Employee Free Choice Act-- Will Obama Roll Over Or Stand And Fight?
The only hope
John Ensign (R-NV) may be a boob who is rarely right about anything, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. With the GOP and their union-busting allies at the Chamber of Commerce and WalMart ready to fight to the death to prevent the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, Ensign explained why its so crucial for the Republicans to defeat this pro-working family bill. He says the bill "could determine the character of the senate for decades."
"It would make Republicans the minority party for the next 40 to 50 years," said Ensign of the EFCA.
Ensign argued the legislation would bolster union ranks and union dues, which could then be funneled to Democratic campaigns.
"Democrats would have a huge fundraising advantage for elections from now on," said Ensign.
So not only will the bill help rebuild the middle class (and the economy), it will also help the Democrats politically. A week or two ago we looked at the past attempt to pass the bill (EFCA). It passed overwhelmingly in the House, where 13 Republicans joined all but two of the most reactionary Democrats (Dan Boren and Gene Taylor) in voting for it. And in the Senate the GOP filibustered it to death, 48 Republicans joining in that effort. The only Republican willing to stand up for working Americans to end the filibuster was Arlen Specter (R-PA). Tim Johnson (D-SD), a co-sponsor, was in the hospital and couldn't vote. Several of the anti-working families Republicans who joined the filibuster were defeated-- or have retired and been replaced-- by Democrats: Wayne Allard (CO), Elizabeth Dole (NC), Pete Domenici (NM), Gordon Smith (OR), Ted Stevens (AK), John Sununu (NH) and John Warner (VA). If the vote were to take place today there is every indication that it would be 59- 40. The decisive vote comes down to Minnesota and who wins the recount between anti-working family Norm Coleman and pro-working family Al Franken.
And that's a best case scenario. Club for Growth (of Fascism) is threatening to primary Specter unless he changes his vote when it comes up again and Specter is one of the Senate's most pathetic cowards who sways with the winds in the best of times. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who many thought was the Democrats' best hope for finding a Republican to stand up for working families, stated today that she opposes the bill. If the Democrats have to count on Judd Gregg, George Voinovich or Lisa Murkowski, who are up for re-election in 2010, or Mel Martinez, who is retiring, it's not likely the bill will pass.
And not everything is hunky dory on the Democratic side of the aisle either. Now that he's just been re-elected and is safe for another 6 years, a reactionary Democrat who boasts you don't need to pass an IQ test to get elected to the Senate and who acknowledges that mankind may have started 5,000 years ago with a talking snake, says he wants to find a compromise and won't co-sponsor the bill again.
Now the question is how hard will Obama, who was a co-sponsor of the bill, fight for it. His unwillingness to join in the battle to defeat Saxby Chambliss, one of the half dozen most destructive extremists in the Senate, who campaigned on a platform of thwarting Obama's agenda, makes me fear Obama will not stand up and fight and that we have another Bill Clinton in the White House. For what it's worth an aide of Obama's reaffirmed his support for EFCA in a one word statement to the Huffington Post-- and everyone knows a one word statement is better than a nod or even a grunt.
Asked if Obama's support for the Employee Free Choice Act remained as strong as his public proclamations suggested on the campaign trail, transition spokesman Dan Pfeiffer responded, succinctly, "Yes."