Wednesday, November 26, 2008

players in their own right: Stern, Biden, Reuther, Christie

1) Andy Stern on the New Moment
here's the Nation editor KVH swooning a little bit over Andy. it's an interesting opportunity to hear Andy spew forth, and you can always count on Big Purple for some interesting frames:
It's a different world – the free market ideology has been discredited," Stern said. This was "a clear election not on small things." And he argues, "We've redefined the center. Universal health care is now centrist."
2) BIDENLAND! amidst all the appointments, my question is, how do we ensure that my man Joe Biden always has the ear of the pres.?
3)Harold Meyerson puts forth a superior reading of the Big 3 Bailout that doesn't fail to evoke the era or Reuther:

The United Auto Workers’ pamphlet is nothing if not explicit in criticizing the direction of the American automobile industry. New cars cost too much relative to the buying power of the American public, it says. They are oversized. Their fuel efficiency is appallingly low.

This indictment of the Big Three appears in "A Small Car Named Desire," published by the UAW in 1949 (when the Tennessee Williams play which its title invokes was new). It was written by the social democratic labor intellectuals with whom the UAW's new president, Walter Reuther, staffed what was then the world's largest and most vibrant union. During World War II, the union, along with the Steelworkers, had won the first contracts that committed its employers to paying for its members' health care. In the first years of Reuther's presidency, it won the first contracts ensuring that productivity gains would be shared with the workers and devised the first annual cost-of-living adjustments so that paychecks would keep up with inflation. The union also won decent pensions for retirees and coverage of those retirees' medical expenses.

In other words, the UAW did more to build the era of postwar American prosperity, when workers' paychecks kept up with productivity gains, than any single institution save the federal government itself. That's one reason why it's such a target for conservative attacks as the Big Three beg the government to bail them out: In an era when no productivity gains are shared with workers, when workers’ incomes have been stagnating for decades, the UAW still preserves some of the gains that were broadly shared among American workers three and four decades ago.
read on!

4) and then there's NJ US Attorney and soon-to-be GOP candidate for Governor of NJ, Chris Christie, whose made hay through taking a creative, expansive approach to making political corruption cases. in addition to Christie's ingenuity, the Garden State's long-infamous culture of party patronage, etc., echoes neoliberal political culture's common-sense skepticism not just towards government, but towards politicians, and by extension, towards politics itself:

"After 35 years as a defense lawyer, I find it has become far more difficult to defend public officials," says Joseph Hayden, a prominent Democrat who also has been mentioned as a possible successor to Christie. "People simply don't trust them -- and those people become jurors."

Jurors, says Hayden, "don't care about legalities. They care about the smell test. If it smells like corruption, they'll convict."

1 comment:

evil r + b guy said...

Another guy with a way with words, that guy from Jersey.