Granted, Big Labor has not gotten off to a flying start with its campaign to convince congressmen to take away the secret ballot from workers, but now they really have outdone themselves.
The AFL-CIO is publicly saying that it will back Arlen Specter if he will support card check. This is remarkably dumb for at least three reasons. (By the way the last person who so clumsily discussed trading things of value for public acts was Blago.) First, it amounts to publicly admitting Specter isn’t supporting card check now. So much for the boast of 60 votes for cloture. Second, Specter now can’t support it without looking like he traded a vote to get Big Labor’s blessing. Democrats can spin this as some clever move to lure Specter away from the GOP (where card check support is political suicide) but he has never given any sign of wanting to leave the party (nor is there a realistic chance the Democrats want him). And, in any event, he would have to face the same issue of stooginess to Big Labor in the media and eventually in the general election.
Finally, it’s given one more opportunity for business groups to claim the moral high ground. Sure enough, Associated Builders and Contractors National Chairman Jerry Gorski blasts the move in a statement released to the media:
It is difficult to believe that union bosses in Washington think they are able to buy a vote in support of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. This is a desperate attempt on their part to try and shove this legislation onto the American public,” said Gorski.
“Unfortunately, what the AFL-CIO fails to realize is that neither Senator Specter’s nor any other member of Congress’ vote is for sale,” added Gorski
“It is surprising in this era of change that anyone would be brazen enough to suggest a quid pro quo such as this,” said Gorski.
(The notion of a quid pro quo between labor officials and the elected officials they have financed is nothing new, as detailed in this story.)
Now the ball is in Specter’s court. Will he repudiate this blatant attempt to influence his vote and declare he is not for sale? He certainly must do so, or risk a torrent of attacks from his potential primary foes.
And the larger question remains: is Big Labor trying to lose this one?