They’re both trying to overcome (for them) terrifying cultural trends through brute political force. Why else would the unions fight the absurdly over-the-top “Battle of Madison” over marginal changes in employee benefits and a collective-bargaining limitation that, truth be told, wouldn’t much impact the daily lives of teachers?
Why is the Obama administration willing to hold $4 billion in Medicaid money hostage until Indiana funds Planned Parenthood? Even worse, why was the Obama administration willing to shut down the entire federal government rather than force Planned Parenthood to forgo $317 million in federal funds?
It’s clear that losing union power in Wisconsin or Planned Parenthood funding in even one state represents the crossing of an invisible line for the Left. In 2003, as the American military marched towards Baghdad, the media reported that Saddam had drawn a “red line” around his capital, and if American forces crossed that line, he’d unleash his full (mythical) arsenal. Well, the Left has its own “red lines,” and it’s unleashing its full arsenal as the conservative movement marches on.
Americans are increasingly pro-life. In an era of record deficits, there’s no justification for funding America’s primary abortion mill. Likewise, public patience is exhausted with unions’ endless demands for pensions we can’t afford, job security we don’t enjoy, and work rules unthinkable in modern corporations. Thus, two central partners in the Left’s cultural coalition have their backs against the wall.
Their response? Brute political force, applied against a backdrop of hysterical rhetoric and relentless litigation. Their message is clear: You can’t touch our sacred cows.
Three years ago, Republicans would have caved in the face of this assault, retreating with half-hearted compromises and apologetic rhetoric. But that was before the Tea Party. Now, liberal chants of “Shame! Shame!” sound like applause to conservative ears, Sarah Palin leads rallies in snowstorms, and far from being deterred by union protests, other state legislatures yawn . . . and then kill collective bargaining.
It’s a new day, and now is not the time for Indiana — or any other state — to waver in the face of leftist fury.
— David French is a senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice.