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Monday, February 23, 2004

 

The betrayal by AFSCME http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/16/column.shields.opinion.labor/

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Here's an interesting column by Mark Shields that casts AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee in a very unflatterring light for his abandonment of Dean. Even other labor leaders who didn't back Dean were appalled:

Do not think that McEntee's cut and run behavior is in any way typical of American labor. It is not. "Loyalty is everything," in the judgment of Leo Gerard, president of the Steelworkers Union, who refused to comment on McEntee's Britney Spears-like embrace of Dean.

"Loyalty is the cornerstone and foundation of what this movement is about. Not to be loyal to a man like (Rep.) Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) who has been working families' most loyal champion is just unacceptable," says Gerard, whose union not only endorsed Gephardt, but when his campaign hit a rough patch in early January, it actually redoubled its efforts.
[...]
One Teamster official (not Hoffa) could barely contain his rage at McEntee's abandonment of Dean, whose criminal offense was not some flip-flop on collective bargaining, but rather finishing third in Iowa and second in New Hampshire and going directly to Wisconsin: "It goes against everything we stand for - -your word is your bond. I don't know how (McEntee) can justify what he did. It's a terrible precedent."

Gephardt was not the only candidate who inspired loyal support from a union .In November and December, when John Kerry's campaign was faltering and Kerry was mocked by many in the press as "Dead Man Walking," the firefighters union, especially in New Hampshire, and its national leader, President Harold Schaitberger, never flagged and never flinched in their support of the Massachusetts senator.
[...]
Duane Worth, the president of the Airline Pilots Union, was an indefatigable Gephardt backer. "Loyalty is absolutely the core of who we are, and it's a two-way street: What is the message to the elected officeholder who risks his own political neck fighting for us and then we drop him for the flavor of the month?"


McEntee is the outlier - he is not representative of the loyalty that the vast majority of labor organizations have for their candidates. Loyalty is what unions are built upon. And McEntee's wannabe-kingmaking have almost single-handedly undercut that honorable tradition in the eyes of the public.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.