Last Monday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ironically asked his readers why voters are so ill-informed.
Eight days later, MSNBC's resident Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow, while chatting with the "Tonight Show's" Jay Leno about what's going on in Wisconsin, demonstrated perfectly why so many in our country have little factual knowledge of current events (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JAY LENO, HOST: Here’s my question. If the Democrats came back and they voted, well, would they lose?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Yes.
LENO: Okay, well if that's the will of the people of Wisconsin, to be devil's advocate, I mean if, if they voted this man in, this is what he wanted, the majority of the people want this…
MADDOW: What they're, what they're saying is the thing that, the reason that they have left is because it is a reasonable demand, no matter how big your majority is, it is a reasonable demand to say, "We want to renegotiate the contracts under which people who work for the state work." It is not a reasonable demand to say, "You will never be negotiated with again and we are taking away your rights."
Absolute nonsense. Let's first understand that public employee unions were largely illegal in this country until the 1950s. The first state to allow such unions was Wisconsin in 1959.
For Maddow to tell Leno and his large television audience it is not reasonable for Wisconsin to limit its public employees' ability to collectively bargain is totally false. States indeed do have such authority whether Rachel and her ilk like it or not.
Furthermore, Gov. Walker's plan does not eliminate workers' rights to bargain. It would just limit such rights to wages. But that wasn't the end of Maddow's idiocy:
MADDOW: For the government to say, I mean, it’s kind of amazing. For the government to say, "We the government know best. And you guys want to be in a union? We're taking away your rights to be in a union, we're taking away that choice from you, because the government needs to do what it wants and you guys are getting in the way."
Nonsense. Wisconsin is not trying to take away the right of its public employees to be in a union. It is instead quite legally trying to reduce what its employees have the right to negotiate under collective bargaining.
This is a distinction that press members like Maddow have been missing and misrepresenting for almost a week.
But there was still more idiocy to come:
MADDOW: For the Tea Partiers to come in and say, “You know what? Government does know best. The people ought to lose this right, because government needs something here." When did that become a conservative idea? I mean, talk about a big government. So to see the Tea Partiers here taking the side of the government taking away the people's rights, I think calls into question the whole idea of conservatism.
What Maddow and the rest of her ignorant ilk don't understand about the Tea Party and conservatism is that such folk believe they are the government.
As the Preamble to the Constitution states, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
One of the core principles of Tea Partiers and conservatives is to reduce government spending. As governments operate exclusively with our money, and public sector unions exist to appropriate more of our money for themselves and their employees, it is very much in the interest of Tea Partiers and conservatives to limit the collective bargaining power of people that de facto work for us, as their ability to do so takes money away from us.
Beyond this, we the people find it very displeasing that our employees have better health insurance and pension plans than we do, and don't want to contribute more of our money to balance state budgets allowing this condition to continue.
There are currently 22 million people in the public sector. This compares to 108 million in the private sector.
This means there's five times as many people in the private sector than the public sector, and as it is our tax money paying the salaries and wages of those working for the various governments around this great nation, we should certainly have a say in how it is spent.
As such, Tea Partiers and conservatives support what Walker is doing because it should prevent taxes from being raised in Wisconsin thereby establishing a similar precedent in other states hopefully saving all right-thinking people money across the fruited plain.
That Maddow doesn't get this is by no means surprising despite her Ph.D. in politics.
When she utters these half-truths to her million sycophantic devotees on MSNBC, that's one thing. But when she goes on the "Tonight Show," a comedy program with about four million viewers, and spreads this kind of nonsense without any counter-balance of facts available for the unsuspecting observer, it adds to the public's ignorance of current events.
And Krugman wonders why voters are so ill-informed.