So Let Me Get This Straight….

An elected executive with majority support in his legislature puts forth a bill that is unpopular to a sizable portion of his electorate causing a slew of peaceful protests and this is OK some of the time but not OK at other times?

What I’m hearing from many people is: this is perfectly acceptable behavior by the executive when he’s a Democrat and unacceptable when the protesters are Republicans but unacceptable by the executive when he’s a Republican and acceptable when the protesters are Democrats.

Please tell me there’s an actual difference between the Wisconsin protesters and their reaction to the union bill and the Tea Parties and the Health Care Reform bill other than political preference? Right now I don’t see any other difference.

17 thoughts on “So Let Me Get This Straight….”

  1. References, please? I personally think that anyone of any belief should be able to peacefully protest anything at any time. Now, I might decry them as idiots or heartless, self-centered egocentrists. But that is also my right, and doesn’t automatically mean that I don’t support their right to state their beliefs.

    1. OK, and please forgive me for beating a horse that I had considered dead, but it fits.

      So, the Tea Partiers are described as Teabaggers, which with whatever reference you began with was always a derogatory term, while all they were doing was protesting a series of things peacefully. Now, when Democrats are doing the same thing, there’s an outcry from the same people who used the term Teabagger that the governor should be impeached and I’ve seen a number of references to Hitler already.

      To me, both sets of protesters are and were doing exactly the same thing and for that matter both executives are and were doing the same thing. You don’t like how Walker is using his executive power combined with a legislative majority to pursue his agenda. I get it. I really get it. This is *exactly* what Obama did during the first two years of his presidency.

      What I’m saying here is that I’m seeing a sense of outrage at Walker by people who derided Tea Partiers for *their* sense of outrage. I’m merely trying to increase the balance and add a sense of perspective.

      1. How was Obama doing the same thing?

        I haven’t followed the Walker thing closely. And I am drunk. And I will admit that my life is complicated enough that I tend to read sound bites. In my defense, the only news I ever watch is on the Comedy Channel.

        1. I may just be jealous because of a lack of cask ales on my part 🙂

          Of course, one of my hometown bars in Wichita has put Schlafly APA on tap, which as you can imagine makes me pretty darn happy.

          OK, here’s the similarity I see when stripped of party affiliation and political topics:

          Obama took advantage of his legislative majority to pass a bill that many Americans did not like or want despite universal disagreement from the opposing political party in the face of large-scale protesting.

          Walker is taking advantage of his legislative majority to pass a bill than many Wisconsins do not like or want despite universal disagreement from the opposing political party in the face of large-scale protesting.

          And to respond to both of your responses: The question isn’t so much that the party affiliation changes the perspective. I get that. However, what bothers me is that I’m seeing the same people who used the term Teabagger and other derogatory terms getting mad at Walker and using derogatory terms such Hitler.

          OK, I get disagreeing with Walker and agreeing with Obama. My problem is not that. My problem is that there is a group of people using derogatory terms for their political opponents a month or so after accusing the other political party for their negative and violent rhetoric.

          And by the way, thanks for asking the questions and making the comments, I wouldn’t have figured out why this whole situation pisses me off so much as it has until this moment. I just realized that I am frustrated at the response to the Giffords’ shooting and the hypocrisy of blaming the Republican party for nasty political rhetoric.

          From my perspective, I see way more venom directed at Republicans by Democrats than vice versa. I suspect that’s not true, but I am sure that it is true that both sides are at least equally venomous to each other. What I’m trying to do in this particular conversation is to emphasize that the Tea Partiers and Scott Walker have a viewpoint. That their viewpoint is just as valid as the Wisconsin protesters and Obama. That you can disagree all you want, but let’s stop demonizing one side and making heroes out of the other. In this case, the protesters may have the right of it. They may not. That, however, is true for the Tea Partiers too. They may have been right, they may not, but let’s not be dismissive of the other side because they do in fact have a legitimate viewpoint, even if you disagree with it.

          1. St. Louis has become a great town for cask ales. I’m just sayin’. 🙂

            And apparently we can agree that cask ales are a Good Thing.

          2. There have always been lots of things we can agree upon. Better yet, there have always been things we can companionably disagree upon. I prefer that, actually, it’s far more fun to have friends who disagree than for everyone to agree on everything.

  2. Rhodri,

    The biggest problem here is the secrecy of this. He’s pushing this through without legislative debate or full readings of the law in any way. Further, he’s threatening to pull in the National Guard to disperse protestors.

    Those two things are my problem with this.

    1. I get those particular points. I have two responses.

      One, are those things absolutely confirmed or are they speculation from places like HuffPo? I don’t actually know the current processes of the Wisconsin legislature so I cannot make any real comment about the debate question.

      Two, I especially ask that question because everything I’ve seen that provides some specifics about the NG question says that he is talking to them about A) filling in for prison guards if they go on an impromptu strike and B) bringing in the NG *if* the protests turn violent. I would say that any governor who didn’t brief the NG about those situations and make contingency plans in case is an incompetent, regardless of party affiliation.

      I’ve also seen a number of reports that simply say “he’s talking about using the NG,” which is non-specific and inflammatory, or in other words, bordering on yellow journalism. I seem to recall that there was talk of bringing out the NG at some Tea Parties too. Maryland comes to mind as one but it’s been a while and I’m too lazy to Google it. I don’t recall seeing any major outcry then. Why now? My only answer is the party affiliation and I have a problem with that.

      1. Party affiliations are what they are. Both political parties will *always* favor things that support their own view. And will complain about things that oppose it. Can we agree that this is endemic in both parties?

      2. 1. I did see it elsewhere. I don’t read the HuffPo. I am looking further into it.

        2. Initially his threat was to break up the protesters, regardless of peaceful or not. Now its changing. Now he’s saying that he’s bringing them out to maybe work in case of worker’s walking out.

        The difference is more than party affiliation in WI. How it is in other places, who knows. But it is different in WI.

  3. I think we tend to be more sensitive about these things when the statements run counter to our beliefs in general. I see it in people who got upset at people who would mock/criticize George Bush for the things he said and decisions he made, who now think nothing of mocking/criticizing Obama.

    It is natural to believe that people protesting against something that you believe is a good thing are wrong, and that people protesting against something that you believe to be wrong are worthy of praise.

    I think that sinking to childish mockery and insults takes a lot away from whatever argument you are trying to make, with the possible exception of childish mockery of Fred Phelps. Actually… people like him make me wish there was some way to require protesters to limit their protests to locations that are relevant to the subject they are addressing. (I know… slippery slope… but there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop the putrecsence that he spews forth into the world.)

    1. A lot of good points there, and I agree with many. One qualitative difference that I would point out in the case of Bush as opposed to Obama is that I think the tone of anti-Bush commentary is more venomous than the tone of anti-Obama rhetoric. There are dozens of recorded suggestions that we should be violent or kill Bush but I can only recall one verified one for Obama. Now, part of that is context given that Bush was in office 4x Obama at this point, so that could change, but I remember being shocked that supposedly quality people would be so venomous to Bush.

      Phelps is a jerk, and I say that not because of his politics but because he’s actively rude. I’d think he’s a jerk if we agreed on anything politically.

      Whether I disagree with Obama’s policies or not, and whether I think he’s the right man for the job, I do not think he has ever intentionally been rude to a political opponent.

      I’m going to make another post which will talk about what I’ve learned and thought about in this discussion.

      1. “One qualitative difference that I would point out in the case of Bush as opposed to Obama is that I think the tone of anti-Bush commentary is more venomous than the tone of anti-Obama rhetoric.”

        Oh, honey, you’ve gotta be kidding me.

        How many times has Fox News referred to Obama in WWII terms? How many times have people questioned his *right* to be president? My opinion is that a lot of *that* is triggered by his race. Plenty of white people can’t stand the idea that we have a president of color, and plenty of them can’t stand the idea that in not so many years, this won’t be a nation of primarily white people. They are reacting very viscerally to something that is inbred in humans, a distrust of the “different”. Many of us (you, too, I don’t for a minute include you among the likes of those morons) find we can rise above that evolutionary programming. But I don’t for a minute suppose it’s not a factor for plenty of people.

        1. I get what you’re saying, and there’s no doubt that Obama has faced a goodly amount of criticism.

          The difference is qualitative, not quantitative. How many protesters have you seen suggesting Obama should be shot, or hung, or attacked? I am aware of one that was proven. Whereas I can show you dozens if not hundreds of examples of suggestions that Bush should be killed or attacked.

          I agree that race is a factor for some people, however, I suspect that I think it’s a much smaller factor than you do. I suspect the difference in our approximations comes from whether you believe that a significant motivation of the Tea Parties was racism or not. I certainly don’t, but I do think that aspects of the media did their very best to prove that idea.

          1. Um… seriously? I think you may not understand the many subtle dog whistles and covert ways that racism can rear its ugly head.

            I’ll bring you only one example, but I can bring you many more, including exhortations from such people as Rush Limbaugh (who enjoys a popularity entirely beyond my understanding). I’m trying not to go there, since I don’t want to add traffic to pro-Limbaugh sites.

            Per an article in the Telegraph in August 2009, “Since Mr. Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Secret Service.”

            He’s not an unbiased author (since all authors have their biases). But in looking at some of his other work, I don’t see a clear skew or bias in terms of reporting facts.

  4. I think the answer is simple:

    More cask ale!

    In all seriousness, I am stunned at the vehemence from people like Rish Limbaugh on this one. (Should I be surprised? Probably not).

    What’s important here is that there will be a number of other states looking to do similar things. This is not setting a good tone.

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