It’s kind of important to understand that this total hostility to the labor movement—the kind of thing that makes it unremarkable when a Nikki Haley flatly tells unions (who are still, so far as I know, legal everywhere) to stay out of her state as though they were crime rings—is relatively new, and very new outside the Deep South. No, Republicans as a whole were never big fans of labor, but you didn’t have to be a union-hater to call yourself a Republican, and a self-proclaimed “moderate” like Rick Snyder would have regarded the fanatics of Americans for Prosperity as troglodytes and political poison. Lest we forget, in 1976, The Sainted One Himself, Ronald Reagan, chose a man (Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania) with a 91% voting rating from the AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education to be his pre-convention running-mate. Yes, this was an audacious move designed to create a mind-bending ideological coalition ticket between opposite wings of the GOP, but the point is there was a pro-labor wing of the GOP that people like Reagan not only had to respect but actually wanted to pull into their tent. All that is way gone, and Chait’s right, it’s why Republicans feel no compunction about picking up the nearest weapon and going for the kill.
Enough with the rhetorical violence, Ed. You’re going to get someone hurt.