Mickey Kaus, Union Fighter?

For the Washington Post’s Post Partisan Blog Charles Lane’s somewhat irreverent, perhaps even dismissive treatment of the admittedly quixotic Senate campaign of journalist Mickey Kaus painted the would-be candidate as a union fighter. Interestingly, he isn’t far off the mark, which is odd for the fact that Kaus is a pretty straight down the line liberal.

Could Mickey Kaus be the “harbinger” of a new, mildly anti-union Democrat that might replace the sold out, in-the-back-pocket sort of Democrats we’ve seen for decades and decades?

Recently City Journal writer Steve Malanga wrote a great piece detailing how the public employees unions are killing California. “The unions’ political triumphs,” Malanga wrote, “have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector.”

This isn’t just happening in California, of course, but in nearly every state of the Union as well as the federal government. But it is most keenly felt in the Golden State and it is there for which Kaus is running for Senate — trying to topple Barbara Boxer a decades-long seat filler. For his part Lane agrees with this saying, “public-sector unions have a death-grip on state and local government in California — and elsewhere.”

Lane praises candidate Kaus’ focus on breaking that “death-grip” in his campaign.

Still, his protest against union power in California is necessary and important — perhaps a harbinger of more to come from better-financed, better-known politicians, in California and across the country. Even more than financial sustainability, Mickey’s candidacy is about political reform — about breaking up the union-funded party establishment that is not only bankrupting the state but also stifling honest discussion of public issues.

So, here we are at an odd interval when this “right-winger” (that would be me) looks at the campaign of a generally liberal candidate (that would be Kaus) and finds begrudging agreement on the central issue of out-of-control public employees unions.

The SEIU and AFSCME and other public employees unions are a detriment to us all. Public employee unions are antithetical to good government and we’ll take allies even when they are other wise liberal on this point.

So, while we certainly hope that Chuck DeVore wins Barbara Boxer’s seat in the Senate, if the contest must come down between Kaus and Boxer, let it be Kaus.

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