While the political left likes to portray tea party protesters as racist neanderthals hell-bent on violent overthrow of the U.S. government, the tea party has nothing on government union members when it comes to protesting. Union leadership can’t bring itself to condemn even the worst excesses of the union protests.
On Sunday’s episode of the NBC public affairs television program Meet the Press host David Gregory gave AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka a chance to condemn the very nasty tone of the pro-union demonstrators in Madison:
MR. GREGORY: Richard Trumka, I want to ask you one thing, again, about the tone of the debate. You’re one of the leading labor voices in the country. Do you condemn the hyperbole, the overstatements, comparisons to Hitler and dictators? Do you think that’s wrong on the part of pro-union supporters?
MR. TRUMKA: We want to–I–look, we ought to–pro, anti-union, it doesn’t matter.
Trumka could have simply answered “yes.” But he didn’t. This is the same Richard Trumka that has said: “I’m at the White House a couple times a week. Two, three times a week. I have conversations everyday with someone in the White House or in the administration. Everyday.” It’s a mystery as to why President Obama would want to be associated with someone like this.
Just after Trumka’s refusal to criticize vulgar behavior, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC likened it to democracy, saying “And I don’t know why you fear democracy so much.”
It’s quite a contrast between the union demonstrators in Wisconsin — and the gallery of the Kansas House of Representatives — and tea party protestors. After tea party events in Kansas, participants pick up their trash — or never throw it down in the first place. Tea party people are courteous to the news media, and even to counter-protesters who heckle them.
Not so with the Wisconsin union protesters. Remember: some of these protesters are teachers, who demand to be treated as professionals.
The behavior of union protesters in Wisconsin is so bad that even some Democrats are concerned about its effect on public opinion. As CBS News reported: “Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate is condemning signs carried by pro-labor protesters that compare Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hosni Mubarak and showed the governor with a cross-hairs rifle sight over his face. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Press Secretary Graeme Zielinski said that Tate and the party ‘absolutely’ condemn the inflammatory signs but says that they are not representative of the majority of the protesters who have taken to the streets in opposition to the Governor’s plan.”
But it’s hard for the average person to make this comparison. The mainstream media’s least-underhanded criticism of tea party participants is to cast them as hapless pawns of some right-wing conspiracy. More radical leftists paint tea party attendees as ignorant racists, and their cameras look long and hard for the one protest sign out of many that provides the evidence they need to “prove” their preconceived ideas.