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It's Values, Stupid
Wednesday July 23, 2003
Last week we recounted the ill will between African American Liberals and a good portion of the Democratic Party establishment. Three Presidential candidates ignored the NAACP convention (although they ALL came crawling back begging for forgiveness), the Congressional Black Caucus is feuding with candidates Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean as well as Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
As African Americans, according to Al Sharpton, provide 92 percent of their votes to Democrats, this is no small matter.
Now, it seems, the Dems have an even greater problem with White Labor Union members.
The problem for the Democrats is George W. Bush. Union members like the guy. They like the guy a lot.
From a June 30, 2003 article in Business Week magazine: "Big Labor is wringing its hands because the wartime President retains surprising strength among working-class voters, even in the unsettling aftermath of the Iraq invasion."
A poll in Michigan, for example, gives President Bush a "63% favorable rating from white unionists and 59% from labor women." These are not good numbers for Democrats. To review the bidding, Michigan's electoral votes went to Al Gore and Joe Lieberman in 2000.
Other Midwestern states which could tip to the Bush/Cheney column if this phenomenon of Bush-Democrats continues: Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin - 76 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
There's more. Roll Call newspaper, which covers Capitol Hill, had a piece by reporters Ethan Wallison and John Bresnahan which details a deepening fissure between Democratic House leaders and the Teamsters over a bill which would open trade between the US and two South American nations.
Teamster President James Hoffa was quoted as telling House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, "You guys are going to regret this."
Whoa! Check please!
In the Business Week article, AFL-CIO political director Karen Ackerman was quoted as saying "labor faces 'a very heavy lift' to displace GOP majorities in Congress in 2004."
This, according to the Roll Call reporters, was interpreted by House Dems as characterizing their "prospects in the next elections as verging on hopeless."
In a major Washington Post piece earlier this week, senior political reporter Dan Balz detailed the exotic political ballet being danced by the Democratic Presidential candidates trying to block the quickly weakening campaign of Dick Gephardt from being revived by Union financial support.
According to the Balz article, "At least one labor president voiced the belief that Gephardt's fundraising problems could make some unions reluctant to endorse him. If that happens, Gephardt's rivals will redouble efforts to win those endorsements and to stop Gephardt from winning the Iowa caucuses next January, where he is favored."
There appears to be no peace within the labor movement, either. Business Week points out that "McCain-Feingold prohibits unions from pouring tens of millions of dollars in soft money into Democratic coffers, as they have done for years. And a substitute program to mobilize labor voters has been plagued by factionalism and mass resignations.
Keep in mind all this fussing and feuding - the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus,
the House Democratic Leadership, several major union leaders, the Democratic National committee
and the Democratic presidential candidates - all this was going on during what could only be seen as a rocky two weeks for the Bush Administration.
Imagine what life will be like in Democrat-land when the White House gets back on its feet (which, with the deaths of Saddam's two vicious and sadistic sons; plus continuing good economic news will probably begin today) and the American people remember why they liked President Bush in the first place.
Americans like the President because as Democratic consultant Brian Lunde said, "Once in a while, strong leadership and personal character traits can trump interest-group issues checklists."
Catholic University political scientist John Kenneth White put it another way: "It's values, stupid, and Democrats still don't get it."
Today, on the Secret Decoder Ring page: Links to the Business Week and Washington Post articles, a Mullfoto of my errant roll-aboard which finally showed up this week, and the usual things.
Copyright © 2003 Richard A. Galen
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