President Barack Obama has done little to alter the status quo — stupendously violating his ubiquitous 2008 campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and for the most part he personally never paid a political price for it (indeed, he was re-elected). The Democratic Party, however, just paid a steep price for it on Tuesday.
I could cite many examples of Obama’s broken campaign promises, but just one stunning example is sufficient. In November 2007, Obama stated this:
“And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”
Video of this proclamation of his at a campaign rally in South Carolina is here.
Obama made that explicit promise, yet when the state of Wisconsin exploded in early 2011, drawing tens of thousands of protesters to the state’s capital after Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker and crew first proposed and then passed legislation to destroy the right of the state’s public-sector workers to collectively bargain, Obama didn’t show up in Wisconsin even once.
Wisconsin was the first state in the United States to provide collective bargaining rights to public employees in 1959.
Over the past decades, public-sector labor unions have grown from 10.8% of public workers being represented by a union in 1960 to 36.2% in 2010. Over the same time period, the percentage of private-sector employees in a union shrank from 31.9% to 6.9%. This increase in public-employee unionism coincided with the granting of collective bargaining rights to public employees. Total union membership for all employees, both public and private, has decreased substantially over the years, with total union membership in 2010 at 11.4%. …
In January 2011, the [Wisconsin] state legislature passed a series of bills providing additional tax cuts and deductions for businesses at “a two-year cost of $67 million.” In early February, the Walker administration projected a budget shortfall in 2013 (Wisconsin functions on two-year budgets) of $3.6 billion and a $137 million shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.
The Walker-backed bill proposed to alleviate the budget shortfall included taking away the ability of public-sector unions to bargain collectively over pensions and health care and limiting pay raises of public employees to the rate of inflation, as well as ending automatic union dues collection by the state and requiring public unions to recertify annually. [The effect of this, of course, was to wholly politically neutralize if not to destroy the public-sector unions altogether.]
The bargaining changes exempted the unions of public safety officers, including police, firefighters, and state troopers. [That’s very Repugnican Tea Party! We must have law and order! Our storm troopers are to be taken care of, but everyone else can starve!] Walker stated that without the cuts, thousands of state workers would have to be laid off. …
Read that again. Although the Walker administration’s stated problem was the state’s budget deficit, the Repugnican Tea Party administration nevertheless gave businesses tax cuts, a Repugnican Tea Party pillar. The Walker administration then shamelessly used the budget deficit as an excuse to execute another pillar of the Repugnican Tea Party: to destroy what little is left of labor unions.
The 2011 Wisconsin protests went on for months and didn’t end there; there were recall elections first for state legislators and then for Walker himself (Walker survived the June 2012 gubernatorial recall election, the first time that a sitting governor ever survived a recall election, and most of the state legislators survived their recall elections).
Over weeks and months, throngs of Wisconsinites filled the state capitol, such as shown in this Reuters news photo from March 2011:
Given for how long the protests went on and how many Wisconsinites participated in them, it was quite safe for Obama to make good on his campaign promise to put on his “comfortable pair of shoes” and join Wisconsinites whose right to collectively bargain was under grave threat, yet, again, he showed up in Wisconsin to stand up for “American workers [who were] being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain” not one fucking time.
His excuse, I’m confident, would be that as president he didn’t want to interfere in a state’s politics or some bullshit like that. But why, then, did he explicitly promise to do so — “as president of the United States of America” — in November 2007?
He was a law professor, right? If it’s inappropriate for a president to involve himself in a state’s politics, surely he knew that in November 2007, no? Why the promise but not the follow-through?
And why has Obama given a pass among self-identified Democrats and liberals for all of his broken campaign promises and failures?
That was partially rhetorical, but I’ll answer it anyway: Democrats don’t want to criticize the head of their party (look at the free fucking pass that the congenitally unlikable Billary Clinton has been given by the Dembots), and no one wants to be called “racist” for criticizing our first black president, even though refusing to criticize someone because of his or her race is no less racist than is criticizing someone because of his or her race. (In both cases, race takes precedent over principle. Um, yeah.)
Wisconsin, methinks, is a great example, because, as Wikipedia notes, in Tuesday’s presidential election, “Wisconsin went Republican for the first time since 1984.”
Gee, maybe Barack Obama’s blatantly broken campaign promise to “walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America” helped to cost the do-nothing, Repugnican-Lite Democratic Party the state of Wisconsin (and Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and…).
Frankly, before Tuesday’s election settled the matter, I wasn’t sure which would be worse: four or eight more years of the same old slow-death bullshit under President Clinton 2.0, in which the “Democratic” president continues to do little to nothing yet we commoners are to keep our fucking mouths shut because She’s our first female president! (and we’re “misogynist” if we criticize her) and because she uses the label “Democrat” — or probably no more than four years under President Pussygrabber, who is more like a fucking Batman villain than anything presidential.
Under a President Billary, the Democratic Party never would have reformed itself; that is safe to conclude. Had she won, we commoners would have been expected to interpret that as a sign that there’s nothing wrong the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party establishment; after all, the proof is in the pudding.
Had Donald J. Trump not blown up the Democratic Party on Tuesday, we commoners most likely would have remained in our collective deadly slumber, like frogs thinking that we’re in a Jacuzzi, under yet another “Democratic” president who claims to love us sooo much but who actually does virtually nothing for us.
I wager that President Pussygrabber — quite unwittingly, of course — is going to unleash more creativity, more energy and more opposition to all that’s deplorable than President Clinton 2.0 ever could have or would have, and that, ironically, while Billary Clinton never was going to usher in a progressive age, Donald J. Trump always was our better bet to make that happen.