The Republican Party does not like unions. That's why Republican governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich have worked to dismantle public employee collective bargaining protections. It's also why the party's 2012 platform calls for a national "right-to-work" law which would make it significantly harder for unions to collect member dues. But apparently the GOP isn't entirely anti-union; it is still possible to override their visceral distaste for organized labor and their knee-jerk support for bosses. All you need to do is make football less entertaining.
That's right: in response to the NFL's lockout of its unionized referees, and prompted by Monday night's refereeing debacle, prominent Republican figures have criticized the replacement, non-union workers. Rather than welcome the National Football League's attempts to weaken its workers' union, they have taken a stand against "replacement refs."
Here, for example, is the aforementioned Governor Scott Walker demanding that the NFL "return the real refs." (h/t ThinkProgress)
And here he is again, insisting that, no, really, private sector unions are okay with him:
Being pro-taxpayer doesn't make me anti-union. Besides, private sector unions are often our partners in economic development.— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) September 25, 2012
Paul Ryan temporarily embraced collectivism and trashed the Galtian, individualist replacement refs who took their fates into their own hands by defying the union. Here he is comparing replacement refs to Barack Obama, of all people, and urging Americans to "replace the replacement ref."
The National Republican Congressional Committee apparently found that line of attack to be clever instead of baffling (Who is the "replacement ref president" replacing? George W. Bush? Do they want to reinstate ... George W. Bush?), so they repeated it in a tweet.
On the replacement refs, Obama and the Republicans actually agree: President Obama told the Des Moines Register that while he understands the replacement refs have "been put in a tough situation," he wants the NFL to quickly resolve its contract dispute and "get the permanent refs back."