Thursday, March 31, 2011

2012 Presidential Candidates On Collective Bargaining

Thousands of voters turned out in Concord today for a protest that is being described as the largest rally at the State House in decades, possibly ever. They came to oppose a controversial budget plan cobbled together by NH House Republicans, which included a last minute amendment designed to eliminate collective bargaining rights for New Hampshire's 70,000+ state workers - a group that includes firefighters, policemen, and teachers.


Judging by this picture and a YouTube video posted by a disgruntled Tea Party activist,  demonstrators began showing up in force long before the official 12:00 PM start time for the Rally for New Hampshire:

Demonstrators also posted updates from the rally live on Twitter: #Rally4NH

With less than a year to go before the New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary, voters may be wondering where the presidential candidates stand on the key issue of collective bargaining. Here's a look at what they have to say:

Michele Bachmann: 

The leader of the House Tea Party Caucus has defended Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plan to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees. 

Unlike some Republicans, Bachmann chose to refrain from demonizing public employees and union members, at least initially:

"It isn't that these unions are bad or evil, it's just that we've got to get real about what we can and cannot afford." 

Haley Barbour: 

File:Haley Barbour by Gage Skidmore.jpgThe Governor of Mississippi, a state where public employees have no collective bargaining rights, has called Scott Walker's plan "realistic".

That's no too surprising given that Barbour traveled to Wisconsin last October to campaign for Walker.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Herman Cain: 

The former CEO of Godfather Pizza spoke in Tea Party love fest for Scott Walker in Madison in February:

Newt Gingrich: 

The former Speaker of the House actively campaigned for Scott Walker during the 2010 election.

In February, Gingrich sent out a newsletter urging supporters to back Walker's plan to take collective bargaining rights away from public employees. 

Mike Huckabee: 

File:Mike Huckabee's band at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Des Moines.jpg
In February, the FOX News talk show host and 2008 presidential candidate urged Scott Walker to "Stay firm, hang in there."

Gary Johnson: 

The former Governor of New Mexico said he is completely in support of what Scott Walker is doing in Wisconsin during an interview filmed earlier this month:

Sarah Palin: 

The former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate turned reality TV star has suggested that the hundreds of thousands of voters who have taken to the streets in Madison to oppose Scott Walker's assault on public employees need to stop kowtowing to "union bosses". After all, her "unions brothers and sisters" should be kowtowing to Sarah Palin. Eye roll!

Ron Paul: 

Asked if he supports Governor Scott Walker's bill to limit collective bargaining for public employees, Ron Paul said, "Yes, I do."

Tim Pawlenty: 

The former Governor of Minnesota has posted a "Stand with Governor Scott Walker" petition on the website of his presidential exploratory committee.

It's just another instance of Tim Pawlenty kowtowing to Americans for Prosperity, the Koch founded and funded group that initiated the original "Stand With Walker" astroturf campaign in late February.

Rick Santorum: 

File:Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore.jpg
The former Senator from Pennsylvania has offered "strong support" for Scott Walker's policies in Wisconsin.

He's even compared voters who oppose Walker's controversial labor bill to drug addicts.

Donald Trump: 

"... collective bargaining doesn't bother me much," Trump said in a March 14th interview with Human Events.

But in February he was signing a different tune, saying he supported Scott Walker.

Mitt Romney:

File:Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 056.jpg
The former Governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential candidate is so head over heals over Scott Walker that he recently donated the maximum amount allowable under law to the Wisconsin GOP. 

Sounds like supporters of teachers and other public employees better get ready to make their voices heard on the presidential campaign trail!

Blog post ©2011 David Anderson for New Hampshire Primary 2012. For reprint information, contact

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