published Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Regrets: They'll have a few if they keep on demonstrating

As Wisconsin's teachers were helpfully illustrating why government workers shouldn't be unionized, a woman at the Capitol in Madison held this sign: "Don't make me Regret wanting to TEACH."

I promise you, lady, if you ditched your students to stand in some protest, I for one already regret that you wanted to TEACH.

But you're welcome to come along for the ride.

How do the teachers unions in Wisconsin not get that their zeal for conducting mass demonstrations over multiple school days is itself proof that they're unfit for collective-bargaining rights? When they go on strike, they are aligning themselves not against some faceless government but against their students and against the people of Wisconsin, who pay their salaries -- including the sick leave the teachers used to attend the rallies.

They seem not to grasp that in the minds of non-government workers who watch them holding signs equating Gov. Scott Walker with Hitler (that is, when protesters weren't busy Tweeting for his death), there course a number of profound thoughts:

• Don't those people have to work for a living?

• Why can't they do their demonstrating on weekends (as the tea party counter-protesters did) instead of holding education hostage?

• How much are state residents already spending per pupil, only to be lectured constantly on how cheap and pathetic they are for not surrendering more of their wages?

But hey, maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe the Big Labor Democrats have tapped a succulent artery of public sentiment. Maybe unemployed waiters, truckers and seamstresses don't resent the fact that they never had a stimulus backstop to ensure their own jobs. Maybe they find it inspiring to be told to prop up government employees' spiffy union contracts.

And maybe Justin Bieber will spontaneously produce a winsome album entirely in Aramaic while pheasant hunting in Tampa.

At any rate, by welcoming President Obama's intervention in a state labor dispute (for a gold-plated "Duh" sign, guess whose side he's on!), Democrats apparently believe voters will flock to them like horseflies to sunblock in 2012.

Their platform? Asking the 93.1 percent of private-sector workers who haven't joined a union why we selfishly object to turbocharging the wages, benefits and pensions of the 36.2 percent of mollycoddled government workers who have.

That should make for an engaging campaign at a time when Americans are using everything from hi-fi megaphone to steroid-enhanced carrier pigeon to demand spending cuts.

But who are we to season the Democrats' Kool-Aid with the bitter caffeine of reality? If they could get McGovern elected, I guess the sky's the limit.

Oh wait ...

Washington, Lincoln ... Obama?

Was anybody else less than electrified by that mealiest of all Golden Delicious holidays -- Presidents' Day -- last week? (Don't get me started on where the apostrophe goes, or whether it should even have one.)

Could anything be as insipid as having to accord Barack Obama the same appreciation as George Washington? Uh, yes: having to commemorate Herb Hoover in equal measure with Honest Abe.

Couldn't we drop this politically correct, undifferentiated, bipartisan blob of an observance altogether, seeing as how we can no longer be bothered to mark Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays individually?

And while we're at it, may we please shorten the name "Washington, D.C." to "D.C.," since these days the capital is a slap in the face to the father of our country?

Win two for the Gipper

It didn't work.

"It" being the Texas-size attempt to vaporize Ronald Reagan's legacy in the days leading up to the 100th anniversary of his birth.

I haven't consulted my abacus, but I think there were actually more Reagan-was-no-friend-to-conservatives articles and TV news segments prior to his birthday Feb. 6 than even the slew of Easter stories that cynically ponder, year after year, "Who was the real Jesus?" -- stories predicated on the unexamined assumption that Newsweek or Time is more competent than the Bible to tell us that.

Alas, the Reagan bashers seem to have created the opposite effect from the one intended. A Gallup poll in early February asked, "Who do you regard as the greatest United States president?"

Finishing first was -- cue the sousaphones, please -- Reagan! About half again as many respondents picked him as picked Bill Clinton, and four times as many selected him as selected Barack Obama.

Debate the results all you like. (Washington would have been my choice.) But for giving liberals convulsions, nothing is more effective than reminding them that America loves Reagan.

Except mustering your spookiest voice and whispering, "PAAA-liiin."

To reach Steve Barrett, call 423-757-6329 or e-mail

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librul said...

Sunblock draws horseflies, who knew? At least there was SOMETHING worthwhile in that screed!

February 27, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

In your criticism of the teachers' taking time off to protest when they should have been teaching, in your self-inflated opinion, Mr. Barrett, you obviously failed to notice that there have been at least as many students as teachers joining in the protests. It's not like they have been sitting at their desks in their classrooms feeling neglected while their teachers are off selfishly indulging in the "whim" of making a stand for their rights.

The fact that the protesters are such a diverse group of people stretching across party lines should be an indication to you that there is something going on here that is substantive and much deeper than just liberal vs. conservative or Democrat vs. Republican. You are on the wrong side of the fence on this one, sir, and it would be good if you would think for yourself once in a while instead of mouthing the same old worn out right wing drivel that you always do.

February 27, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
acerigger said...

Tennesseeans seem to consistantly vote against their own best interests and Barrett is only doing his part in keeping that "ignorance factor" alive.

February 28, 2011 at 6:11 a.m.

I believe Barrett is a "compensated endorser" of the right. A salaried troll.

February 28, 2011 at 4:26 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Steve Barrett said: "I promise you, lady, if you ditched your students to stand in some protest, I for one already regret that you wanted to TEACH."

I can think of a few other lessons that students might be learning from the public workers in Wisconsin – very important lessons. In real life, it is sometimes necessary for people to stand up for their rights against injustice – even teachers.

Another lesson relates to the subject of political rhetoric vs reality. The governor in Wisconsin talks budgetary needs rhetoric, but the budgetary evidence suggests it’s more about a governor’s personal drive for political power over others.

The third lesson relates to the subject of the news media. Students will learn that some news articles report basic facts, some reflect well thought out opinions, and some articles like Barrett's "Regrets" fall more into the hateful proganda category.

March 2, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.

I wish Reagan had a birthday every month.

March 2, 2011 at 11:04 p.m.
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