AFL-CIO ditches Obama
Big Labor has been reeling over the last few years. They were unable to get “card-check” passed in the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. This legislation would have allowed workers to organize, thereby increasing the size and influence of labor unions. But despite sizable majorities in both chambers of Congress, Obama was unable to push the bill through.
More recently, Big Labor has had to deal with a devastating loss in Wisconsin. Their hand-picked candidate lost in the Democratic primary to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was viewed as less sympathetic to their cause. Despite that, unions still spent heavily in the race hoping to knock off Gov. Scott Walker, who had earned their ire by pushing through reasonable reforms to collective bargaining laws on public-sector unions. The effect of the reform has been a decrease in public-sector union membership in the state.
Big Labor is really on an island of its own right now, and it looks like their beginning to realize it. US News and World Report noted yesterday that the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union, is pulling funding from President Barack Obama’s re-election bid:
The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.
The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president’s failure to show in Wisconsin last week, where labor unions led a failed recall election of Governor Scott Walker.
“We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. “There will be less contributions to candidates,” including President Obama.
While there were “a lot of different opinions” about whether Obama should have gone to Wisconsin, according to Goldstein, “this is not a slight at the president.”
The AFL-CIO has been at odds with the president before Wisconsin on issues such as the public health insurance option and renewing the Bush tax cuts.
The shift in funding is significant due to the federation’s role in past presidential campaigns, where the AFL-CIO built up a massive political structure in the months leading up the election, including extensive “Get Out The Vote” efforts, as well as financial contributions.
Sure, it’s not a slight at Obama. Nevermind that Obama has been ineffective in getting what unions want passed by Congress; again, even with a large Democratic majority in both chambers from the time he entered office until January 2011. Nevermind that union support for Obama has dropped by 10 points since 2008.
This is where Obama has a problem, though how big it is remains to be seen. The hard Left is becoming disillusioned. Whether it be on civil liberties issues and war, where Obama is arguably as bad or worse than Bush (being a libertarian, I’m disgusted with Obama on these issues), or on hardcore advocates of government-run health care. Obama has been nothing short of a let down. But if they’re faced with a Mitt Romney presidency or four more years of Obama, there’s no question where they’re headed.