Rocky Waters in the Dem-Union Love Affair
I’d like to believe reports that big labor is in throes of disappointment with Obama and the Democrats:
Labor’s high hopes for major gains under President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress have dimmed, raising fresh doubts about union leverage even in the best of political times.
I’d suggest that the “best of political times” is not likely to coincide with the worst of economic times, which has surely limited the Obama administration’s ability to hand over the keys to the treasury. After all, the Democrats had to use much of the political capital they’d allocated for labor by preserving the jobs of public-sector union members under the deceptive guise of “stimulus.”
I love this part, too:
Some labor experts say unions have come up flat in mounting an effective liberal response to conservative “tea party” activists who helped Republican Scott Brown win the special Senate election in Massachusetts to succeed Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, who died last year. An AFL-CIO poll showed that 49 percent of union households supported Brown.
“There’s been no indication that there’s muscle behind their money,” said Leon Fink, a labor historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “There was no equivalent mobilization for public works or for a progressive health care measure.”
Not to give anything away to the opposition, but the tea parties’ success manifestly isn’t a story of superior organization and “activism,” as generally understood. The unions’ problem on this count may be observed a layer below the surface of the above paragraphs: The unions are trying to mount a “liberal” response when many of their members have different ideological tendencies outside the direct application to their careers.