A Preview of President Romney's First Hundred Days?
A lot of people look at the unpopularity of GOP governors in Florida, Maine, and elsewhere, and look at some of the successes their opponents have had in such states as Ohio and Wisconsin, and assume that Republicans know they overreached in 2011.
A Gathering Storm Over 'Right to Work' in Indiana
Nearly a year after legislatures in Wisconsin and several other Republican-dominated states curbed the power of public sector unions, lawmakers are now turning their sights toward private sector unions, setting up what is sure to be another political storm.
The thunderclouds are gathering first here in Indiana. The leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature say that when the legislative session opens on Wednesday, their No. 1 priority will be to push through a business-friendly piece of legislation known as a right-to-work law....
Right-to-work laws prohibit union contracts at private sector workplaces from requiring employees to pay any dues or other fees to the union. In states without such laws, workers at unionized workplaces generally have to pay such dues or fees....
This is presented as "business-friendly" legislation, but at least as important is the fact that it's Republican-friendly legislation. It's pathetic that the very existence of even a nominally liberal major political party in America depends on the continued payment of union dues by a certain percentage of the population, but that's the way it is, given the way money works in our politics -- and the GOP and its allied fat cats know that the Democratic Party can literally be destroyed, or turned into an ineffectual minor party, if right-to-work spreads, in combination with other assaults on Democratic voters and funding.
My prediction? We'll see this after President Romney and a GOP House and Senate are sworn in in 2013 -- there's going to be a drive for a national right-to-work law, and it'll go through so fast no opponent will have properly prepared for it. All the insider journalists and pundits will be shocked that this will be Romney's first major effort as president. (He never mentioned this when we were schmoozing on the campaign plane!
Maybe it can't happen. Maybe even a terrified Democratic Party, having lost the Senate and the presidency, will still be able to muster enough votes in the Senate to filibuster this. But that assumes the GOP won't suspend or eliminate the filibuster after taking over the Senate -- not a safe assumption.
I believe the GOP's power brokers -- Murdoch, Rove, the Kochs -- have nothing less in mind than turning America into a one-party state. I don't see why they couldn't accomplish that with a few more GOP-friendly campaign finance rulings, a national RTW law, more voter ID laws, and perhaps a Supreme Court overturning of birthright citizenship, which would make it difficult for many U.S.-born Hispanics to register and vote just as Hispanics numbers swell in America. Yeah, I'm being apocalyptic here, but I really don't think Republicans are just playing around. I wouldn't put anything past them.