Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Rhode Islandís Blue Civil War (Walter Russell Mead)
The American Interest ^ | December 5, 2012 | Walter Russell Mead

Posted on 12/06/2012 5:37:32 PM PST by neverdem

Rhode Island’s blue-on-blue showdown is heating up. Famed litigator David Boies is taking a 96 percent pay cut to represent the state against recalcitrant public sector unions. The New York Times reports:

Mr. Boies became involved, he said, because he was convinced that Rhode Island’s pension troubles were just the tip of a $5 trillion iceberg of unsecured retirement promises to the nation’s millions of public workers. “This is something that can cripple state and municipal governments at a time when the federal government is, more and more, cutting back on the services it provides,” he said.

Public unions and their allies maintain that state pensions are owed, intact, to their recipients, and that any tinkering with benefits amounts to theft and criminal breach of contract. Boies and others disagree:

“There’s no contract,” he said. “Even if there was a contract, the state, pursuing the public interest, has the right to modify contracts.”

Cities, states and their lawyers around the country are following the case avidly, said Amy B. Monahan, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who has written extensively on legal aspects of employee benefits. Many are wondering whether their own pension systems are sustainable, she said, and if not, how to make them so.

As the blue social model decays, the coalition that was once united behind it is becoming increasingly splintered and parochial. Boies, known for representing Al Gore, waging antitrust battles against Microsoft, and fighting California’s Proposition 8 in federal court, has impeccable bona fides as a liberal Democrat. But in the face of economic realities, he and other blue liberals are being forced to make fundamental choices about their values and goals.

Boies has opted to defend public services for the young and the needy against the asphyxiating costs of state bureaucracy. But where once he might have been called on to face down opposition to these priorities from the Right, he and other post-blue Democrats like Rahm Emanuel, Andrew Cuomo, and Cory Booker find them on the Left.

There is no denying that the Democrats won impressive victories at the ballot box last month. Nevertheless, the internal contradictions of its governing agenda are already beginning to show.

There is a Blue Civil War coming. It will cut deeply.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections; US: California; US: Illinois; US: Michigan; US: Minnesota; US: New Jersey; US: New York; US: Ohio; US: Rhode Island; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: amymonahan; andrewcuomo; california; corybooker; davidboies; illinois; leftsocialmodel; michigan; minnesota; newjersey; newyork; ohio; rahmemanuel; redsocialmodel; rhodeisland; walterrussellmead; wisconsin

1 posted on 12/06/2012 5:37:39 PM PST by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Wow. I have to go to the store and buy a case of popcorn to watch this.


2 posted on 12/06/2012 5:41:27 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Worth a look.


3 posted on 12/06/2012 5:43:58 PM PST by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
“Even if there was a contract, the state, pursuing the public interest, has the right to modify contracts.”

Spoken like a true liberal.

Government can make promises. But it doesn't have to keep them...

4 posted on 12/06/2012 6:10:51 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA; Ignorance on parade.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

These are REDS, not “blues.” Enough of the Orwellian newspeak.


5 posted on 12/06/2012 6:58:06 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: okie01
Government can make promises. But it doesn't have to keep them...

Well, not exactly.

It is a fundamental of republicanism that one legislature cannot bind its successors - if they could, then the People could not exercise their sovereignty by electing representatives.

These public employee "contracts" are not worth the paper they are written on, because they pretend to bind future legislatures to tax and appropriate to pay for them.

The temporary occupants of offices who negotiate these contracts are promising to pay them with money they don't control and can't raise. A mayor or Board of Education that make promises to the teachers union are promising that a freely elected legislature, in 10-30 years, will raise taxes or borrow money, and they can't promise that.

6 posted on 12/06/2012 7:43:19 PM PST by Jim Noble (Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance relieved or not at all.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: fieldmarshaldj
These are REDS, not “blues.” Enough of the Orwellian newspeak.

Look at my keywords, leftsocialmodel and redsocialmodel. Mead calls it the blue social model. Maybe the rot social model is best. Red in German is rot, IIRC.

7 posted on 12/06/2012 7:44:46 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Jim Noble
The temporary occupants of offices who negotiate these contracts are promising to pay them with money they don't control and can't raise. A mayor or Board of Education that make promises to the teachers union are promising that a freely elected legislature, in 10-30 years, will raise taxes or borrow money, and they can't promise that.

You're quite right and I fully concur with your point.

My issue was with Boies' formulation -- which was facile and cavalier. He could've made a more thoughtful statement.

Like you.

8 posted on 12/06/2012 7:49:23 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA; Ignorance on parade.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: fieldmarshaldj
These are REDS, not “blues.” Enough of the Orwellian newspeak.

Bump. It's a Red civil war, Stalinists versus Trotsykites, or Bolsheviks versus Mensheviks and Fellow Travelers.

I wish both sides a vast triumph atop a mountain of bodies in a sea of Red blood.

9 posted on 12/07/2012 1:10:37 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: blueunicorn6

Watch Illinois. It will be the last to go down and it will go down hard.


10 posted on 12/07/2012 4:50:15 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: fieldmarshaldj

Thank you!

That we have so easily allowed the media to upset 80+ years of history associating “red” with the Left, just because they decided to reverse election return maps in 2000, is the height of lunacy.

They need to own their association there.


11 posted on 12/08/2012 4:24:23 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: lentulusgracchus; neverdem

See my previous post to fieldmarshaldj.

Why do no conservative commentators ever have much to say about this?


12 posted on 12/08/2012 4:26:57 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I am so sick of this impressive victory talk

Obama got 51%

He squeaked by


13 posted on 12/08/2012 10:58:08 AM PST by wardaddy (wanna know how my kin felt during Reconstruction in Mississippi, you fixin to find out firsthand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FreedomPoster
Why do no conservative commentators ever have much to say about this?

The nominal conservatives in the lamestream media have been castrated and are confined to cerebral analysis, e.g. David Brooks at the NY Times, George Will at WaPo and ABC, etc. Those who are great at ridicule like Mark Steyn are confined to the right wing echo chamber like this forum, IMHO.

14 posted on 12/08/2012 12:18:01 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: wardaddy

Less than 51%. The non-Obama vote was over 49%, counting the idiotic third party candidates.


15 posted on 12/08/2012 12:32:23 PM PST by WashingtonSource
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wardaddy
I am so sick of this impressive victory talk

Obama got 51%

He squeaked by

"There is no denying that the Democrats won impressive victories at the ballot box last month."

I agree, but their wins in the Senate were impressive. They had 6 open seats, and they picked up 2! That hurt.

16 posted on 12/08/2012 1:14:50 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

The curse of the 17th Amendment...the cities are electing the Senators...just like the President.


17 posted on 12/08/2012 1:19:16 PM PST by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem. This smells strongly of Partisan Media Shilling.
Famed litigator David Boies is taking a 96 percent pay cut to represent the state against recalcitrant public sector unions... Amy B. Monahan, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who has written extensively on legal aspects of employee benefits. Many are wondering whether their own pension systems are sustainable, she said, and if not, how to make them so. As the blue social model decays, the coalition that was once united behind it is becoming increasingly splintered and parochial. Boies, known for representing Al Gore, waging antitrust battles against Microsoft, and fighting California’s Proposition 8 in federal court, has impeccable bona fides as a liberal Democrat. But in the face of economic realities, he and other blue liberals are being forced to make fundamental choices about their values and goals. Boies has opted to defend public services for the young and the needy against the asphyxiating costs of state bureaucracy... he and other post-blue Democrats like Rahm Emanuel, Andrew Cuomo, and Cory Booker find them on the Left. There is no denying that the Democrats won impressive victories at the ballot box last month. Nevertheless, the internal contradictions of its governing agenda are already beginning to show.
This will come as a big surprise to the SEIU thugs. /s

We're being sold something here, don't buy it.


18 posted on 12/08/2012 6:05:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: who knows what evil?
The curse of the 17th Amendment...the cities are electing the Senators...just like the President.

The 17th was popular vote snake oil that promised empowerment and delivered the opposite.

In Michigan we have huge GOP majorities yet Stabenow and Levin can be counted on to knock our legs out from under us from the federal level at every opportunity.

Put them back under the control of the state legislature and they'll be gone in about 20 minutes.
19 posted on 12/08/2012 7:27:32 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek

I would speculate that only Detroit, Flint and Ann Arbor are keeping those two in the Senate...


20 posted on 12/08/2012 7:30:14 PM PST by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

“But Obama won” is one of the union arguments in Michigan.

Tough noogies, he didn’t win in the Michigan legislature.


21 posted on 12/08/2012 7:31:44 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: who knows what evil?

People who think the 17th was a good thing have no understanding of the constitution and why it originally left the election of senators up to the state legislatures.

Senators were to be an extension of the representative state government and once the whole state starts voting for them you lose the representation of the combined groups who voted for state legislators.

Representatives are elected by a popular vote but only of limited numbers of people within their districts. (which is why I still consider the US house to be the “upper house”.)


22 posted on 12/08/2012 7:43:18 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Boies, Rhambo, Coo-mo, and Booker? Post blue? Bwaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! [continues laughing hysterically]


23 posted on 12/09/2012 8:02:45 AM PST by TheOldLady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson