"If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States."
-- Barack Obama, quoted by Slate, while making a campaign speech in 2007.
Cricket, cricket, cricket...
The Murdoch Street Journal notices:
President Barack Obama, after initially lending his support to organized labor, has stepped back from the fights spreading in state capitals from Wisconsin to Tennessee, leaving union officials divided about his tactics.
Democratic officials said that with Mr. Obama heading into battles over the federal budget, a plunge into the fray over public-sector collective bargaining could weaken his position as a deal-maker in Washington.
Mr. Obama is eager to occupy the political center, Democratic officials said, to help him forge a bipartisan deal on the nation's long-term finances that could strengthen his position heading into the 2012 election. Mr. Obama has already tacked to the center on taxes, on trade and by working to forge stronger ties with business leaders.
As Lawerence O'Donnell noted on MSNBC last night, Obama sitting out these labor fights has everything to do with 2012 presidential politics.
Obama won Wisconsin in 2008.
He needs to win it again in 2012.
Republicans swept midterm elections in 2010 in Wisconsin.
Obama, calculated as always, said just enough about the Wisconsin fight to keep his co-dependent labor allies convinced he's on their side but not nearly enough to have any tangible effect on this fight.
The truth is, Barack Obama has no core belief system other than his own career advancement and ego aggrandizement.
He was full of shit when he talked the talk of labor back in 2007 and he is full of shit today when he makes little nods toward the labor movement while promoting policies that either harm unions (Race to the Top, Korean trade agreement) or ignore them (whatever happened to card check anyway?)
Until the Dems on the side of labor and the leaders of the labor movement call Obama on his bullshit, the Obama hypocrisy on labor will continue.
Because he knows that labor, like co-dependent battered spouses, will come back on election day to GOTV no matter how much Obama blackens their eyes or kicks their teeth in.
Therein lies the problem.
Tell Barack we're outta here UNLESS he supports labor and you'll see a different Barack Obama.
Unfortunately the labor movement does NOT have the stomach for this kind of fight.
And so the abuse will continue.