ORLANDO, Fla. — The nation’s union leaders said on Tuesday that they were “appalled” at remarks made by President Obama condoning the mass firing of teachers at a Rhode Island high school.
Coming the day after union presidents sharply complained to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. over stubbornly high unemployment, stagnant wages and the administration’s failure to do more to create jobs, the statement — voicing a rare vehemence toward a Democratic president — underlined the disillusionment of an important Democratic constituency.
Because unions have been so crucial to the Democrats election after election, political experts say labor’s ambivalence, or worse, toward the Democrats could greatly deepen that party’s woes this fall.
“Labor is very disappointed, whether it’s about card check or the effort to tax Cadillac health plans,” said Charles E. Cook Jr., publisher of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, referring to a bill that would have made it easier to unionize and to tax high-cost health plans that many union members have. “They’re really disillusioned. I think one by one unions will start getting engaged and helping out the Democrats, but it could be half-hearted.”
Mr. Cook said that ever since the Republicans captured the House in 1994 (the Democrats regained it in 2006), labor has played an increasingly important political role every two years to lift the Democrats’ fortunes. But he does not see that happening this fall.
Labor leaders are disappointed over how little Mr. Obama has delivered and are angry over his support of the firings of the entire faculty at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island because of its poor graduation rate. Nevertheless, leaders attending the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s winter meeting here in Orlando said they would mobilize labor’s base for this fall’s elections. They hope to minimize widely anticipated Republican gains. But that might not be easy.
I call the White House every week and explain to them that I am a teacher, a union member, and a Democrat (or at least I used to be.)
I tell them I have only voted for Democrats since I started voting in 1988.
Then I tell them that because President Obama is such a corporate whore and an enemy of the union movement and union workers - and his insistence on the excise tax on union workers, his refusal to push card check in the Congress and his union-busting policies against the teachers union are proof that he is an enemy of the unions - I will NOT vote for any Dems this November and will NEVER vote for Obama again.
Not if Sarah Palin is running against him, not if Joseph Goebbels is running against him.
I don't care.
When you have a politician who so easily Sistah Souljahs unions and teachers in general, he cannot be trusted.
I understand that Republicans are not union-friendly and also look to bust the teachers unions.
But at least when they're doing that, I didn't vote for them or send them money.
I actually voted for Obama.
But not again.
Not after Race to the Top. Not after Arne. Not after his NCLB re-authorization. Not after Rhode Island.
And I should add, not after Geithner, Summers, the Bernanke renomination, the financial bailouts and the presidents remarks that his pals at JP Morgan Chase and Goldman deserve their TARP and Federal Reserve-provided annual bonuses.
So give the White House a call, tell them how you feel.
They're going to be open to hearing this because they know what happened up in Mass.
Many union members who voted for Obama in '08 voted for Scott Brown in 2010 - or didn't vote at all.
A tidal wave will hit Dems this November and with Obama pissing off union members, it will not be mitigated in any way by unions.
And I say good.
And I hope the same thing happens in 2012.