So long, Pat McIlheran. Don't let the sweep of history hit you in the butt on the way out. | WisCommunity

So long, Pat McIlheran. Don't let the sweep of history hit you in the butt on the way out.


[img_assist|nid=56194|title=Scratched|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=119|height=84]Patrick McIlheran, who is departing as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's resident right-wing columnist, said in his final opus today that -- as encapsulated by the column's headline -- "the right's ideas are winning" in Wisconsin.

Not hardly. "The right's ideas are winning elections," maybe. But that's mostly just due to the willingness of Republicans to lie and obfuscate regarding their actual policy positions, masquerading as moderates or oxymoronic "compassionate conservatives" while spending gazillions on attack ads that inflame voters and incinerate the facts. Did Scott Walker really divulge or even just telegraph to voters before last fall's election that he planned to destroy collective bargaining for state public employees? Sorry, Patty. 

[Not that McKnuckledragon agrees; he writes that, "Scott Walker, Democrats told us all last fall, was a .... union-busting conservative." But he's wrong about that, as he is typically wrong about everything. Democrats said lots of critical and so far highly accurate stuff about Walker, but if they'd known he was an out-and-out union buster, they'd have shouted it through bullhorns before the election. Then, Walker's revealed, post-election willingness to, as he himself put it, "drop the bomb" and whack public employee unions wouldn't have come to Wisconsinites as such a huge surprise that hundreds of thousands of them wound up surrounding and occupying the Capitol for weeks.]

Ah, but Pat-o-philes will respond, Walker's ideas are not just winning votes, they're winning approval in the legislature; and, they'll note, that union-busting law was upheld by the state Supreme Court for yet another win. Both of which, however, are also entirely due to Republicans winning elections via cash and misleading rhetoric.

What the Wisconsin right's ideas are not winning, so far and (based on voluminous past experience) into the future, is positive results for anyone except a tiny, wealthy elite and corporate special interests -- like the Koch brothers, strip-mining firms, telcoms and the firms in Paul Ryan's oil-industry investment portfolio. We won't go on about that, because it's already becoming self-evident to anyone who doesn't wear blinders or lurid, GOP-3D eyewear.

At least, readers of Wisconsin's largest and most ideologically myopic news organization won't have to put up with McIlinformed's spittal and drivel any longer. No, he's moving on to one of those not-real government jobs inside the Beltway. He'll be, as he puts it, "at the federal trough" creating speeches and other word games for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Encapsulated). This will mean that RoJo is no longer entirely an empty suit, but a suit filled with wrong-headed, disinformative talking points. Which we can all continue to safely ignore as we go about the real work of taking back our state from the hordes of the right.

To McItinerant's way of thinking, of course, all the massive demonstrations across Wisconsin and the nation against Walker's policies are just union rabble-rousing and insubstantial "combativeness." Implicit in his claim is that only Repubilcans and teabaggers have the right to be combative. People to the political left of Genghis Kahn must, on the other hand, shut up and inhabit what Patty Meltdown calls the "calm center" of mildness and inaction, leaving political vaudeville, vocal outrage -- and, yes, even physical action -- to the right wing. 

His wrong-headed epitaph may well be represented by this quote from his final column:

When Walker broke the usual low taxes vs. good services impasse by cutting the price we pay for public-sector labor, unions turned the Supreme Court race into a de facto referendum. They spent every milliwatt of power they had - and lost.

So much nonsense in so few words. "Low taxes vs. good services" is a straw-man argument. We already have low taxes in Wisconsin and across this nation, relative to many other states and other industrialized nations, repectively. The real issue is that Wisconsin collects very low taxes from the wealthy and from businesses that could afford to contribute more. Wisconsin already has a smaller than average state employee workforce, and, besides the recession's huge impact on revenues, a goodly share of the state deficit is due to the stubborn refusal of lawmakers to reduce the local and state tax load on the middle class and restore the share of taxes paid by businesses and upper-income individuals. 

"Cutting the price we pay for public-sector labor" is just Pat Code for "let's cut the wages and benefits of hard-working public employees even more, so that they fall even further behind their private sector counterparts."  Yet, bad as they are, those cuts are chump change in a $66 billion budget. After all, labor makes most of state government function, and that means salaries. What, public employees should all work for free? Or at least, as Walker has decided so far, they must return another eight percent of their compensation and never get another raise above inflation, so he can cut taxes on businesses some more. Such a morale-booster, but of course if you're a governor who's fundamentally anti-government, such moves make perfect sense.

As for Pat's notion that unions turned the Supreme Court race into a de facto referendum -- uh, well, actually, it was conservative think tanks and special-interest, out-of-state funding from the right that started us down that road after Republicans made earlier court elections into high-cost referendums of their own. The GOP just ended public funding for Supreme Court elections, which guarantees a return to that largesse. And, of course, recall elections in Milwaukee County enabled Scott Walker's rise to his level of incompetence.  Voter ID and goofball redistricting maps are GOP designs intended to parlay this advantage.

No matter. In Patrick-think, progressives and Democrats should just shut up and enjoy the political rape. He celebrates that unions (without mentioning individuals and other progressive interests)  "spent every milliwatt of power they had" yet failed to unseat Justice Prosser. Yet Prosser's opponent lost in a very close shave, and after being far behind. Which proves that low campaign spending vs. good outcomes is a Pat-think corollary. After all, in upstate New York, in a heavily Republican district, a progressive Democrat last month won a special election for Congress, despite a GOP campaign spending advantage in the seven figures.

As McInnerCircle well knows, Democrats and progressives are now mightily juiced and are actually becoming more productive, and their efforts more effective. Patrick McIlheran, as a right-wing ideolog, is very concerned and wants you to think otherwise. And that's nothing other than just the latest iteration of the right-wing disinformation campaign.


June 19, 2011 - 1:54pm