Friday, March 06, 2009

How Many "Democrats" Will Desert Working Families On Employee Free Choice?


I've never met Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor. His voting record is pretty Republican-- the 52nd "most progressive" out of 58 Democrats (and just slightly better than fellow Arkansas reactionary Blanche Lincoln)-- but I never sat down face to face with him (or her). Pryor, however, showed America what he's made of in an interview with Bill Maher for the film Religulous. Watch the one minute clip in which he sums up his performance accurately: "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate." Yes, he was talking about himself and with a shit-eating grin on his face. He knew, when telling Maher that he believes in a talking snake he was appealing to a sad and politically uneducated electorate, brainwashed by Limbaugh, Coulter and O'Reilly. It's a lot easier to tell them that you, like them, believe in talking snakes than it is to try to educate them.

And probably because of that, both Pryor and Lincoln told the Chamber of Commerce that they are not committed to supporting the Employee Free Choice Act this year. Neither said they would oppose it but neither would commit to supporting it either (though both voted for it in the past).
Even though Lincoln hasn’t officially signaled which way she intends to vote, she may be edging closer to voting against it.

The senator’s campaign staff has been busy making phone calls trying to round up support for her second re-election campaign in anticipation her March 14 fund-raiser with Vice President Joe Biden. At least two times when individuals who were called expressed apprehension about Lincoln’s indecisiveness on EFCA, they were told in response not to worry about that.

Lincoln’s possible new direction makes sense. The co-host committee for her re-election kickoff reads like a virtual laundry list of business executives from industries opposing EFCA. A “no” vote from Lincoln would be major blow to the Democratic leadership and the White House, which strongly supports the legislation.

As for Pryor, after being a co-sponsor in the past, he said he would not attach his name to bill this time around.  Pryor believes a compromise bill that both business and labor could agree to should emerge.

In recent days both Obama and Biden have been clear that passing the Employee Free Choice Act is part of their agenda for rebuilding the American middle class, which has been so devastated by decades of Republican activities against unions, activities that are sometimes supported by a small handful of reactionary fake Democrats.

When the House took up the Employee Free Choice early in 2007, it passed 241-185, Every Democrat but two voting in favor, joined by 13 Republicans too embarrassed to vote against working families. And the two "Democrats?" Both are reactionary Blue Dogs, Mississippi's Gene Taylor and Oklahoma's Dan Boren. Both represent incredibly Republican districts and neither has attempted to help their constituents get over their 19th century prejudices. Boren, for example, is abysmal on most issues impacting the lives of working families. In fact, except for his own family ties to the Democratic Party-- his daddy was a Democratic governor and a senator from Oklahoma-- he would certainly be a Republican in name as in deed.

After generations of populism Oklahoma has morphed into one of the furthest right states in the union. Obama only took 34% of the vote there, his second worst showing anywhere (tied with Utah but beaten out by Wyoming... by 1%). And Boren's district gave Obama the exact same percentage-- 34%, less Democratic than the Republican-held districts represented by Mary Fallin or John Sullivan which include, respectively OK City and Tulsa. Boren's district, on the other hand, includes something called "Little Dixie." And that's the part of the district he counts on to split tickets and re-elect him.

It couldn't have surprised anyone that he bragged to his Chamber of Commerce backers the other day that he's opposing the Employee Free Choice Act again this year. I'd like to see unions go further than just hissing and spluttering when they push back against this dyed-in-the-wool enemy of working families-- although SEIU Political Director Jon Youngdahl took a good first step today:
“Rep. Dan Boren chose to turn his back on the needs of struggling Oklahomans-- in this unprecedented economic crisis, nearly one million residents of his state are unemployed, underemployed, or lacking adequate healthcare coverage.

“That’s why we’re surprised Rep. Boren has already pledged to vote against the Employee Free Choice Act before it’s even introduced in Congress. He apparently has some fundamental misconceptions about what the bill actually does.

“Oklahomans would be able to bargain for better wages, benefits, and job security while helping his state’s economy. If the Employee Free Choice Act passes, 900,000 Oklahomans would see a 14% raise-- bringing more than $410,000,000 straight back into the state economy, every year.

“That’s math even Dan Boren can understand.”

I think it's crucial for SEIU and other labor unions to not leave it at that. Unions have contributed over $273,000 to Boren's political career, more than $42,000 after he voted against the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007. It's time for some real action. After all, the battle begins, in the Senate, next week... Tuesday to be precise.

Labels: , , , ,


At 4:46 AM, Blogger Jon Hooker said...

Out of curiosity, your blog is called 'down with tyranny!". Do you believe in gun control? How about a limit on free speech (only if it's conservative talk radio...), redistribution of wealth? Mandatory public education? Centralized Federal government? Do you support the new sweeping powers of eminent domain? Just curious....

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll answer that Jon:

Of course I believe in gun control out of the hands of criminals, mentally ill people and terrorists. Otherwise I think people should be able to shoot whomever they want especially children. I heard we only shot 200,000 people with guns in the last three years but that doesn't bother me as much as you losing your manhood.

Free speech is fine Jon, what I don't like are lies and stupidity which is the hallmark of conservative talk radio.

I believe in the redistribution of wealth. I think we should have stolen the country from the Indians and then being 6% of the worlds people take 50% of the worlds assets and give it to the so called 3% most of which are manipulators and criminals and have never done an honest days work in there lives living off their so called hard working money and the politicians to whom they contribute millions in bribes. Now that's my idea of a proper redistribution of wealth.

Eminent domain no. Un-eminent domain yes, Illegal wire tapping yes, torture yes, bribery yes, driving around in hummers only if we can't get Sherman tanks yes, Guns in kindergarten yes, a big shoot out at an NRA convention yes

It's good to be curious Jon.

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more Thing Jon I do not believe in any form of education look at Rush Limbaugh his whole family is made up of lawyers and educated people and he couldn't get through college and he is the most famous of all. From football ticket salesmen to head of the Republican party. Do you think Rush is getting by on his good looks? And why not, look what it did for Paris Hilton?

Also, anyone with an ounce of brains should know a decentralized federal government is better.

Does this answer all your well thought out questions Jon?

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

The better question might be: How many Dims WON'T fuck workers?

I thought the Dims might apply a little fore-play, or just some nice smooth lube, before they fuck working people in the ass, but I guess there isn't time for niceties...

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon's questions, while snarky, did warrant something a little more substantive in reply. For instance, while most of the country's wealth is in the hands of the upper 3% (per your statement), I somehow think that that upper 3% does not own 50% of the firearms in this country.

So, are you saying that as a matter of principle, that the average folks of this country (the other 97%) should not have the freedom to spend their money on the inanimate objects of their choice?

Are you saying that average people should be presumed criminals whose purchases must be monitored and controlled, and have to show cause to be treated otherwise?

Too often I see an intellectual disconnect between personal bias and principle. If you believe "I have the right to spend the money I earn on X, so long as I do no harm.", then that statement applies to all values of X, not just to the subset that aligns with your personal biases.

When you start making moral judgements that belittle or criminalize someone else's lifestyle, you step off the high ground and are only a noun away from sounding like the people you so often rail against. When you blame the majority of a class for the actions of a few, you are profiling.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the 97% have most of the guns. Most of the debt. Most of the illness, most of the despair and most of the blame. The 97% sound like a country and western song. The 97% can spend it all on vibrators as far as I'm concerned. How about hand grenades and stinger missiles? More lubricant for Woody. It's America land of the free and home of the brave. And, don't get me wrong, I think you should do as much harm as possible by polluting the rivers and oceans, filling the skies with co2 by driving around in your polluting SUV or stupid looking trucks usually empty in the back and shooting anyone who might get your stuff. So the F of x is a subset of our prejudices. Hey Anonymous, What are you, a fucking college professor or am I profiling again?

If I have offended anyone, never mind. john

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, you haven't offended me. Just trying to see how internally consistent your beliefs were before deciding if you are worth reading, or merely ranting from the left in the same inarticulate way I'd see Freepers ranting from the right.

I and everyone I know are part of that 97%, and our lives do not seem to be that bad. So maybe you just happen to be acquainted with a different subset of that majority than I am. My subset is rural Appalachian, complete with company towns gone bust or overseas, coal mining, and three different seasons of deer hunting. Which, given our local economic situation, is actually putting good meat on the table of a lot of people who could not otherwise afford it. Myself included.

And no, I'm not a "fucking college professor". I had just hoped that inserting a little rational discourse might get a response in kind. If so, great. If not, I've learned what I need to know about your moral credibility and can de-bookmark you with no regrets.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry anonymous, but I thought that JPJ did a great job answering Jon's questions. He certainly did in an appropriate tone to respond to the tone in which the questions were asked. As far as your bona fides as a real live he man hunter I'm certainly impressed. (why in hell did you bring that up???)

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that JPJ responded in kind to Jon, but that did not mean that it was an informative answer, merely a snarky one.

The original poster (Jon) brought up the issue of gun control, hence my reference to hunting. Not that it has much relation to the "Democrats desert working families" post. I was merely curious about getting JPJ's snark-free opinion on Jon's comment.

JPJ's comment about "be able to shoot whomever they want especially children" uses a tone that makes me think he is not that concerned about the rights of others if they do not match his notion of what is proper.

I just wanted to make a counterpoint that not all gun owners are out shooting children. Or driving empty pickup trucks, etc. Some of us live in very rural areas where we are literally miles from the nearest neighbor, let alone policeman, and where using a firearm can actually put food on the table. We could go into lengthy detail about the types of firearms that people could, should or might own, but JPJ has not commented in a way that shows he is up to that level of discourse yet. Unless the crack about "stinger missiles" counts.

And, maybe I wanted to make the point that society as a whole might get along better if people applied what they claim to believe to everything they believe.

For myself, I believe that consensual, personal decisions are no one's business but those of the people involved. If I am to avoid being a hypocrite, that would mean I would have to be pro-gun, pro-legalization, pro-same sex marriage and pro-choice.

Which I am.

I also try to avoid using the adjective "fucking" in a characterization of someone I've never met.

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We called our Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. He is not a true blue dog but he is close; he rarely votes the way I'd like him to vote.

We did get a tentative yes he supports the Free Choice Act from whoever answered his phone at his office, but I don't have much confidence in him.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Captain USpace said...

The Left is insane, most registered Democrats are just brainwashed to think the Left is their answer.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never mock Democrats

it's just their religion

absurd thought -
God of the Universe hates
the principles of FREEDOM

fascism comes from the Right
that is a lie of the Left

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never mock the Left

it's just their religion

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Jon Hooker said...

Jon Paul convenient forgot to post my response. Anybody curious as to why?

At 6:15 PM, Blogger melissa said...

I just googled to find out how Gene Taylor voted on the "employee free choice act", and found your article. I did so to make sure that he voted against it; I mean, after all he IS a GD democrat. Now I am not a right-wing nut job and my party affiliation has nothing to do with religion, but has everything to do with fiscal responsibility. You talked alot about "helping" hard working families. Now I know that unions have their place, however giving them a monopoly on American labor is completely irresponsible. You see, your "employee free choice act" is really more like "sorry empl bt you have no choice". Can they get me more money? probly Can they get me better benefits? probly Can they keep me from losing my job? yep BUT AT WHAT COST? Let me give you a fucking clue! GM! MOTOR CITY DETROIT! So thanks for the "help" but I'll just take my chances making a fair wage from a (and this is the important part so listen carefully) a SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS!

At 6:17 PM, Blogger melissa said...

Oh and by the way, as far as Gene Taylor is concerned, it isnt often that a "representative" actually represents the will of his constituents, so I will take Gene Taylor anyday.


Post a Comment

<< Home