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The Silence of the Democratic Governors

The Republican Governor’s Association has been all over the Wisconsin Labor Union Battle. Even before all this boiled up, the RGA did a massive ad buy supporting candidate Scott Walker, and directly contributed a huge amont to Walker’s campaign.  The RGA has remained fully engaged in the battle, most recently ginning up a “Stand With Scott” website, complete with suggested Twitter hashtag and quotes from leading Republican Governors supporting Walker.  Here’s the quote from GOP Governor Butch Otter of Idaho:

“For too long, elected leaders like Governor Walker, who are responsible and accountable to our citizens, have been virtually held hostage by the outdated and costly demands of public employees’ unions. We live in a republic, and there is room for all voices to be heard – within the context of an open public process, not in the context of entitlement-driven protests, work stoppages and disruption of the people’s business.”

By which it appears that Butch Otter thinks that public voices should be heard, except for labor unions.

Obama’s counter-message to the RGA has been fairly typical for him–weak, detached, and non-committal.  I really don’t understand why–it seems counterintuitive and directly against his own political interests (not to mention against those of his “base”).

But at least Obama has said something.  The Democratic Governor’s Association–a group that one might assume has opposing or at least differing views from the RGA–has been completely silent.  To my knowledge, DGA Chair Martin O’Malley has issued nothing on the subject.  And a quick visit to the DGA website shows that the DGA has absolutely nothing to say on the Wisconsin battle that has been raging for well over a week, and nothing to say about unions or public employees.  The words simply do not appear anywhere on the site.


So where are our Democratic Governors on this issue?  Why the complete silence from DGA?  Are they in disarray from the shellacking they took a few months back?  Are they simply unaware that an important part of their base is under attack?  Do they think the battle is unimportant?  Do they actually agree with their Republican counterparts that public unions are bad, but don’t want to publicly say so?  Has national Democratic leadership become so bland, cowardly and ineffective that it is simply unable to muster any form of counter argument to the Republicans?

I honestly don’t know the answer.


To his credit, here is O’Malley in a recent CNBC segment in which he does (in response to questions) respond to the public union issue.  He actually does make some good points here.  However, he is not identified as DGA chair, doesn’t speak for the DGA, and my point remains that the DGA has been completely silent on the issue, as have the vast majority of Democratic leaders…

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