Neocon Dreams

Only in the overheated neoconservative fever dream fantasyland of the Washington Post editorial board is union busting a sensible solution to police brutality and other excesses. Charles Lane* does the heavy breathing today.

Among the factors that contribute to police impunity, where it exists, the political power of police unions belongs near the top of the list. Police unions have lobbied fiercely against civilian review boards and other reforms aimed at curbing alleged brutality; they demand elaborate procedural protections for officers accused of abuse.

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Meanwhile, many Democrats advocate criminal-justice reforms. But, since their party depends on teachers unions and other civilian public-sector unions, they support mandatory dues payments — which fund police unions’ resistance to criminal-justice reform.

He tried to slip it by, but did you notice the quick single reference to “teachers unions”? Charles Lane doesn’t give a rat’s ass about police brutality. Never has, never will. And public sector union busting won’t stop police abuses in any event.

Such union busting, however, will advance the cause of education reform of the sort advocated by profit-seeking corporations and sadly embraced by the Obama Administration. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a critical plank of Washington Post Neoconservatism that Charles Lane very much cares about. He’s just not honest enough to say it like that, so he tries to wrap it in the flag of today’s (literally) burning issue. I call bullshit.

* Last year, Lane interviewed me for the Post endorsement for delegate. First words out of his mouth:  “you have a tough hill to climb with us, we don’t like gerrymandering, you drew the map for the Maryland redistricting plan.” Now I have litigated election law cases, winning more than a few, but (1) I invariably am on the other side from the State, (2) I have publicly opposed gerrymandering and called for an independent redistricting process for years, and (3) the idea that Martin O’Malley, Mike Miller and/or Mike Busch would let me draw a map of anything for them is just preposterous. Plus, I actually sued to invalidate the map on behalf of two Baltimore County senators. I told Lane he was completely wrong. A long silence ensued. Then: “Oh, OK. Um, well then. What else do you want to talk about?” Needless to say I didn’t get the endorsement - clearly based on the bizarre and unfounded assumption that I drew a map I actually opposed in principle and sued to alter. Not sure I’ll even take the call next time.