Where Did Their Love Go?
Asked to explain why the White House would so quickly disparage the labor unions (namely the SEIU and AFL-CIO) after an embarrassing primary outcome, another White House aide said that "folks are just tired," noting that the administration has also taken a heaping of criticism from speakers at the progressive Campaign for America's Future conference taking place this week in Washington D.C.
Is the ghost of Richard Nixon working in this administration or what?
Honestly, this is beneath the White house and they need to put a muzzle on it. Primaries are a legitimate part of the democratic process and no president (or his men) should ever, ever dismiss them publicly or imply in any way that members of the rank and file shouldn't have a voice in these decisions. It's truly embarrassing and offensive to see the Republicans responding with more class to their crazed teaparties than the White House does to its labor union and netroots allies.
I was at the session in which Richard Trumka came down hard on the government for its failure on jobs and Jared Bernstein really did look as though he'd rather be anywhere else on the planet but there. He probably knew that his canned speech touting the administration's list of accomplishments was unresponsive to the questions raised by Trumka and the activists at that conference. I'm sorry that was uncomfortable for him, but that's what he's paid for. Nobody was rude. It was an adult conversation.
Bernstein left the dais as soon as he could and missed the excellent speech from Bob Herbert which was far, far more critical than Trumka's was, and probably would have made him cry. (It almost made me cry.) But it would have been really good for him to hear it.
Two years ago this same conference was the most giddy gathering of Obama worshippers you were likely to see anywhere. I think he took something like 90% in the primary straw poll, far more than in the real primary electorate. The administration should be asking itself not why all these dirty hippies are so unruly and unpleasant, but what happened to all that love? I don't get the sense that anyone's interested in the answer to that question.
And, by the way, going to this length over Blanche Lincoln who is about to sign on to Murkowski's move to limit presidential power to regulate on behalf of the environment is just too ironic. What exactly are these guys fighting for?