This is disturbing.
President Obama has decided to wade directly and aggressively into a STATE budget battle, accusing the newly elected Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, of an “assault” on the state’s unions.
Walker wants to cut public sector worker benefits and limit their collective bargaining rights. Obama has slammed Walker and ordered his personal political army, Organizing for America, to gin up opposition within the state.
Here’s Obama’s comment yesterday to a local Wisconsin reporter who was invited into the Oval Office.
Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions. I think everybody’s got to make some adjustments, but I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.
Organizing for America is the famous 13-million strong email list assembled under the banner “Obama for America” during the campaign. The group today technically resides within the Democratic National Committee, but it has taken its marching orders from for Obama campaign chairman David Plouffe, who as of last month began working a few feet from the Oval Office.
You don’t have to be a States Rights acolyte to wonder what business the president of the United States has inserting himself into a state budget battle, and where in the Constitution it suggests he may do so. There is no federal issue at all here, other than that Obama’s health reform law is going to make budgetary matters worse for the states by dumping millions of new patients into state run Medicaid programs.
The Washington Post today described the unleashing of Obama’s political force in graphic detail. The effort is set to move beyond Wisconsin.
The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.
Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.
By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were working to organize additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Obama, as the article makes clear, is not merely taking a stand for the unions. He’s taking a stand for himself. By galvanizing his political operation, particularly in swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, he is revving up his own reelection campaign. He’s also appeasing the union activists who will also serve as his foot soldiers in 2012.
If George W. Bush waded into a state fight in this manner and sent his political shock troops in to enforce his will, the Democrats and the press would be comparing him to Mussolini.