Long a fan and powerful ally of unions in general, it is no surprise that Obama would come out in favor of the specific debate in Wisconsin.
Further adding to the list of non-surprises is his choice of words and his tactic of rhetoric.
Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions.
And I think it’s very important for us to understand that public employees, they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends. I think everybody’s got to make some adjustments, but I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.
First the language. After allowing his party to hammer conservative politicians and speakers for the use of “violent rhetoric”, Obama himself lets it slip:
An assault on unions.
Next, and this is the aspect of Obama that makes him the dangerous politician he is, is the use of parallel but separate points of the debate:
He draws us in with a relationship pull using language like “friends” and “neighbors”. As if adding that soft human touch changes the facts of the debate. As if the fact that because they are our friends and our neighbors that we should forget that these same friends and neighbors have been gaming the system to bring us to the brink of collapse. He continues along this theme by actually speaking to the point, “I think everyone’s gotta make some adjustments…” Again, a nice touch, a softer and more gentle way of saying that the unions are going to have to give ground. But he immediately follows it up with another pull on emotion using a train of thought, “I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.” Once more going down that familiar and well-worn path claiming that because I oppose union thugs from stealing my money I don’t value teachers and cops.
At the same time this is gross, it’s powerful and dangerous. We would be wise to realize and listen to the words Obama is using.