Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Good for Senator Dick Durbin for stating clearly exactly what the historical stakes are in Wisconsin. His appearance on Meet the Press yesterday is worth quoting at length:
“Let me tell you why what’s happening in Wisconsin, just north of Illinois, goes way beyond the discussion of the Wisconsin budget. If you think this is just about money and the budget, then you might believe Cesar Chavez was just working to get a couple pennies more per pound for grapes or that Martin Luther King was really working for access to hotels and restaurants.
There’s a much bigger issue at stake here. For over 80 years in America, we have recognized the rights of our workers to freely gather together, collectively bargain, so that they could have fairness in the workplace and fairness in compensation. And that is what’s at stake here. It goes way beyond this budget issue. This governor of Wisconsin is not setting out just to fix a budget, he’s setting out to break a union. That is a major move in terms of American history. I believe the president should have weighed in. I think we should all weigh in and say, “Do the right thing for Wisconsin ‘s budget, but do not destroy decades of work to establish the rights of workers to speak for themselves.”
Update: I know some of us were wondering about Dick Durbin’s comment, “I believe the president should have weighed in”. I just looked up the transcript from Meet the Press (here), this is the context:
MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you about what is becoming a federal issue, and that is what’s happening in Wisconsin … President Obama did an interview and weighed in on this. This is what he had to say.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions. And I think it’s very important for us to understand that public employees, they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends.
MR. GREGORY: Senator Graham, did the president do the right thing weighing in to this controversy?
SEN. GRAHAM: (Bla bla la)
SEN. DURBIN: Let me tell you why what’s happening in Wisconsin …. (see full quote above) …. I believe the president should have weighed in. I think we should all weigh in and say…
** So, he was supporting the President for “weighing in” with his comments on Wisconsin, not criticizing him for not weighing in …. if you know what I mean! **
Okay, finally found the video: