But he also apparently understood something about the core selfishness of some people, a skill that comes naturally to Walker’s brand of tea party Republican. He knew that while the average person might appreciate his or her child’s teacher or know a cop or firefighter, or heaven forbid, even a University of Wisconsin professor, this whole thing was not directly about them.
To illustrate, consider a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Few Americans support significant cuts to Social Security and Medicare to reduce the federal deficit, the story said. But it was this sentence that grabbed me. “Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security to be ‘unacceptable.’ ” Oh, I see. To the Walker-backing tea partier, “government waste” is anything that doesn’t directly benefit them.
It did not have to go this way. Public employees were willing to make major sacrifices given the fiscal terrain. Agreements could have been reached in an adult, bipartisan fashion.
Instead, we will be measuring for years how our progressive tradition has been diminished by an immature extremist who seems clueless to the damage he has caused. And to boot, he will likely enjoy the adulation of sycophants in controlled right-wing settings and probably get a speaking part at the 2012 GOP convention.
From Paul Fanlund