Class Warfare, Wisconsin Edition | WisCommunity

Class Warfare, Wisconsin Edition

[img_assist|nid=64996|title=Class warfare|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=145]John Nichols, journalist with The Capital Times and The Nation magazine, said something in a column the other day that gets far too little attention:

National conservative groups and their Republican allies announced early on that they would go after the Democratic senators who had left the state to try to block Walker’s plan.

Unions and their Democratic allies then moved to recall Republican senators who had sided with Walker.

That's right. Despite comments by Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and edtorial writers that use of Wisconsin Constitution-based recalls ought to be scaled back, and despite historical revisionism about this year's recalls being an entirely Democratic Party confection, it was the Republicans and their allies who kick-started the Wisconsin recall elections.

First they picked that fight by acting in an imperious and unethical and illegal manner in their management of the Wisconsin Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting bill. That drove Senate Democrats away from the Capitol, temporarily denying the GOP the ability to vote on the bill, until the GOP redefined the bill as non-fiscal.

Next, the GOP and its pals decided to punish those Senate Democrats.

Only after that, Democrats and their allies said, well, in that case we're going after Republican senators who went rogue on the electorate.

Immediately after that, Republicans began complaining that Democrats were forcing the taxpayers to underwrite the cost of recall elections -- which, they implied, they had no responsibility for helping to bring into play.

At bottom, the GOP message is this: When WE go after you, that's just politics and usual and business as usual. When YOU fo after us, that's outrageous and expensive and anti-democracy.

On a smaller scale, that GOP meme echoes the national dialog on the widening income gap, where -- as Jon Stewart pointed out this week on "The Daily Show" -- US income distribution is now more unequal than nearly 50 other countries, and is surpassed by many third-world, underdeveloped countries.

When Democrats and progressives bring that inequality to the public's attention, they are engaging in "class warfare." But when conservatives argue that poor people don't pay enough in taxes (they literally do argue that, in some cases) but that the rich pay too much, they're just engaging in pure economics. Nothing political or divisive about that, nosiree.

Class warfare? In today's politics, Republicans are in a class by themselves.

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August 20, 2011 - 11:20am