Monday, February 28, 2011

Woman of the Century -- The 19th Century

It was another proud moment for us South Carolinians, when our own Governor Nikki Haley and the ever confused Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona faced off against Democratic (no, Nikki, not "democrat", which is a noun, not an adjective) Governors Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and John Hickenlooper of Colorado on ABC's This Week yesterday.   

Jake Tapper introduced his roundtable as "four of the top governors", leading to the inevitable question, "top of what"?  He further introduced Nikki Haley as "age 39, the youngest governor" which caused me to wonder if, in light of Nikki's reputation, Jake was maybe putting some moves on her.

Haley is nothing if not enthusiastic.  And outraged.  On the subject of the Wisconsin Democratic senators' protest, she twice used the word "cowardly".  Tapper, moments later, redundantly asked the Democratic governors if they didn't think leaving the state was "cowardly", and I may be wrong, but I think he winked at Nikki as he asked the question.  Not to be outdone, Jan Brewer saw and raised Haley's "cowardly" with an even more outraged "despicable".

First of all, I have to say, coming from the state where the former governor and Nikki Haley supporter Mark Sanford left without a trace for a week while he "walked the Appalachian Trail", it takes a great deal of nerve for Haley to refer to the 14 senators as cowardly and irresponsible.

Furthermore, I think Governor Haley has some misconceptions regarding the whole idea of "collective bargaining".  She believes that the state should get rid of collective bargaining because "they opposed health care cuts and they opposed benefit cuts".  I believe that is called the first step of negotiations -- each side asks for what they see as the best possible position, and then they bargain from that point.  I understand that Haley, coming from the right-to-work cheap state of South Carolina, would be unfamiliar with workers making demands, and in fact, the whole idea of negotiating might be a bit scary to the new face of the "good ole boys", but that's the way it is done.

Finally, it concerns me that Haley has so little respect for the role of protest in our nation's history.  From the Boston Tea Party to student protests over the Vietnam War, the right to protest is what has made our democracy as robust as it is.  The most amazing and hopeful aspect of the current revolution in Egypt is that the police and military stood with the protesters.  The actions of the Wisconsin Democratic senators means that they were listening and being responsive to their constituents, and not taking the easy way out.

I wonder that Haley and Brewer, governors of two of the most miserably failing states (morally as well as financially) in our proud nation, are asked their opinions about what is wrong with Wisconsin.  Given the corporate excesses and enormous federal tax cuts that have broken our states' treasuries across the country, Wisconsin was not seen to be in desperate straits.  Certainly, collective bargaining as opposed to the union killing measures Governor Walker had plotted, would have left the state in good stead.  Unless of course, Walker then went on to give tax breaks to businesses and write no-bid contracts into legislation to benefit corporate giants like the Koch brothers.

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