Chicago and Wisconsin: What's the difference?

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Chicago teachers' strike Chicago teachers' strike Photo Credit: AP photo

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Spin Cycle

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The Chicago teachers are pulling a rare public strike. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, of Obama chief-of-staff fame, is at odds with the city's union, so some of this dispute is viewed through the prism of the upcoming presidential election. On the Newsday op-ed Web site Dale McFeatters writes his analysis of the situation, saying the quicker this ends, the better for Obama.

For discussion's sake: Isn't it also interesting how the rhetoric shifts with categories? In neighboring Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker drew unanimous denunciation from Democratic noisemakers for his efforts to gut collective bargaining. Democrat Emanuel's actions in Chicago may not be quite comparable -- tough to guess from here -- but he's also now in the difficult position of trying to carve out a municipal budget in hard times up against labor protest.

Given the political mood of the past couple of years about public-sector employees, someone in the White House might start seeing this as an opportunity to spin this to say, "See? We Democrats are willing to go to the wall for fiscal responsiblity," or whatever. It'll be interesting to track how this gets resolved for implications for teacher unions all over.

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