CBS News’ Mark Knoller passes along these comments, verbatim, from Pres Obama’s speech to the nation’s governors this morning:
I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon.
We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These times demand it.
We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We’re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don’t properly reward that bravery.”
Indeed, Mr. President, it’s awful when some politician, not knowing all the facts, declares from his high-profile perch that some cops somewhere “acted stupidly.”
Or when a politician characterizes people in government who are just doing their jobs as “enemies” or “hostage takers” or accuses them of taking money from foreigners without evidence. Or when they accuse doctors of taking out people’s tonsils out of greed, or cutting off legs to make money. Or the endless attribution of our economic woes to “Wall Street greed.”
Considering how the president himself has denigrated and vilified cops, opposing lawmakers, doctors, the business community, and Wall Street… why should public employee unions be given some sort of special rhetorical protection? What makes them special and above criticism? What the president is calling for is a de facto societal limit on the First Amendment, an unwritten rule that these particular groups – that just happen to be one of his closest political allies – be somehow exempt from the traditional give-and-take of American politics.
Notice, of course, that Obama insists upon the stances and decisions of the leadership of the unions of public employees amount to an attack on the employees themselves.