Thingish Things

Yesterday Arrives for the New York Public Unions

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 25•11

I remember cringing at Al D’Amato’s television spots in his 1998 race against challenger Chuck Schumer. “Too liberal; too long” they blared, over and over and over again.

The ads rang maddeningly off-key to my ear, and, it seems, to the ears of a majority of voting New Yorkers who ousted D’Amato from the US Senate that year and elected  Schumer instead (Remember those “Who’s the Putzhead Now?” buttons?)

Don’t get me wrong. I thought Schumer was too liberal — and for far too long for that matter. I still do. But that drum had been beaten to death in  every Republican campaign between 1988 and then, and everyone was sick of it. The world had moved on.  The message had not.  It had become, as James Carville might put it, “yesterday.”

The exact same thing is happening with the public service unions today. They’re messaging has slipped into yesterday. The absolute brick wall the New York unions have run into with their call for a “‘Millionaire’s’ Tax” in New York demonstrates it. They have thrown everything they have at  it and they have failed.  Utterly.

The rhetorical equivalent of “too liberal; too long” for the unions has always included some variation of the words:


“Greedy millionaires”;

“Our values”;

“Fairness”, and

“The middle class.”

And on television and radio it always come wrapped in a faux-warm female voiceover.

Over the past three months, that messaging — which made legislators leap to attention for a decade — has been systematically ignored not just in New York, but in state after state.  It has been employed tens of thousands of times at a cost of tens of millions of dollars on television, radio, internet, print, phone bank, and rally-sign communications to zero effect. The ads have become as ineffective today as Al D’Amato’s were in 1998.

The public employee unions have got to be worried. Yesterday has arrived.


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One Comment

  1. […] No one is buying the union scare tactics anymore.  Neither are they buying the intimidation methods.  The reason is that the public stands squarely behind those working to save our states from insolvency.  Even when that means making the tough calls. Joe Citizen gets it. States do not have a revenue problem.  They have a spending problem – and pension solvency problems.  All the placards, chants, slogans, telephone calls, television ads, radio spots, billboards, emails, and pizzas delivered to protesters at state capitols in the night mean nothing in the face of that new reality. […]

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