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Obama Era Brings New Meaning of “Freedom” and the Collapse of Unions that Built Middle Class

“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.” [CNN]

WHAT HAPPENED in Michigan didn’t arise out of nowhere. It developed with the help of Democratic Party laziness and lack of leadership, when the party of unions fell asleep at the switch. It was made possible by today’s unions who sided with Democrats when there was no evidence the establishment players were going to stand by their side to keep what happened in Michigan from happening.

President Obama has been the most fecklessly incompetent Democratic leader on the middle class, working people and unions in modern history. Not wanting to get his hands dirty or tarnish his mushy bipartisan brand, from extending the Bush tax cuts early in his first term to ignoring the signs in Wisconsin and Ohio, Obama stood by to allow the growing energy against the only thing to build the middle class to build until the home of the UAW saw the collapse of union power.

From the New York Times:

But advocates of the legislation, which outlaws requirements that workers pay fees to unions as a condition of employment, lauded the day as a historic turning point for economic health in Michigan, and some Republicans predicted that their victory here would embolden other states to enact similar measures.

[...] The legislation here, which will go into effect next year, bans any requirement that most public and private sector employees at unionized workplaces be made to pay dues or other fees to unions. In the past, those who opted not to be union members were often required to pay fees to unions that bargained contracts for all employees at their workplace. – Limits on Unions Pass in Michigan, Once a Mainstay

Progressives have ignored the conservative economics of the Obama first term, starting with Barack Obama building the Affordable Care Act with private insurance having all the power, along with Big Pharma, continuing with the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and culminating with President Obama’s grand bargain offering up entitlement dismantling that today could begin with Democrats agreeing to help Republicans privatize Medicare by pushing the eligibility age from 65 to 67.

The Democratic Party is as much to blame for what happened in Michigan as anyone, with the leader of the party, Barack Obama, now presiding over the final slide of the unions, aided and abetted by Hoffa and other labor leaders who continued to back a politician who has never fought for unions in his entire career.

Lip service is all the American worker has gotten from Democrats, minus a few leaders like Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders, perhaps Elizabeth Warren once she’s in the Senate. With the leading politician serving up word salads and absolutely no leadership when it was needed. President Barack Obama finally saying something in verse, but only after he was reelected and it was way too late.

If anyone is surprised about what happened in Michigan you haven’t been paying attention to the national mood that’s been building ever since Barack Obama sat on his hands in the Oval Office doing nothing as Scott Walker and the American right dismantled collective bargaining.

It’s now considered “freedom” to be a freeloader, allowing union members and leaders to work for better contracts, while someone who doesn’t want to pay the dues receives the benefits.

Hey, President Obama, got legacy? You do now.

Instead of being the leader of the Democratic Party who fought the move by Republicans to dismantle unions, President Barack Obama presided over the last dismantling of union power by standing around and doing and saying absolutely nothing while it happened.

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36 Responses to Obama Era Brings New Meaning of “Freedom” and the Collapse of Unions that Built Middle Class

  1. ladywalker68 December 12, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    QUOTE
    It’s now considered “freedom” to be a freeloader, allowing union members and leaders to work for better contracts, while someone who doesn’t want to pay the dues receives the benefits.

    Hey, President Obama, got legacy? You do now.

    Instead of being the leader of the Democratic Party who fought the move by Republicans to dismantle unions, President Barack Obama presided over the last dismantling of union power by standing around and doing and saying absolutely nothing while it happened.
    END QUOTE

    Right on the money, Taylor!

    • Taylor Marsh December 12, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      But instead of pointing the blame where it belongs just watch Democrats cover for their own fecklessness.

      There will be little or no honesty on holding Democrats accountable for their part in this fiasco.

  2. TPAZ December 12, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    “The Democratic Party is as much to blame for what happened in Michigan as anyone, with the leader of the party, Barack Obama, now presiding over the final slide of the unions, aided and abetted by Hoffa and other labor leaders who continued to back a politician who has never fought for unions in his entire career.”

    Taylor, I could not disagree with you more. The Democrats are 100% to blame. Republicans are against unions and the working man. Democrats are suppose to defend the rights of the of the working man. That was the bargain struck in the 1930′s between workers and America’s Democratic Party when socialism and communism swept across Europe during the global depression. Obama and the Democratic Party sacrificed the working man with the consent of his supporters.

    This clip says it all: http://youtu.be/CQ5KZ0gh2hg

  3. mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    I do see President Obama wasting his second term trying to save the sinking ship. Labor unions will get lip-service from President Obama, because they paid for that. When it comes to economic recovery, labor unions are an obstacle. Obama paid lip-service to the unions in Wisconson and that was about it. the despicable display of union goons in Michigan this week will only add mor distance between President Obama and these unions.

    Does this look like a “Pro-Union President” to you?

    There were more prosecutions for financial fraud during every year of George W. Bush’s presidency than during every year of Obama’s. The Republicans went after Wall Street. Is there even 1 example where the Executive Branch went after anyone from Wall Street for financial fraud?

    The rich took home a greater share of America’s income pie from 2009 to 2010 than they did between 2002 and 2007, according to an April analysis from Emmanuel Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Democrat candidates and committees had actually netted double the amount of campaign cash from Bain workers as of May than their Republican counterparts since 2008,

    Of the top 10 companies with employees donating money to Obama’s campaign, three are big banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Some of Obama’s other major contributors include employees from big companies such as Microsoft and Google.

  4. guyski December 12, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me’. No surprise here at all.

  5. angels81 December 12, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    If I was a republican I couldn’t be happier with what I’m seeing. Democrats and progressives are attacking their President, blaming democrats and allowing us republicans to slowly take this country over state by state. While democrats and progressives whine and attack their own, we republicans will continue to run hard right candidates posing as moderates on the state level while progressives and democrats do what they always do, attack each other, and come 2014 they will do the same thing they did in 2010, sit on their hands and stay home. Come 2014 we will pick off 4 or 5 more states, rig the districts to keep them in republican hands and continue the war on women, unions, people of color and the middle class.

    I ask, when the the hell are we going to wake up and get serious about what is going on? Will we continue to waste our time with third party candidates who don’t have a chance of changing anything, or do we do what the tea party did with the republican party, and work and organize to take over the democratic party? We need to organize enough to primary democrats who aren’t doing what we need them to do, or do we do what we always do, bitch and sit out the next election?

  6. Lake Lady December 12, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    I like your idea angels. I think the problem always comes down to money. Remember the Tea Party was not really grassroots. They had deep pockets funding them. I don’t see any progressive big doners out there do you?

    Let’s not let the Washington media off the hook in this very good critique of Taylor’s they are so hooked into the conventional beltway wisdom that it is a joke to call them journalists. They have practically all become mini Broders.

  7. Taylor Marsh December 12, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Will we continue to waste our time with third party candidates who don’t have a chance of changing anything, or do we do what the tea party did with the republican party, and work and organize to take over the democratic party? – angels81

    What are you talking about & who is “we”? A tiny percentage support 3rd parties, yet you think this is the problem? Less than 2% of TM readers are for 3rd parties, representing the wider public. What they’re right about is challenging elite establishment players.

    Over a year ago I wrote about a tea party version inside the Dem Party. There are a few who want to challenge from within and are working to this goal. What are you doing, angels81, besides whining about 3rd party supporters in comment section(s)?

    You were among those supporting Obama, yet now you blame Democrats & progressives who did not support his reelection, but also didn’t vote 3rd party, for calling him on his fecklessness. Your continued silly blaming of third party supporters who have absolutely no power at all is laughable.

    Have you seen CAPs efforts against the entitlement cut push, while he serves up entitlements in 2011 grand bargain solutions, as well as just recently with ABC’s Walters? Do you know anyone in the activist community? What do you think is going on with Social Security Works, MoveOn, etc.?

    Anyone who thinks Obama isn’t the biggest part of the progressive problem is willfully ignorant and should be ignored when whining, especially when the blame is put on 3rd party supporters, who are irrelevant, especially in off year election cycles.

    • angels81 December 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Did I hit a sore spot Taylor? Also I hope I was talking to more then the small handful of people who comment here anymore. I also was not attacking anyone personally, but yet you attack me with BS about, what are you doing and whining on your blog. Also I find attacking Obama old news. The election is over, he’s not running again, and we are stuck for four more years. You seem to be hung up on my third party comment, and missed the whole of what I was trying to get across. But like I said, we on the left are pretty good at eating each other, so I’m not surprised by your come back.

      • Taylor Marsh December 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

        I’m a writer and an author, not an activist, making a *very* modest living on political analysis, my book, and through my tiny new media company, all of which is my job.

        President Obama is the country’s leader, so holding him accountable is important and anything but “old news,” though hyper partisans like yourself see it all in terms of “attacking” poor President Obama.

        Keep whining about third parties. Nobody is paying attention to that argument at all, though I’m proud to stick up for anyone who’s willing to challenge the elite establishment.

      • jinbaltimore December 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

        “The election is over, he’s not running again, and we are stuck for four more years.”

        You are unbelievable in your shifting sands of positions, all of which somehow always lead to doing nothing but giving Obama a pass. So, you would have supported a primary challenge to Obama, then, yes?

        • angels81 December 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

          Yes.

    • mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      “What are you talking about & who is “we”? A tiny percentage support 3rd parties, yet you think this is the problem? Less than 2% of TM readers are for 3rd parties, representing the wider public. What they’re right about is challenging elite establishment players.”

      I support 3rd parties. I did not vote for Obama or Romney. It only takes 3% of well organized voters to really make a change and get a 3rd party to the National Platform. The problem is that once a 3rd party gets legs, it usually gets divided up and conquered by the Duapoly Machine.

      I see organized labor unions as presenting themselves asan extension of the democratic party. I do not see the democratic party presenting themselves as an extension of organized labor unions.

  8. Uh-oh December 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    If Dems continue to vote for Blue Dog Dems, they are going to get all-Republican-all-the-time government. Obama is a Blue-Dog (if not an actual closet Republican), and anyone who voted for him shares the blame for the bad deals being made.

    As guyski said above, “Fool me once…etc.”

  9. Joyce Arnold December 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    And once again, Obama being Obama. No surprises.

    • Taylor Marsh December 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      Absolutely no surprises whatsoever, Joyce, with an I Told You So on top.

  10. angels81 December 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I don’t disagree that Obama is being Obama, the point I was trying to make (maybe badly) was that I see the real fight on the state level, and less on the national level. Its at the state level were the war on women is being fought, voter suppression, union busting, the push back on healthcare. Republicans have made taking control of state houses and governorships a priority. They have done it by running rightwing candidates as moderates until they get into office. Democratic voters who have focused on the national level, and fail to vote in off year elections are to blame.

    If we continue the way we are going more states will fall into the hands of the rightwing, and once they get control and then rig the districts democrats will have a very hard time getting those states back.

    As long as the left, progressives and democrats can’t come together and set some of our differences aside for a common good, we will continue to lose on the state level, and that is were the real war is being fought. Mich, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are only the beginning.

    • mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Angels81- Do you feel that the voters are smart and intelligent enough to decide what they want?

      Do you feel that the voters are capable of deciding who the best people are?

      Every candidate from at least the democrat and republican party gets to make their case. If the voters, People, wanted the continued nonsense that the democrats have to offer, they would vote them into power instead of the republicans.

      • angels81 December 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

        I would agree, but when you have politicians who run as being moderates but are really something else, and you have the other side who don’t bother to vote at all I don’t think people can make the right choice. You see a lot of buyers remorse in states like Mich, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. People in Mich did not vote to see their state become a right to work state. No republican including the governor ran on making Mich a right to work state. The governor would never have gotten elected if he had. Women in these states never thought they would be fighting over the right to birth control or the right to control their bodies. No one in these state thought that these governors would be working hard to make it harder for people to vote.

        • mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

          Angels81 – There is not a single shred of evidence that anyone anywhere in elected office is tryong to outlaw birth control.

          People in Michigan want to work. They do not want unemployment benefits until some business decides to open up a brand factory run on union labor.

          • angels81 December 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

            Idaho, Missouri, Arizona, South Dakota, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio, just to name a few are states that have bills up that would allow insurance companies to not cover birth control. The Arizona bill even went farther, with women having to prove why they are using birth control.

          • mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

            angels81 – These states are not outlawing birht control. Nobody is taking anyone’s right away.

          • angels81 December 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

            Weak argument you got there. Try telling that to working women, students and the poor, that there insurance won’t cover birth control because a bunch of old white men passed these anti-women bills to appease the rightwing tea party base.

        • mjsmith December 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

          angels81 – my “weak” argument is better than what you have to say. So my weak argument beats your make believe point.

  11. Cujo359 December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    start quote:

    Progressives have ignored the conservative economics of the Obama first term, starting with Barack Obama building the Affordable Care Act with private insurance having all the power, along with Big Pharma, continuing with the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and culminating with President Obama’s grand bargain offering up entitlement dismantling that today could begin with Democrats agreeing to help Republicans privatize Medicare by pushing the eligibility age from 65 to 67.

    end quote

    Yes, and by and large, they’ve also ignored his appalling record on human rights, unions, climate change, the environment, and just about anything else that matters. But, as someone has loudly and repeatedly been demonstrating in this thread, that’s not how you get things done. You get things done by being quiet, apparently.

    In various comments here there have been fools accusing me and anyone else who criticizes this President of having Obama Derangement Syndrome – we just hate him, apparently, because that’s what we do. Well, that’s right, it’s what I do. When our leaders screw up, I criticize them. Before Obama, here’s a list of derangement syndromes I had:

    (Little) Bush Derangement Syndrome

    Clinton Derangement Syndrome

    (Big) Bush Derangement Syndrome

    Reagan Derangement Syndrome

    Carter Derangement Syndrome

    Ford Derangement Syndrome (mostly for pardoning Nixon)

    Nixon Derangement Syndrome

    If I’d acquired better critical thinking skills when I was wasting all that time learning elementary grammar and arithmetic, I probably would have had Johnson Derangement Syndrome. I might even have had Kennedy Derangement Syndrome if I weren’t so busy learning the alphabet and trying to figure out what color crayons to use.

    When our leaders screw up, I criticize them. The more they screw up, the more I criticize. This apparently is a foreign idea to some people, but it’s the way it is when you’re a citizen and not a partisan for a particular political organization. It’s not a mystery to me, because I was able to simultaneously nurse a really bad case of Nixon Derangement Syndrome and learn about linear algebra. When the coefficient is positive, bigger values of X lead to bigger values of Y.

    Obama has screwed up nearly every chance he’s gotten, so he’s getting a lot of criticism. If you can’t handle that, too bad. Maybe your hero should do a better job of running the country.

    • Cujo359 December 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      And yes, I was accused quite often of having “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, sometimes with those exact words. What was I “deranged” about? The same things I criticize Obama for. So if you wonder why I think someone is a fool for using that phrase on people who criticize him for the things I criticize him for, that’s why.

      • Taylor Marsh December 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

        Oh, this is just priceless and appreciated, Cujo359. Thanks for taking the time to so well explain political derangement, which stems from the very citizenry of We the People who have the responsibility to criticize & hold our leaders accountable every day, not just in election years.

        • Cujo359 December 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

          You’re welcome. Hey, what’s the use of naming an Internet persona after a rabid animal if you can’t put it to good use once in a while?

          Like the article, BTW. I keep wondering how many years Obama has set progressivism (or liberalism, FTM) back in this country. Rather a lot, I think. Of course, quite a few of us were willing to go along…

      • TPAZ December 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

        Cool down boy, cool down. Here’s a milk bone; have two. Good job. ;)

        • Cujo359 December 13, 2012 at 2:21 am #

          Did you guys run out of Snausages again?

    • Cujo359 December 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Hee, hee. Just looked up the phrase “Bush Derangement Syndrome” via DuckDuckGo, and here’s the first entry, from Wikipedia:

      start quote:

      “Bush Derangement Syndrome” (“BDS”) is a pejorative political neologism coined by Charles Krauthammer, an American conservative political columnist and former psychiatrist[.]

      end quote

      Channeling Dr. Cabbage Slammer, now there’s proof of the superior intellect of progressive activists.

  12. belltor December 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Taylor you are spot on but the Dems left the unions over 30 years ago when they decided to play ball with the corporations. Obama has offered nothing but lip service to working people

    Unions should have conducted primaries against dems that stabbed them in the back. just like the tea partiers have done to republicans. Money would have been better spent that way.

    • TPAZ December 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      When I would bring up challenging Obama in the primary, if only to pull him to the left, people on this site wanted to ship me off to Gitmo for even questioning the omnipotence of Dear Leader.

  13. TPAZ December 13, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    This is a Reuters analysis of how Republicans overthrew unions in Michigan with
    Tuesday’s right-to-work vote. It is required reading for serious Democrats and liberals.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/13/us-usa-unions-michigan-idUSBRE8BC06W20121213

    • mjsmith December 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      TPAZ – This article is an excellent lesson to teach democrats not to go too far with their support for union thuggery.

      “On March 6 of this year, a union group including United Auto Workers union president Bob King announced that they would seek a November ballot initiative to enshrine in the Michigan constitution the right to collective bargaining.”

      … “If you do this, you should anticipate you’re going to create a divisive discussion on right-to-work also,” Snyder told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, recalling his remarks.

      Unions pressed forward and some Republicans say that this essentially blew up a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the unions and Republicans that neither would rock the boat on labor legislation in Michigan.”

      If it is achoice between collective bargaining in as part of the constitution and being a right to work state. I will take being aright to work state.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong