The Campaign Spot

Tennessee Democrats Call Collective-Bargaining Repeal ‘Fascism,’ ‘Terrorism’

A reader in Tennessee forwards a mass e-mail from Chip Forrester, the chair of that state’s Democratic party . . .

Governor Haslam, please report to the principal’s office.

And bring your tea party friends, too.

Right now right wing extremists are pushing Wisconsin-style bills through the state legislature that would strip away the rights of teachers and eliminate their political freedom.

And they’re calling it “education reform” as if these bills were meant to improve student performance. The problem is: nothing in these proposals improves schools for Tennessee students. Nothing.

Make no mistake about it; this is a political attack on teachers for supporting democratic leaders who have stood up for education in our state. If passed, these fascist measures will silence the voice of teachers working to improve our schools, communities and our state.

Unsurprisingly, Forrester concludes the best way that Tennessee Democrats worried about the impending shift from a constitutionally limited democratic republic to fascism can respond is to give him money. (Somebody ought to send him this book.)

But, wait, that’s only the second-most-offensive comparison of the day!

“He has the power to stop this madness now,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville said to loud shouts of approval at the teachers rally. “Governor Haslam, if you’re listening, please stop this terrorism against our teachers.”

Terrorism! (You know that a certain section of this crowd was, about three years ago, in the streets, marching and protesting that the Bush administration was overhyping the threat of terrorism and complaining that the term “war on terror” was too broad and imprecisely defined.)

I see elsewhere, “‘This is not about budgets. This is a political ballgame. They want to silence the votes of teachers,’ said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.”

Er . . . no. No one’s vote is being taken away from them. The best teachers will probably find themselves earning more as school districts compete to attract them with higher salaries, a phenomenon already seen in the state’s non-unionized school districts. But I suppose lousy teachers might be really reassured by a system that eliminates the possibility of merit pay.


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