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Blue Civil War
Obama Makes the Trains Run on Time

Over the weekend, President Obama signed an executive order to end a transit strike in Philadelphia less than 24 hours after it began. The strike “threaten[ed] to snarl the Monday commute for thousands in the Philadelphia region”, as the WSJ reports:

President Barack Obama created a presidential emergency board Saturday under a provision of the Railway Labor Act and appointed three arbitrators to help resolve the dispute. Train service was restored Sunday. […]

 The unions are seeking a 3% pay enhancement they say is equivalent to a pension improvement that 6,000 other unionized workers received in 2009. Septa has balked, saying the other workers contributed more out of their pay for the improved pension benefits.

The President chose to intervene on behalf of the consumers of government services, rather than those reliable Democratic supporters, the unions. This is just another battle in the blue civil war, as we call it: many of the Democrats’ constituencies have contradictory interests, and the party’s coalition is beginning to look shaky. As Rahm Emmanuel discovered in Chicago, when public-sector unions fight the taxpayers, it’s the Democratic Party that bleeds.

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  • Thirdsyphon

    Apparently the Democrats are better at managing their intra-coalition conflicts than the Republicans are.

    • qet

      That is because their conflicts do not involve principles, only quantities. The GOP faction fight is one of principle.

      • schillmacguffin

        I’m not so sure about that. Collective bargaining and the right to strike are a “principle”, as is government intervention in business disputes for the “public good”. I agree with Thirdsyphon that there’s a conflict here.

        I see the difference as being that the Democrats are more strongly “tribal”, and willing to remain loyal to “the brand” regardless of how far it strays from the reason they chose it in the first place. Since the Tea Party, more Republicans have gotten fed up with such things and are demanding more substantive adherence to principle, or at least more persuasive lip service.

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