In March 2011 while protesting at the Wisconsin State Capitol I wondered why President Obama did not find the collective bargaining issue one that needed a larger voice–namely his–and why Air Force One was not fueled and ready to head to Madison. Over a year later I am–to be honest–stunned that not one administration heavy hitter–and that would include Vice President Biden– has appeared at any time to lend support.
Wisconsin is, after all, the political ‘ground zero’ in the nation this year, and not to have had any direct support from the Democratic White House in the form of a living soul that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the workers and voters of this state is rather shocking. More bluntly, I am disgusted.
The citizens of the Badger State took to the streets, stood in the cold and snow, and marshalled their resolve not to allow the political chicanery of Scott Walker to continue without a fight. First with protests, and then with a highly organized recall petition effort the voters of this state have made a statement about the need to understand why collective bargaining matters.
How that message and the passion that has been employed these past many months has gone without a response from the White House is most frustrating. Unions are a leg of the Democratic stool of politics, and to have such a withering attack take place on worker rights without a tough in-your-face response from President Obama at a rally in Madison is shocking to contemplate.
While I can make the devils argument for why the President had nothing to gain from entering the battle in Wisconsin, that does not dismiss what I think is the moral calling to stand with your brothers and sisters when they have been attacked for purely partisan purposes.
President Obama is not just the president, he is also the leader of the Democrats. As such, he has a duty to stand up for the principles and causes that are at the core of the party. He has failed to do that for those who marched in cold weather, walked in rain for recall signatures, and have endured summer-like heat to knock on doors in an attempt to get voters to the polls.
The least President Obama could have done is attend one barn-burner of a rally in Wisconsin, and energize the base in a way that only he can.
The November election will not be as smooth in this state for him as a result of his glaring absence. There are many who will not forget he neglected us when we needed him most.