Harry S. Truman once said, “Given a choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, the public will choose the real Republican every time.” Those words have a lot of wisdom in them. If you can’t give people a reason to vote for you, giving them a reason to vote against the other guy will only vote for so long. Again and again, however, I am seeing the Democrats fail to learn this important lesson.
I am writing this just moments after the Illinois Legislature rammed through a pension gutting bill and then immediately began spending these savings by passing them along to ADM. I truly believe that this is the final blow for Pat Quinn after pension theft and naming Paul Vallas as his Lieutenant Governor will find moderate public employees moving to Dan Rutherford and the more liberal ones voting green. In fact, if he gets a Republican opponent who can appear to be a common sense moderate (I don’t think any of them are–we’re talking appearance here), he’s going to lose big.
Illinois Democrats helped to spearhead legislation being pushed by ALEC and they should know that it won’t end well for them. Labor traditionally has been in your corner while ALEC is made up of a bunch of people who give to Republicans. How you expect to win, I don’t know. When the election rolls around even if the CTU leadership wanted to support you, they’d never get it past the House of Delegates. It’s quite possible the Illinois Supreme Court will undo the damage to the pensions, but it won’t be able to undo the damage done to the Democrats.
I’ve seen the same thing happen in Wisconsin where a real movement was mobilized to take on Scott Walker. That movement quickly dissipated when Democrats championed a Milwaukee Mayor who was from the Rahm Emanuel wing of the party. Now, the Democratic insiders are trying to foist another anti-labor non-progressive candidate on the state in Mary Burke. This is a losing strategy.
I could explain just how morally reprehensible this pension grab was, but politicians don’t usually respect that sort of thing. Instead, I will make it very clear that we will remember and there are a lot of us. We could have worked with you, but instead will fight you and if we can’t do it at the ballot box, we’ll do it in the streets, and in the hearts and minds of every voter we come in contact with and we talk to a lot of people.