Winning on issues

At Communities Digital News this week, I opined that Democrats and their left-tilting interest group allies are probably hard at work on issues that straddle the line between news and pop culture to identify voters early on who might be receptive to campaign messages next year. The article talks about wages, religious freedom, and police-involved shootings as the primary opportunities.

If it hadn’t been for the Rolling Stone debacle, the broad umbrella (no pun intended) of women’s issues might make the list – and it might still, once the concern over shoddy journalism evaporates.

The point is, grassroots campaigns need hooks that bring in voters who wouldn’t otherwise show up. Whichever side does a better job finding and using them will have an easier time of it next year.

Unions Clamor For Smaller Government

This ad opposing Common Core standards popped up on a few right-leaning blogs this week, advertising the website StopGovernmentOverreach.org:

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Clicking through led to this landing page:

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Who’s behind these right-wing clarion calls to limit expansive government?  The AFL-CIO, of course.  They don’t particularly hide their involvement, but they don’t bang the drum to call attention to their funding either.

It’s actually a smart and mature move.  Opposition to Common Core education isn’t the sole dominion of people who would rather not see teachers held accountable; there are also people who hold principled stances against national standards superseding local control of education.

What would be interesting to know is how the AFL-CIO uses this data.  For an advocacy group, a list of people on the other side who agree with you on certain issues is an underrated asset.  If they can turn other policy positions into small-government arguments, they can go back to that list for future action.

Terrorism. Racism. Unions.

We have heard plenty of criticism of political activists in the past week.  Their methods were likened to terrorists and their tone, we were told, had echoes of the racism.

Surely those critics will be just as vocal in denouncing the California labor unions who have been trying to scare voters away from signing referendum petitions, right?

The Golden State’s finances are anything but, and unions are likely worried about the types of reform movements that gripped other states with budget woes (like New Jersey and Wisconsin).  There are real possibilities that those reforms could be enacted by ballot referenda.  And so, there are not one but two campaigns working to squash ballot measures before they even get on the ballot.

The California chapter of the SEIU’s Think Before You Ink laughably blames ballot initiatives for “silencing the voices of working Californians” through ballot initiatives.  You read that correctly: the SEIU says that allowing voters to vote on referenda silences voters.

More insidious is Californians Against Identity Theft, which tells voters to stay away from petitions on the flimsy premise that signing risks identity theft.  Petitions, of course, require voters to share their name and address – in other words, most (but not all) of the information that can be found in a phone book, if anyone uses those anymore.

CAIT gets more unhinged the more you dig.  Check out this image from the website masthead:

It looks like someone found LSD, Red Bull, and Photoshop in the same weekend and had a bad trip.  And if that’s not enough, listen to their radio commercial, which suggests that felons straight out of San Quentin are patrolling the Ralph’s parking lot, preying on your phone book information.  And they might even send your information to (gasp!) India.  Who knows what those Indians will do with it? the ad intones ominously.

CAIT is comically over the top; it is also a deceitful effort that plays on identity theft concerns and racial tensions to suppress voters from participating in democracy.  The SEIU “Think Before You Ink” campaign is less egregious, but just as dishonest.  Both are founded on the basic premise of sabotaging democracy.

Common Cause certainly knows it’s wrong, though Vice President Joe Biden has yet to liken the organized labor goons behind it to terrorist.

Crossposted at Punditleague.us.

Boeing learns there are strings attached

The National Labor Relations Board is gently suggesting that Boeing should maintain a factory in Washington state instead of South Carolina.  When the NLRB “gently suggests” something, that tends to involve filing a complaint that alleges unfair labor practices.  In this case NLRB felt that Boeing’s relocation to the Palmetto State was retaliatory against the union that represents those who would work in the Washington plant.

As one would expect, conservatives roundly criticized the NLRB for bullying Boeing.  Government, the allies of Boeing would argue, should not direct business practice, nor pick winners and losers in business matters.

But Boeing is hardly a poster child for the ideals of the free market.

In 2010, Boeing spent almost $18 million lobbying the government and over $2.6 million in campaign donations to candidates and PACs.  In return for these efforts, Boeing rakes in over $16 billion in government contracts (second only to Lockheed Martin).  That’s a pretty good return on investment.

Boeing isn’t alone – many companies, especially those in line for large defense department contracts, play the same game.  But when a sizable chunk of any company’s business relies on the playing the political system, the company can’t be surprised when politics winds up getting in the way of business.

As Former President Gerald Ford put it, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

NFL Players getting off message

From the coverage of the worst All-Star Game of any of the major sports, the Pro-Bowl, comes this nugget from game MVP DeAngelo Hall:

MVP DeAngelo Hall had one of his team’s five interceptions and returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown to help the NFC match a Pro Bowl scoring record in a 55-41 victory over turnover-prone AFC. He gets a new Cadillac for his efforts.

“I was just about to buy another SUV,” the Redskins cornerback said, “so to come out here and grab one for free, I like that.”

Yes, he really did brag that he was thinking about buying “another SUV” – not a “new” SUV, but another, as in addition to whatever car or cars he currently has in his fleet.

Clearly, Hall is missing a either a sense of context or the spirit of brotherhood with his fellow union members (and possibly both).

Even the normally-overkilled Super Bowl coverage seems to be overshadowed by news that the NFL labor situation may devolve in the same type of players-versus-ownership animus that has cost significant playing time – and even championships – in each of the other sports over the past 20 years.  Matt Hasselbeck and Antonio Cromartie got into a much-hyped war of tweets over the potential lockout.  (The football world remains shocked that a member of the normally stoic and reserved New York Jets got into such a verbal spat with a fellow player.)

The NFL Player’s Association needs to get their members on the same page or risk losing the important PR war that comes with high-profile CBA negotiations.  One cornerback lashing out at the situation and another openly wondering how to arrange his fleet of cars won’t help it score points with fans.