Not our DARLING: Alberta running scared | WisCommunity

Not our DARLING: Alberta running scared

Alberta Darling is getting in my face, just as she got in the face of represented state employees last week by voting to all but kill their union bargaining rights. And putting on a brave face, while lying to save her behind. She is in full campaign mode, because the recall petition drive against her is in full swing and seemingly doing well.

On the day the Republican-dominated state Assembly joined the Wisconsin Senate in enacting Gov. Scott Walker's nasty little bit of "fiscal" responsibility that tears apart 50 years of precedent, Darling's campaign robo-called me. Her recorded voice exulted in the satisfaction of a job well done as she explained how the union-busting law would be great for taxpayers.

And then, today, Darling's team lit-dropped our front walk, with a large, full-color glossy card that featured some of the worst slurs against public employee unions. "Get the Facts!" the card told voters. It featured a photo of Darling in a classroom leaning over to talk to elementary school pupils -- almost an implicit pledge to help teach our kids when her party's leader rams through his plan to cut a billion dollars in state aid from public schools.

Darling's printed screed employs all the usual, nefarious GOP talking points. Why, did you know that under Gov. Walker's measure, public sector workers will still be able to bargain for wages and file grievances? True, although Darling conveniently forgets to note that they'll be able to "bargain" for no more than the rate of inflation, that is if the state is even willing to offer that much. Of course, if the state offers more and a union accepts, then all that needs to be done to seal the deal is to hold a statewide referendum (exactly how many weeks or months later is not in the fine print) and get a majority of voters to agree.

And, Darling exults, union workers will be able to file grievances. Never mind that before this law, it was often very hard to get a grievance acted upon in timely fashion, even with additional contract protections that will now be unlawful. Under the old, more encompassing grievance protections, the state has dallied for years on some grievances, stalling to the point that some unions worry that members will die before their complaints are resolved. If, by then, those workers even still have a union.

But wait, there's more: Darling avers that Wisconsin government workers will "STILL have more collective bargaining rights than President Obama allows for federal government workers." Why, that mean, mean liberal president who hates organized labor! Following Darling's logic train, Obama must have climbed into his time machine and talked Republicans and moderate Democrats of decades past into punishing federal workers, just like Gov. Scotty is doing now.

Of course, Darling's piece also gave significant space to the usual panoply of wingnut factoids, such as the public bus driver in Madison who racked up close to $100K in overtime one year, and the Milwaukee teachers union that sought to have Viagra included in the covered prescriptions. It's all true, but it's totally granular. But, in the GOP viral messaging, it's obviously the case that unions are just ripping off taxpayers and need to be stopped, and Darling's just the North Shore GOP matron who's coming through. Ripping up peoples' lives in the process, but, hey, you don't make an omelet without breaking hearts and minds.

This is the same Darling who, as co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, heard tens of hours of testimony from real people, middle-class teachers and other public workers who will be badly harmed by this travesty of legislation. She smiled the whole way through, and thanked everyone for their heartfelt comments, before going ahead and doing her worst. At this point, Darling defines cold.

The Darling campaign is ramping up but she's not showing her face in person, yet. She skipped out on at two recent town hall meetings held by fellow Republican Jim Sensenbrenner. One of those meetings was gaveled to a halt quickly when citizens complained about Walker's pending bill.  But Darling's arm's length campaign is taking off, because there's a very real threat she will face a recall after squeaking through in the last election.

Drive through the North Shore these days and on many a busy street corner, say along the Silver Spring Dr. or N. Oakland Ave. business strips, you'll see people standing with signs promoting her recall. Drive through residential streets and you'll see teams of people going door to door, filling up petition pages to force the recall.

These are the best of times and, soon, the worst of times for Alberta Darling. And good riddance. The Senate's Ms. Reasonable has amply proved herself a faker. She's a right-winger of the worst sort, who would gladly blow up the lives of millions to make her party's point. And now she's getting ready to double-down.


March 14, 2011 - 7:13pm