As a comedian, one of the skills I must employ nearly every day is that of distillation: refining and wording a concept into a quick, easily digestible form. It's one of the reasons I tend to prattle on in my diaries and in my non-performing speaking (freedom has it's price). Anyway, I've always placed great value in others' ability to do this same thing, condensing and articulating, and it's of particular value when engaging in a debate over a complex concept. When we refer to this on the Republican side, we call it "talking points", and I always appreciate it when people supply counter-talking points to refute some of the more egregious silliness that our Foxed-in-the-head brethren and sistren come up with.
As a public service, then, here are a few "talking points" about the current situation in Wisconsin (and elsewhere), with answers/refutation. I hope it helps.
(Note: despite the title of the diary and my occupation, I'm largely trying to provide a smidgen of useful information rather than be funny. Unless you laugh at something I wrote, in which case I was making a joke. Heh.)
Talking Point #1: Collective Bargaining and Unions aren't rights.
Answer: Tell that to the 1935 U.S. Congress, who passed the National Labor Relations Act, protecting the right to create labor unions and engage in collective bargaining.
TP #2: Why should I pay for state workers and their blah blah blah...
Short Answer: You're not.
Long Answer: Okay, maybe you are, but only in the sense that you're also paying for Governor Scott Walker's salary and every other government employee's. Also, you're paying for the $1 trillion project to produce the $112 million F-35 Bat-Plane that still doesn't work and the $33 billion handout to the oil companies who have set records with their profits. Where should we be cutting spending, again?
TP #3: You bitched about the Republican logjam in the U.S. Congress for two years. Now you're cheering the Wisconsin Democratic 14. What's the difference?
Answer: There are two obvious differences. One is that while the 14 Wisconsin Democrats have done this as an absolute last resort in order to let a bill that was being fastracked be read and debated, the Congressional Republicans made the Policy of "No" their first and only option and were very open about this fact. The second is that while President Obama and Congressional Democrats - to loud and harsh criticism from the left - have repeatedly negotiated and compromised with Congressional Republicans, Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans have repeatedly stated that they have no intention of negotiating or compromising whatsoever.
TP#4: Why shouldn't state workers share the burden of balancing the budget?
Answer: They already are. They pay taxes just like you do. They have already offered the cuts Governor Walker asked for. What the bickering is about now is whether or not they ever get to ask for anything else in the future, long after this "budget crisis" passes. If you'd like things to be so equal, why don't you sign a contract stating that your pay and benefits may never be increased, only decreased?
TP#5: State employees make too much; they make more than I do.
Answer: I'm not even going to bother defining "red herring" for you. Instead, I'm going to ask the obvious question: So what? Should everyone make as much or less than you do? Shut up, communist.
TP #6: State Employees don't work as hard/long as I do.
Answer: See Talking Point # 5, add homophobic joke over use of long/hard (optional).
TP # 7: I work in blah blah blah, and I've seen blah blah bad state workers blah blah blah...
Answer: That is what's called "anecdotal evidence", and it stands up in a grown-up argument about as well as "made-up evidence". Look at the facts before you draw any conclusions.
TP #8: Even if the state employees don't give up a red cent or any rights, there's still a budget crisis, or at least a projected shortfall.
Answer: OMFG, a cogent argument! Are you a lefty disguised as a righty in order to propose an argument that wasn't based on fairy dust and magic just because you felt bad for the morons who can't argue a point even if they have one? Yes, it looks like Governor Walker has indeed taken a projected shortfall of $137 million and turned it into a shortfall of $258 million. But his greed, soullessness, and idiocy won't conjure up $258 million, so it has to come from somewhere. I know! Start with repealing his $117 million giveaway to corporations. Then, reverse his decision to decline $70 million in federal transit funding. Let's see... that puts us at $71 million in the hole... not quite balanced, but at least now there's now 191 million less reasons to take away state workers' rights.
TP #9: Hi, I'm calling from the... uh... Headquarters of... uh... Lazy-- uh, Liberal People and uh... Unions and stuff, and I'm wondering if you plan to get violent at the protest--
Answer: Nice try, Mr. Koch, but the prank-call-that-embarrasses-the-official-with-his-own-words trick only works once, and we got there first.
TP #10: Ian's Pizza sucks.
Answer: Quit hatin', Pizza Hut executive.
You get the idea. Maybe someone who is more wonky than I and has been up to their armpits in this brouhaha can come up with a more thorough, less silly version of this idea so that Wisconsin residents can go about informing the mislead. On Wisconsin!Updated by lotusmaglite at Wed Mar 9, 2011, 02:46:49 PM
UPDATE: Great googly-moogly! I posted this diary, watching it drop off the Recently Recommended list out of the corner of my eye while my wife and I watched Scrubs (don't hate, now), and went to bed. Lo and behold, the fabulous Rescue Rangers strike again, and I get my first ever Rec List entry! Thanks bunches and bunches! :)