Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jimmy Carter The Union Buster? Big Government Finds Reason To Love The 39th President.

In a March 13th post on Big Government by LaborUnionReport (LUR), an anti-union blog affiliated with the right-wing site, that sought to set the record straight on the decline of union membership and the proper attribution to the cause - according to LUR, the deregulation policies of Democratic administrations are to blame for declining membership, not Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, and that liberals have created a false narrative for the past 30 years.

According to the post, Reagan gets the negative press for busting the unions when it was policies in the Carter presidency that set the ball rolling.  If you read Big Government,  union-busting is not a bad thing, but Jimmy Carter is, and even though it is great to attribute such anti-labor antics on the conservative messiah, right-wingers still can't be satisfied because by trying to correctly identify the root cause of something, they found a reason to like Jimmy Carter and another reason to not like liberals - apparently there is a conspiracy between unions and Democrats to ignore the policies from 30 years ago to trash Reagan.

There were some conflicting points in the LUR post that I would like to address.

LUR claims it is the "left's narrative" that gave Reagan the credit, but later on there is mention that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was one of three unions to endorse Reagan for the presidency. As we all know from conservative websites and media, unions are part of the "left," so why would a Reagan-supporting organization simultaneously bash the very people they endorse?

LUR also points out that a court case that resulted in the break up of AT&T's Regional Bell Operating Companies, although ruled in 1982, was decided by a Carter appointee.

I found this interesting because every time you hear about a ruling from a Democratic-appointed judge, the right cries about judicial activism, but in this instance almost 30 years ago, the right now screams unfair framing of the issue, which is another problem I have with this post - this article attempts to reveal the truth about the decline in union membership and the real role the Reagan administration had in it, as well as the false narrative the left has allegedly pushed for three decades, but if that is the case, then why do so many tea party Republicans praise Reagan's union-busting ways?

Why just last month Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker praised Reagan in a prank call with the Buffalo Beast's Ian Murphy.

"You know, this may seem a bit melodramatic but 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan… had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his Presidency, when he fired the Air Traffic Controllers," said Walker. "To me, that moment was more important, not just for labor relations or the federal budget, that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism because from that point forward the Soviets and the Communists knew that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a pushover."

And what about people like Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity who constantly praise the actions of Reagan?

If there has been a false narrative floating around for decades, then someone definitely needs to tell these right-wingers of the truth about Reagan, but that brings me to my final point - what is the point of the LUR post?

Nothing is changed by the revelations that deregulation during the 70s led to changes in union membership in the subsequent decades - conservatives still love Reagan and still hate Carter.

At the end of the post, LUR gives credit to Carter for being "the nation’s biggest union-busting president in the 20th century."

It makes me wonder if conservatives are trying to stake claim to Jimmy Carter, much like they do with everything else. In case you were wondering , just consider fiscal responsibility, religion, moral superiority, or pretty much every other issue out there - Republicans claim to be the sole proprietor of all things.

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