filibuster has been used overwhelmingly by one side of the aisle to bring “democratic government to halt”

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