Remember when all the Tea Party apologists were telling us that it was all about the anger of middle-class folks over the deficit and federal spending, and about how they were just as mad at Democrats as they were at Republicans?
See, here's the thing. The first part was complete bullshit and the second part was a dodge. They may well have been equally upset at Democrats as they were at Republicans, but they were not as mad at conservatives as they were at liberals. That, by the way, makes all the difference, because whereas they were angry at Republicans because they were not conservative enough, they were angry at Democrats for existing at all because they were liberals, and "liberal" is defined by these people as "anyone and anything we don't like." The Tea Party may not have been strictly partisan, but it was undeniably tribal.That's how we wound up with all those Tea Party state legislators whose first acts in office were to take big whacks at reproductive rights. And that also explains the latest news from Ohio, where conservative union-busting took one in the chops on Tuesday night. Undaunted by the beating they took over collective bargaining for state employees — and one thing to remember about conservatives and the people who fund them is that they never, ever stop — conservatives are now doubling down and trying to make collective bargaining impossible by law with a right-to-work act.
And let me ask you: If the Tea Party is merely an expression of anger over spending and deficits, why line up behind a law that will depress wages, and therefore demand, and therefore tax revenues? (Clue: Google the words "Potemkin" and "ploy.") Oh, of course, it's about "freedom." A worker should have the right to choose to be represented against a rapacious corporate oligarchy by himself or herself. This is hardly a new argument. In There is Power In A Union, his history of organized labor in the U.S., author Philip Dray traces it back at least to 1895, during the epic coal strikes of the period, when the National Association of Manufacturers, as he puts it...
"...worked assiduously to ensure that the very term, 'closed shop,' came to carry negative, un-Amerocan associations in the public mind, at odds with sacred notions of individual liberty."
Dray also points out that this rhetorical sleight-of-hand so alarmed Samuel Gompers that he suggested that "closed shop" be replaced by "union shop." The fact that such an obviously accurate description of a unionized workplace never caught on is some indication of the power on the other side, which never, ever stops.