Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Obama Uses Opposition to Teachers Unions To Show He's Not "Anti-Business"

According to Politico, teachers are going to be made the election-year scapegoats by a floundering administration that needs to show it's not "anti-business":

Finding $10 billion in a multitrillion-dollar budget to avert threatened teacher layoffs — months before the midterm elections — would seem a shared goal for the party. Instead, it’s produced veto threats, stalled war funding and created a destructive divide between job-hungry lawmakers and a White House anxious to burnish its business credentials at the expense of teacher unions.


The real House dynamic was a last-ditch attempt by Democrats to get Obama focused on a state-and-local government crisis that many lawmakers believe the administration has been slow to recognize.

“There’s no strategy there,” House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) told POLITICO, and all spring the administration has been at war with itself over how to proceed. A letter of endorsement from Education Secretary Arne Duncan arrived an hour after the Senate Appropriations Committee completed its markup of the war-funding bill May. 13. Then the White House stayed silent on the issue when the bill came to the floor, and even Monday, after all the rhetoric, there was no formal budget request.

Obama and Duncan have embraced the teachers initiative, but the administration’s approach has been too cute for many Democrats. A famous Saturday night letter to Congress, for example, was leaked to the Sunday papers before it even got to House and Senate leaders. And the one point at which the White House seemed fully engaged was when it felt threatened by plans to take $800 million from Obama’s education reforms to help pay for the teachers fund.

Most sensitive was $500 million coming from unspent recovery act funds designated for the president’s Race to the Top school initiative. This hit a raw nerve for the administration, which says it wanted as much as $15 billion for education reforms in the stimulus bill and reluctantly agreed to come down to $5 billion. To see that pot of money threatened was too much for the president and Duncan; thus, the quick-strike veto threat.

Election-year politics may also have had a hand. By taking such a high-profile veto stand, the White House played to business allies and wealthy donors who share resentment toward teacher unions for not being more supportive of education reforms.

Going into November’s elections, the administration is now actively trying to counter critics who contend Obama shows an “anti-business” attitude. The teacher unions make a convenient foil, and Emanuel has argued that business should respect Obama’s willingness to stand up for education reform at the expense of labor.

You got that AFT and NEA members?

You are now the enemy according to Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama and they plan to Sistah Souljah you throughout the campaign to try and save their own incompetent asses.

Maybe Randi Weingarten and the rest of the morons running the AFT will stop saying at least we have a seat at the table with this administration's education policymakers.

We have no seat at the table.

We have a bullseye on our backs and Rahm and Hopey/Changey are aiming at us.

We need to fight back.

It starts with calling the Obama administration what it is: anti-teacher, anti-public education, anti-union.


  1. "...anti-teacher, anti-public education, anti-union."

    All true, but presumably pro re-election. What's awful here is that the NEA and UFT potentially have tremendous leverage in the mid-term and 2012 elections: leverage to say, "stop with the bullshit or our members stay home in November." They possess this leverage, and refuse to implement it.

    If Obama thinks that by destroying us he will ingratiate himself with the overclass, he's deluding himself, and revealing himself to be the weak, interim, diversionary figure that he is. They will always keep coming back for more.

    All of that is to to be expected from Obama and his minders, but for the unions to throw away such an opportunity just adds more counts to the indictment against them.

  2. All TOO TRUE, but, what are the unions to do stay neutral and lose the Senate and cripple the House? Remember, the tea party morons are out there with apparently many big bucks donors. A very hard call and no so simple a decision.

  3. In fact, if McCain were President, the Democrats would be blocking the anti-labor nonsense, hoping to get our votes next time. Nixon had to go to China. If they win reelection, they'll continue merrily on this path Bill Gates has set them on.

  4. Anonymous,

    I agree with you that the situation is dangerous, and complex. My main point was that the teacher unions have leverage they've refused to put to work.

    NYC Educator,

    "Nixon had to go to China." That is Obama's role: to be The Democrat Who Gutted Social Security. Privatizing the public schools is the opening act.

  5. Boy, Michael. I hope you're wrong, but that wouldn't much surprise me.

  6. Fiorillo

    You are correct I agree they must devise a strategy that shakes the administration while not allowing the right wing enemies to gain additional power at the rank and files expense.