Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Republican discourse on unions--We don't take sh*t from nobody. You got that, a**hole?

I found this Washington Monthly post, and I'm just amazed at the classlessness of the Republican discourse on unions. But first, some background. Yesterday, the pro-labor groups Americans United for Change and the public workers union AFSCME unveiled a national commercial attacking Republican leaders, in both the House and the Senate, for their opposition to the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan. You can see the commercial here via YouTube:

Now whether you agree with these two groups or not, the commercial is pretty standard in attempting to increase voter awareness, and anger, of the Republican opposition to the stimulus plan, and hopefully direct that anger against the Republican leadership by flooding the phone banks. The groups also planned to air radio commercials targeting 18 House members, from both parties, and three Republican Senators while offering them a "second chance" to vote for the stimulus plan. These targets included House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. You could also see in the TV commercial, a photo of Rep. Cantor with the quote, "Just saying no."

So these two unions have aired a commercial attacking the Republican Party over the stimulus plan. How has the GOP responded to this attack? Very badly. House Minority Leader Eric Cantor sent journalists Greg Sargent and Glenn Thrush a profanity-laced, video response. From YouTube:

What is even more amazing is that Cantor press secretary Brad Dayspring told Thrush that "You could post this [video] as my response."

This prompted Washington Monthly's Steve Benen to ask, "I can't help but be curious what the response would be if a member of the Democratic congressional leadership promoted a video attacking, say, Focus on the Family or the National Rifle Association with a profanity-laced video. I assume it would be a fairly big deal." I'll have to agree with Benen on this. If a Democratic congressmen had attacked the NRA, or Focus on the Family, with this type of profanity-laced video as their office response, not only would the conservative groups be outraged, but also conservative congressmen, conservative bloggers, and Faux News would be endlessly showing the commercial until the next election. And yet Cantor thinks that this is a perfectly acceptable response.

Of course, there is even more to this story. In the comments section of the Washington Monthly post, commenter Sean claims that this was a pro-union parody of the AFSCME union:

It's an old pro-union clip, and the voice is the original voiceover guy for the official version, not a new voiceover. The original voiceover guy wrote an alternate script for the original AFSCME ad and recorded it. Apparently, it was an underground union hit for decades before someone uploaded it to youtube.>>

That's exactly right. My uncle worked for AFSCME and used to pull out a VHS tape w/ both versions, clean and parody, and play them in that order. I hadn't seen the "tha $*&)#!(@! yoon-yun" version in more than 20 years until I saw it online a few weeks ago. And yes, it's still awesome.

Maybe Cantor thought he was doing ju-jitsu - useing a clip in which a union spoofs itself to discredit the pro-stimulus union ads? That approach seems not to have worked for him.

So this video has been out for years. It was created by pro-union workers to spoof the AFSCME as we're the workers that do all the "sh*t work you take for granted." Cantor doesn't even realize that this commercial is a spoof. Is Cantor that much of a clueless moron, or is it that Canto cannot respond to the union attacks against him for opposing the economic stimulus package when this country in a deep recession with over 3.6 million American jobs lost?

If Cantor's clueless response is just one example of how low the GOP has gone in descending to this level of insulting discourse and completely opposing everything the Obama administration and the congressional Democrats will propose on legislation, then how will President Obama expect to get any sort of bipartisan leadership for his agenda if the Republicans are acting like bratty little children?

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