Jonathan Tasini refutes the Democratic establishment’s condemnation of the Boston Police Union:
So far as I can tell, here is what the police have done: they’ve made some noise and made people uncomfortable. They’ve picketed at the site—oh, lord, they’ve exercised their First Amendment right by demonstrating—and other unionized workers have refused to cross the picket line, delaying work. And, by exercising their rights, the police union and its members have come under attack—and the chattering classes and opinion makers have already started framing this as a test for John Kerry…You remember when, in 1992, candidate Clinton denounced Sister Souljah for a racist remark, thereby—as political lore tells us—solidifying himself in the minds of moderate voters as a guy who wouldn’t just cater to blacks, one of the Democratic party’s “special interests.” I suppose that stance later gave Clinton the courage to find common cause with Republicans in “reforming” welfare, leading to more childhood poverty.
So, let’s start by asking: would you be willing to work without a contract for two years? The cops do not have the right to strike: it’s written in the law as a prohibition. (Well, the truth is that few people really have the effective right to strike in America; a guy named Ronald Reagan took care of that). So, instead, the police are using what little leverage they have, a once-every-four-years convention, to apply some pressure. Is there no shame among politicians who, for political gain, run to the side of policemen when they save lives, from collapsing towers in New York City to the prosaic neighborhood home, yet will deny them a fair living or at least chastise them when they exercise their constitutional right to free speech?
…Yes, this is a test for John Kerry. The Democratic Party wags are worried about the message the protesting police will send to the rest of America. If his campaign is truly about a “Real Deal” for Americans, he could start right here by telling the mayor to negotiate in good faith with the union, and call off the Democratic party hacks who want Kerry to show his political manhood at the expense of workers.