Thursday, March 09, 2006


by Tom Bozzo

Local edition: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

The State Journal reports proposed Madison sick leave ordinance was changed in an attempt to mollify critics and reduce the potential cost to small businesses. Among other things, the revised proposal reportedly allows employers to meet the leave requirements by rescheduling work rather than necessarily offering paid leave. The Chamber's reaction?
"It's still clearly a mandate and that's not acceptable," chamber President Jennifer Alexander said of the revised proposal.
I've previously noted that the Chamber's position is totally incoherent, insofar as the infamous study it commissioned contended that offering sick leave is good for businesses... but a "mandate" would be Bad Nasty Bad. Plus it wouldn't be fair for government to level the playing field between smart businesses that offer leave benefits and the Neanderthals that don't. You follow that? I am not especially kidding about this line of argument.

The real message, of course, is "Chamber to workers: screw you!"


National edition: Jacob Weisberg

Calling Ann Altmouse! You're being parodied again.

This is a classic phoning-in of the Big Media metanarrative on the Democrats. Is the problem that George W. Bush is metaphorically driving a Ford Excursion through the Harbor Tunnel while talking on a cell phone and therefore failing to notice the gasoline tanker stopped in traffic just ahead? No, it's those darn Democratic party leaders.

Sure, they may have saved us from Social Security and tax "reform" by holding their caucus together in a government (h/t Ken for the pointer to another Toles gem) that, of course, gives them exactly zero chance of enacting any major legislation, but do they have to be so shrill and partisan about it? Or maybe they need to be more partisan? Not to mention never say anything that might be the least bit off-key or possibly unsupported by the evidence. And that Howard Dean, he's so crazy. And partisan!

I'll grant that a coherent program from the Democratic leadership would be nice. But what does Weisberg offer? An ejaculation of straw men:
Democrats need to demonstrate they won't just cut and run from Iraq, that they see security as more than a civil liberties issue, and that their alternative to tax cuts isn't just more spending on flawed social programs and unchallenged growth in entitlements.

Via Phantom Scribbler, who I wish had found it in herself to distinguish Weisberg's bullshit from serious stories about our actual sexist theocratic authoritarian overlords.
Well, honestly, I do think that it's a problem that Bush's ratings are completely in the toilet and there's no Democratic voice or vision to capitalize on it. I don't agree with Weisberg's idea of what Democrats need to do, but I do agree that the three Democratic leaders are not doing much to ensure that voter dissatisfaction with the status quo translates into winning back the House or Senate. And that scares the crap out of me. If we can't turn things around soon, we ain't never going to.
One of the more interesting things I've seen as the wider blogiverse has picked this up is this at Daily Kos, which serves as a useful reminder of how high the effectiveness-to-substance ratio was for the Republican Contract With America. So I tend to agree that some notionally positive proposal would help with the narrative.

On the other hand, there are problems that (1) the Weisbergs fo the world ridicule Dean, Pelosi, and Reid for doing what they can do rather than egg them on, and (2) the Washington cocktail party viewpoint is that anything that strays from market fundamentalism is pie-in-the-sky, whether it really is or not. Bottom line is that something from the Republican playbook that might help the cause would be to beat the crap out of fratricidal journamalists like Weisberg until they're scared of crossing us, and not just the wingnuts, too.
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