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Vetting Chris Christie: Maybe a C+

In Bowling for Dollars, Can You Hear Me Now?, The Wrong Right Turn on 07/03/2011 at 18:54

When you take into consideration New Jersey’s political history, Chris Christie is probably one of the best things to happen to the state in 50 years. Gotta love the guy for his chutzpa alone. But that is a long, long way from saying that he would be good for America as its 45th president.

In the first place, let’s be honest, if the man gains another half-pound they’ll officially designate him a zip code. Secondly, we don’t know where he stands on a plethora of issues.

Let’s look at a few:

Gun control: “Listen, we have a densely populated state, and there’s a big handgun problem in New Jersey,” Christie said to Sean Hannity. “Now, I don’t support all the things that the governor supports by a long stretch. But I think on guns — certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law-enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed; we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.”

Immigration: Although he is vague on the subject, he sounds like pre-border hawk John McCain, in other words liberal on immigration reform; he is against Arizona SB 1070. Here is how he skirts the issue: “What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process — whatever that process is — for people to gain citizenship.” He added: “It’s a very easy issue to demagogue and I’m just not going to participate in that.”

Islamist terrorism: Room for concern here. You have to go some to be more liberal than the U.S. government on Muslim extremism, but Christie just may be. When the feds attempted to deport Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Qatanani, Christie stepped to his aid. We’re not passing judgment yet, but the Governor sounds about as clueless on Islam as Puffy Combs.

In addition to all of these unknowns, Christie may also be a “greenie,” although he is vague on energy, as well. The next GOP nominee will have to be strong on a domestic energy policy after four years of Obama’s budget busting green energy insanity.

So, is Christie the right-wing firebrand his supporters claim? Probably not.

If you are, say, a Tucker Carlson, Chris Christie may be your election night dream date, but we tend to agree with the Governor when he says he is not ready for the presidency. Chris Christie is obviously Chris Christie’s biggest—no pun intended—fan, but he may not be the big gun many Republicans think. He has been lauded as a surgeon on spending, but what choice has he had?

Or as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin recently observed:

“He has no choice but to cut budgets because he’s broke, his state is broke,” Palin said recently. “What courage really is, is, in the face of having a surplus, when you have an opportunity to spend, spend, spend other people’s money, that you still choose to rein in government, to let the private sector soar. That’s real courage.”


How the States Can Win Against Unions

In Can You Hear Me Now?, The Wrong Right Turn, Weekly Rant on 05/03/2011 at 22:07

When Scott Walker kicked off his campaign to reduce state government spending he made several mistakes. First, he didn’t anticipate the scope of the dispute, that in challenging teacher’s collective bargaining rights, he would attract the ire of every trade union in the country.

Secondly, he obviously didn’t anticipate that 14 of his state legislators would pack up and depart for the No-Tell Motels of Indiana. That action alone should have been the red flag. He was at war.

Finally, Walker didn’t realize the degree to which the unions had been preparing for his move on public employee’s bargaining rights. There was nothing spontaneous about the protests that followed the Governor’s attempt to bring common sense to state government spending.

For nine years I was an officer in one of the largest unions in the world, first as a shop steward and then in various higher district lodge offices. In 1978, I was a negotiator and strike organizer in a strike that eventually ended in the virtual demise of the commercial aerospace industry in the United States. It was not the desired or anticipated outcome but it certainly ended that way.

The first thing the company did when we went out on strike was to file a lawsuit against my fellow negotiators and me personally. I cannot describe the shock when I stepped out of my front door and found three reams of paper sitting on my welcome mat. The lawsuit named me and cited specific charges—all of them created from whole cloth—as to my “illegal actions” against the company. The suit was the first in a series of tactical moves by the company to throw the union off guard. Before the strike was over, the company had terminated some of my fellow workers, and lodged more complaints against us, both criminal and civil.

I should say here, that unions are full of thugs, but I was not one of them.

Of course, when the work stoppage ended, every one of us had our jobs and the suits and charges against us were dropped as part of the negotiated settlement. The company had used these methods for 40 years in every strike against them, but we still had to defend ourselves in the courts until the strike was resolved.

This is the strategy Walker should have employed against both his AWOL lawmakers and public servants who have hindered his ability to govern for more than three weeks. The Governor is now acting against his legislators, but he should have taken the offensive immediately.

Marxist protester in Madison (In Defense of Marxism website)

Walker should have immediately hit the missing senate members with fines, regulations anything at his disposal to disrupt their attempt to slowdown government. By not doing so he has given them a platform from which to wage a public relations campaign against him. The legislators are in violation of their oaths of office and there are legal remedies to deal with their actions, whether they have been used before or not.

Walker may win in Wisconsin; there is still reason for hope. But he has suffered a loss in the court of public opinion that he quite possibly could have avoided.

The public is overwhelmingly on the side of the American worker, but when the polls are conducted properly, showing the results of continued capitulation to extravagant labor demands, they will turn out on the side of their pocketbooks every time.

Granted, the courts in the long run may have thrown out many of Walker’s actions to bring the Democrats and labor to their knees, but tactically overloading the opposition is a tried and true method of winning in a labor dispute.

It will be interesting to see how other governors will act in coming days as the unions and Democrats widen their campaign to price state governments into bankruptcy. If John Kasich and Mitch Daniels maintain the offensive in their respective states, they are likely to accomplish more, faster, than Walker has in Wisconsin.

The Label You Should Be Looking For is ‘Made in China’

In Bowling for Dollars, Can You Hear Me Now?, Civil Lefts, The Wrong Right Turn on 24/02/2011 at 16:47

At the considerable risk of inconveniencing Indiana’s Mitch Daniels with their timing, several governors around the country are making valiant attempts at rectifying a wrong done more than four decades ago.

Of course, the midget from Monongahela got busy walking back his statements after burning Governor Scott Walker two days ago, but the moment should not be lost on the few deranged Republicans who consider Daniels as a presidential contender.

What Daniels has presumably missed is that the time for saving innumerable states from insolvency was yesterday; and regardless of how inconvenient it may be for his political ambitions, now is not a moment too soon to make drastic reductions of government unions benefits.

Collective bargaining for public employees, like Medicare and Social Security before it, was an oversight that has come back to bite the American taxpayer right where he sits. We are stuck with the latter two, but government unions are not entitlements we must live with.

These are the teachers, street sweepers, and other bureaucratic props who have better insurance benefits than seven out of ten Americans; they enjoy more paid holidays, vacation days and live in better homes than their masters.

In the words of John Wayne, “Listen up” Badger staters, Hoosiers and Buckeyes, because this argument was lost on Michigan and Illinois: the job you cut today—those of the overpriced teachers, janitors and power-tripping desk clerks at the DMV—is the job that won’t go to South Carolina and Tennessee tomorrow.

Pubic employee unions are burying your states in debt; they are simply pricing you out of the industrial marketplace. General Motors and Chrysler spent the first half of the twentieth century building plants and the last half closing them down. They stand as rusting cairns to the Industrial Age because of the ever-increasing demands of the AFL-CIO and Teamsters.

Missing in this equation—so far at least—is the Republican fast gun, come to town a huntin’ a showdown. We were looking for him in Scott Walker but the boy is slow. This is no job for wimps. It will take creative legislating to get around the fleebagger Democrats hiding out across the borders, and pink-slips aplenty to squelch the deadbeats with fraudulent doctor’s notes.

Eat your Wheaties John Kasich, your country needs you.

As painful as it is to say, the United States can live without Chevys and Chryslers, as long as Hondas and Nissans are being made in America. What the country cannot live with, however, are overpriced public servants who can walk off the job until they achieve their demands. The nation is literally bursting at the seams with as-or-better-qualified workers who will replace them at half the price.

Is this about union busting? Hell yes! What, are you people deaf? We are broke. Hello! The money we used to pay these pampered teachers is in Shanghai feeding young communist workers, who are learning how to build cars and airplanes.

Editor’s Note: Grant O’Neill is a former union organizer and negotiator with expertise in strike strategy and work slowdown techniques.