Thursday, April 05, 2012

Tom Barrett February 2011

I hate I said the other day, I have not even made up my own mind about which Democrat that I will be supporting in the primary for Governor. But these unfair smear attacks on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett are just not right nor are they factual. You should be able to state your case without using these kinds of nasty tactics against another Democrat and a longtime ally.

Yesterday Mayor Barrett understandably criticized the misleading video being sent around about him. The video that provides only one portion of his comments to Charlie Sykes in 2011. It conveniently doesn't include the rest of the context, like when he clearly states that he fully supports the right to collectively bargain.

Reports indicate that AFSCME sent around the edited video and apparently they have sent around yet another email that isn't much better factually speaking. Here is one unfortunate example from that recent email:
“Ask yourself this: Why don’t I remember Tom Barrett’s role during those crucial weeks..."
If the people asking this question can't remember Tom Barrett's role during those crucial weeks, allow me to take you down memory lane.

Tom Barrett Comments on Collective Bargaining February 2011

"The budget adjustment bill pits general City of Milwaukee employees against the fire and police unions," - Tom Barrett [2/16/11]

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett voiced strong support Thursday for the state Senate boycott by fellow Democrats trying to save public employees' collective bargaining rights. [MJS 2/17/11]

"Instead of talking with teachers, nurses, and law enforcement personnel to work together on a solution to our budget crisis, Scott Walker is dividing Wisconsinites by attempting to end the collective bargaining rights Wisconsin public employees have had since 1959." - Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/22/11]

"I fundamentally disagree with the attack on the right to organize," - Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/22/11]

Barrett offered a budget-repair bill alternative that removed the attack on collective bargaining [MJS, 2/25/11]

"It's now clear to us that this is an ideological war, and it's a national ideological war, and the purpose of it is to take away the rights of people who work for the government" -Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/25/11]

"It is time we return to our Wisconsin, the Wisconsin where we can sit down at the table and work out our differences..." -Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/25/11]


Anonymous said...

Thank you.

The actions of AFSCME in this episode disgust me. I have not been able to be a union member. I fought for collective bargaining rights to be a union member. But now that I have witnessed this example of the union leaders, seeing why they have alienated many people, I no longer am interested in being in a union.

I will vote for Tom Barrett. I have had the pleasure of voting for Tom for decades, for Congress and for mayor, and I have never known him to engage in this sort of duplicitous, lying behavior exhibited by the union leaders.

They are not working for me. Tom always does.

Cory Liebmann said...

Anon, I would encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I still 100% support unions including AFSCME. They are critical for all of us...union member and non union member alike.

I just don't like some of the recent unfair and inaccurate attacks on Barrett.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am undecided between Barrett and Falk -- I actually know them both -- I like them both. I deplore this attacking of Tom Barrett. Whoever wins the nomination. I will support, period. We all may have our preferences -- but no one should be engaging in these types of attacks. Also, this doesn't turn me against AFSCME or any other union. I just think they are making a grievous error which could lead to Walker surviving the recall election.

Cory Liebmann said...

We certainly do have great candidates to choose from and there is no need to treat any of them as enemies.

I can't wait until this part is over...because then it is time to throw Walker out...all of us...together

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Good work Cory. I echo what Anonymous 6:10pm said. I'm plannning to vote Barrett now (though I reserve the right to change my mind), but I agree wholeheartedly that we must give full-throated support to whoever wins.

AFSCME is not doing themselves or Falk any favors by pulling dishonest attacks like this, because it plays into the untrue "union thug" meme that we know is garbage, but the average outstater might not. There are ways to be critical without being dishonest and damaging.

Anonymous said...

Any credence to the claim that the video was first circulated by Chris Liebenthal?

Cory Liebmann said...

I think it was circulated before he posted it, but I don't know for sure. But the big difference IMO is that Chris asked a number of questions but I don't think that he was actually attacking Barrett. I think that he was legitimately trying to get to the bottom of it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've watched this unfold, and Liebenthal posted it almost a week ago now (last Saturday), about the same time that it went up on Youtube. By that Sunday (but possibly before) it was on the AFSCME site.

And yes, Liebenthal's initial post introducing the video sounded fairly open-minded -- but not his comments on that post, after others questioned it and zeroed in on that, finding the evidence of the originals, and how badly the video took Barrett out of context.

But Liebenthal was steadfast in his reply, a day later, that "the video only dramatized the actual fact of what Barrett said and did," despite others' evidence to the contrary.

Liebenthal also replied that "Barrett still needs to explain this and other things before I could support him," and the same has to be said of Liebenthal -- and of Falk, who ought to have denounced it by now as not the way that we want Wisconsin to continue to go, as it has under Walker.

I agree that Liebenthal was trying to get to the bottom of what Barrett intends -- but Liebenthal did not seem to be questioning, at all, that this is what Barrett had said, i.e., that the "Stephen Richardson" who produced this video (according to the Youtube posting of it) was taking Barrett out of context.

So, who is "Stephen Richardson"?

Cory Liebmann said...

wow...sounds like you were following that part a lot closer than me.

btw, now PolitiFact is getting into it

and the WPPA

This was all so unnecessary /facepalm

Say What? said...

Thanks Cory! This indeed is a vetting process. We must go through this. Given that everything that comes out of Walker's mouth is " BIG UNION BOSSES" the unions that endorsed Falk so early in the game may have played their cards too soon.

Or maybe not and this is all a very serious manipulation of this vetting process. A true conspiracy - a bad cop good cop game that in the end may bring down Walker handily.

Independence from unions may appeal to moderates, independents and some republicans if Barrett distances himself from " THE BIG UNION BOSSES".

Anonymous said...

The unions distanced themselves from Barrett and from the Democrats when WEAC, et al., refused to endorse him in the 2010 campaign. The result: Walker.

After that, I see no reason to rely on their endorsement now.

Gareth said...

In Madison we have a unique breed known as the West Side liberal. These are the folks who love the environment, organic food, animals, support reproductive rights and are all for civil rights as long as the wrong people don't move into their neighborhoods. But they really don't like the working class very much. They don't like those-people stepping out of place because everyone knows that "professionals" are better at running things, right?

Many West Side liberals are Barrett supporters. That's all fine and dandy, but as soon as he announced they fell all over themselves making some rather ugly and unnecessary comments about unions, comparing the leaders to Jimmy Hoffa, implying that they are corrupt. They seem to believe that Unions shouldn't express a political voice unless it is to support their candidate. To call it hypocrisy doesn't do justice to this attitude.

I can't over-emphasize how much this disgusts me. The state Democratic party has a long recent history of using the resources of Unions and their countless volunteer campaign workers to elect Governors who then immediately pivot into a tough-on-labor pose to prove to business interests that they can slap-around workers too.

I'm thinking of Tony Earl and his henchman Howard Fuller and Jim Doyle. I was a state worker. I lived through this bullshit. This was how Tommy Thompson became Governor-for-life.
The Democratic party gutted itself.

Barrett's supporters in Madison are giving me the impression that he is cut from the same cloth. He seemingly confirmed this to me when he welcomed union-busting, school-privatizing, neoliberal Chicago Mayor Rahm Immanuel to Milwaukee and stood by his side, smiling while the sawed-off sociopath attacked Chicago teachers.

Some are fond of saying that Barrett is more electable than a Dane County liberal. Really? When was the last time that a Milwaukee Mayor was elected Governor in this state? I can't think of one. Maybe in the 19th century? Please, come up with a name.

I will vote for anyone over Walker but I am growing increasingly unnerved by the efforts of the antiworker elements within the national Democratic party to blunt a revitalized workers' movement. Perhaps they are worried that this workers' movement will supplant their in-state apparatchiks some day. Honestly, the longer they keep this up, the more they will have to worry about.

There are some Democratic Senators in very safe districts who might want to consider that a primary challenge may be coming to them sooner rather than later. Just keep kicking workers in the teeth while mouthing tired old platitudes and see how long it takes.

I'm going to give them some free advice that that they don't need to hire a campaign conultant for. Stop treating the word "Union" like it is a curse-word. We have entered a new political era in this state. Don't be a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am wondering if Mayor Barrett will be FOR unions, or if he is just talking like it for the next 3 weeks.... Actions speak louder than words, and I'd say some (not all) of his actions really make me think he is not overly pro-union.