The last minute passage of the One Trillion Dollar Omnibus Budget bill shocked conservatives everywhere. The blogosphere has been abuzz with condemnations and outrage.
Charges of treason, etc. abound, but we think something else is afoot. There have been hints of suspicion on some of the more tin foil hat-type sites, but we think the theory deserves wider circulation and understanding.
My tin foil hat is still in the fridge where I keep it safe, because my support for the “threat” theory is based on personal experience.
Let’s hop into the time machine and travel back some 20+ years to my term on a local school board. Little did we know that dice were rolling at higher political levels. The recently politicized teacher’s union was testing its strength.
Since it had formerly been a professional association, some of the older teachers were not prepared for the blue-collar rhetoric and anger that poured forth from the mouths of the organizers. Later, I learned from retired teachers about some of the tactics the organizers used to silence doubts, dissent, or outright opposition.
The industrial and craft unions had learned their lessons well in the bloody strikes of the 1930s. Those days have been romanticized and I think some of the older organizers longed for those days of warlike union members, who didn’t hesitate to get in the faces of their opponents: scowling police, private detectives, and employers’ representatives.
Representatives? Yes, few employers got their delicate hands dirty actually fighting the unionizers. They hired detectives, spies and thugs to fight their fight. Eventually, most employers gave in anyway.
Later, in WW II, the government joined the fight on the side of the unions and the battle was over. Wage and price controls were easier to impose on the economy with just a few groups to control: large employers and giant unions. A pact made in hell for which we are still paying.
So, back to the near-present – the teachers union at the school district went on strike. The non-certificated employees, cafeteria and janitorial workers, were reasonable and settled early, leaving only teachers on the battle lines.
They used all the old union tactics exquisitely refined for a battle that relied almost entirely on psychological weapons – against both teachers to silence dissent and board members to induce fear and loathing.
Just a few of the more obvious tricks: teachers sent Christmas cards to board members with one word as greeting: “Settle!” Teachers and fellow-traveling members of the public telephoned board members with one message: “Settle!” I got a few calls blasting me for home-schooling my own son. I always said, “I’m representing the public and not the government employees of the school district.”
And, finally, my personal favorite: a teacher jumped on a car carrying administrators past the noisy picket line and claimed they had run over her. Any love I might have had for unions disappeared entirely based on this behavior.
Not that the administrators were blameless. Or the board members. Administrators carefully groomed us to resist signing a contract, to fear the teachers’ reps, and to stand together in solidarity. We board members ignored any inconvenient facts from our own experience, obediently did what we were told, and caved when we were told to do so.
[I didn’t cave. They waited until I had to go out of town. They knew perfectly well, based on behavior I had exhibited early in my term, that I would never cave.]
The last tactic was the icing on the cake and revealed the underlying reason for the strikes. The union, in spite of agreeing not to sue before the contract was signed, turned around and sued board members for their personal assets under a little-known state law.
At that point, board members woke up, fired the school board attorney, and hired the best firm in the state. We won in the end and the teachers union calmed down considerably. On the other hand, board members have been very accommodating to union demands. So, the public didn’t win.
Where was I? Oh, right. Members of Congress, especially the Republicans. Most centrist Democrats have been purged. The rest are totally on board with huge budgets and deficits. Spend now, pay later!
But many, many Republicans campaigned and were elected on platforms calling for lower spending, reducing the deficit, cutting funding for needless or abhorrent government programs. So, why did they cave?
First, you need to realize that the only unions growing in membership are the public employee or as I call them, government employee, unions.
The SEIU, Service Employees International Union has perfected and exquisitely refined the old union tactics – bussing members to “spontaneous” demonstrations anywhere in the US. After all, government employees are everywhere, right?
Teamsters probably schooled the SEIU folks, although to the best of my knowledge, no knees were smashed. Also, I doubt the Republicans were taught how to fight back against these despicable tactics.
Plus, remember the hundreds of FBI files obtained by the Clintons? Don’t you think there were a few Rs in that batch? And don’t you think the Clintons didn’t hand the files over to the Obama administration?
Blackmail and bribery are key Congress-fighting weapons and bureaucrats know how to use them. “I’ve got a subpoena and I know how to use it!”
So, please cut those guys a little slack. We have no idea what they went through in the days leading up to passing the budget.
Why do I think I’m right about this? Well, all you heard all over the TV and radio after that was, “At least there was no government shutdown!” as if that would have been a bad thing!
February 2008 [in Teamster Union history]: Teamsters become the first major union to endorse Barack Obama for president. HT:Teamsters.org