“The politics of envy won in Wisconsin and will now accelerate nationwide”

I’m at Netroots Nation today, so blogging will be light. But like many I had eyes for Wisconsin last night and this morning, and thoughts as well.

I spoke with a union advocate (another early arrival) who didn’t want any potential loss to be ultimately tagged “anti-union.” I think on reflection she will get her wish. Some will call it that, but I think the winning analysis goes to Sean-Paul Kelley, who tweeted this morning:

Make no mistake about it: the politics of envy won in Wisconsin and will now accelerate nationwide.

The argument goes like this —

“Those (union) guys have pensions paid for by your tax dollars. Do you have a pension? Hell, no. And now, in a time of “austerity for all” they won’t give it back, or pay for it themselves. Da bastahds. Let’s get ‘em.”

In other words, taking down the unions is the sweet side-effect for Our Betters, who really do want to destroy the last vestiges of trade unionism in the U.S. (For an excellent read on how the unions are not helping, see the electoral-minded Howie Klein. Brilliant take on this.)

But the real winning argument for the voters, as Kelley correctly says, is “the politics of envy.” Watch for it, even in the CNN-type coverage.

But it’s not envy of the rich — that’s not what “good peasants” do (to borrow from Matt Taibbi).

It’s envy of the poor slob next to you, the one you closely resemble, who has the extra nickel you don’t. His pension (on your dime, mind you) is that extra nickel.

This will swirl in lefty brains for a while, and I’m sure smarter people than me will beg to differ (heck, even I — who can often be smarter than me — may soon disagree). But as a first take, I give the nod to Sean-Paul, who nails it.

See you amongst the ‘Roots,


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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