Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a problem.
His name has become synonymous with a deep, abiding hatred of all things unionized—a desire to consign all unions to a deep, fiery pit of hell, and absent that ability, to slowly choke them until they choose a quick, fiery death instead of the slow, agonizing one to which they would be subjected.
Scott Walker is, in short, the Voldemort to the unions’ Potter; the Khan to their Kirk.
But when confronted by an equally angry legion of Green Bay Packers fans, Scott Walker had a dilemma.
He could either choose to stand firm on his principles—his dearly held tenets of anti-union rhetoric—which would certainly anger the people of his state even more. He could try to explain to a growing mob of Packers fans, angry at the oh-so-sorry state of NFL officiating that led to their team losing a game they almost certainly should have won, that they actually should be happy that the NFL has hired replacement officials who so blindly robbed their team of its victory. That these replacement officials, whose presence on the job so offends, are actually a valuable tool in the hands of the League as it struggles to cut the officials’ union down to size.
This would almost certainly ensure that most of Wisconsin would hate Governor Scott Walker. Some of Wisconsin already does. This would probably have those people in some sort of Boston-Tea-Party-tar-and-feathering mood, which in Wisconsin is probably somewhat more aptly described as a Milwaukee-Beer-Party-cheese-and-crackering mood. It would be a sad sight indeed at the Miller brewery there in Milwaukee should the people take to the streets in anger. Governor Walker covered in canned spray cheese and cracker crumbs might be more entertaining.
On the other hand, he could turn his back on his union-busting principles and instead support his hometown team, as he took to Twitter to do some days ago. “After catching a few hours of sleep, the #Packers game is still just as painful. #Returntherealrefs,” Walker opined.
Some readers of this no doubt were surprised to see that Walker takes time to sleep, considering that he is viewed in some circles as a sort of undead vampire monster à la Edward Cullen, minus the dreamy looks and glittery skin.
Still, this story quite clearly shows the immense power of a union that goes on strike. It’s enough to bring a nation (a Packer one, at least) to its knees.
Look up. Look down. Now back at me. Where are we? Now we’re in Chicago. Look again: the referees are now teachers. And now Scott Walker’s wholesale abandonment of his principles seems like a missed opportunity. Instead of pandering to his cheese-headed, foam-fingered constituents, Walker could have made an argument for limiting the power of unions to strike. After all, as every Packer fan in America will attest, strikes are hugely disruptive to our normal way of life. The only way to end a strike is to give the union what it wants. Sometimes they deserve it, but it’s entirely possible for a union to go on strike until they get free trips to Disneyland, or a city bus named after every one of their members, or protection from being fired even if they’re bad at their job. So what Walker could have said goes something like this:
Given that industries that have unionized labor are important for American society, and strikes are therefore incredibly disruptive to society, and further given that a striking union can make all kinds of demands that management is then forced to negotiate around or comply with, doesn’t it make sense to limit a union’s ability to strike? Haven’t the ubiquity of unions and the relative unavailability of good replacement workers in many cases shifted the balance of power too far toward labor and away from management?
I don’t know how persuasive this argument would be to Packers fans or Chicagoites or to Americans in general. We may never know now that Scott Walker has morphed into a panderer (or a were-panderer, maybe?). If only (like Paul Ryan) Governor Walker had managed to stay on message.
I’m on a horse.
Nathan Reeves is a 1L. His column runs every other Tuesday.
The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Record.