An annonymous White House official (Rahm) [or another] sent a big FU to working people last night. The AFL-CIO responded by sending a message that has been long needed:
"If that’s their take on this, then they severely misread how the electorate feels and how we’re running our political program. When we say we’re only going to support elected officials who support our issues," said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. "When they say we should have targeted our money among some key house races among Blue Dog Democrats — that ain’t happening."
"Labor isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party," Vale said. "It exists to support working families. And that’s what we said tonight, and that’s what we’re gong to keep saying."
Meanwhile, the SEIU says no support for Blanche:
From the SEIU:
For all the talk about what this race meant, the pundits are missing the point: all around this country their are families who've lost their jobs or watched their paychecks shrink. They are fighting to keep homes they've owned for 20 years. They are wondering how they are going to send their kids to school. These voters are demanding candidates who are speaking for them, not for the special interests who have destroyed our economy. And we will be at their side making sure that our members, their families and their communities have a voice in the process.
We'll see if Blanche Lincoln is made a better Senator for having to answer to working Arkansans over these past few weeks. And if you are Larry Kissell (NC-08) or Zach Space (OH-18) or Mike McMahon (NY-13) or Michael Arcuri (NY-24) or another candidate who stopped advocating for the needs of working families once elected, the labor movement is going to be at the side of those voters who demand change.
Yes, you Kissell. You came here talking progressive, raised money and them voted against the President on health care. Bye-bye. Karma is coming.
Other key netroots progressives are responding to Rahm. Digby's response is quite kind:
I'm going to be charitable and chalk up these churlish comments from an unnamed official to fatigue rather than stupidity. But in the future the White House would probably do well to remember that as much as they loathe their base that they still need them to get out the vote in November. They should also remember that Blanche Lincoln is not a particularly reliable ally to the administration while labor is essential.
Jed Lewison on Daily Kos last night (in case you missed it):
but whoever this senior official is has no clue about what's happening outside of the beltway. Time after time, the same White House aides make boneheaded, stupid political decisions that cost the President both popularity and political strength, in the process weakening and undermining the Democratic coalition.
Rahm lived through 1994. His ego is not worth breaking up the Democratic party coalition.
It's time for President Obama to remove Rahm Emanuel. Pissing on organized labor to show his masculinity is stupid. I'm sick and tired of stupidity in the people serving President Obama. It's time to clean house.
A Democratic Party consisting of Blue Dogs is a road to defeat. Furthermore, PEOPLE NEED JOBS! If the Democratic Party can not help working people, then it lacks a reason to exist.
Assholes like Rahm Emanuel or some other "annonymous White House aids" are undermining Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
It's time for accountability. Change is coming, but it may not be the kind of change DLCers want.
I know which side I am on. It is with working people and organized labor.
Barack Obama's Labor Day Message, August 31, 2008:
America was built by its laborers, but today our workers are struggling just to get by in an economy that no longer works for them. That’s why we can’t afford four more years of the failed George Bush economic policies—policies that Sen. McCain has proudly embraced and promises to continue.
It’s time we had a president who will stand up for working men and women by building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but work and the workers who create it. It’s time you had a partner in the White House who knows that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, and that hardworking families need immediate relief....
It’s time you had a president who honors organized labor—who’s walked on picket lines; who doesn’t choke on the word "union"; who lets our unions do what they do best and organize our workers; and who will finally make the Employee Free Choice Act the law of the land.
That is the choice in this election. We can choose to remain on the path that has abandoned workers and gotten our economy in so much trouble, or we can reclaim the idea that in America, opportunity is open to anyone who’s willing to work for it.
Barack Obama Walking the Picket Line at the Congress Hotel in Chicago in 2007 during Y-Kos 2007.
Barack Obama marches the picket line with Unite Here Local 1 and talks to them about his commitment to union workers and collective bargaining
Update I: Kos last night for those who missed it:
We won in Pennsylvania, lost in Arkansas. You can't win them all. But make no mistake -- we made the politically smart move.
Unfortunately, the smart political move lost. So say hello to Sen. John Boozman, the next senator from the great state of Arkansas. It's the political reality. No need to sugarcoat it
Update II: From the comments edwardssl says politico says it was not Rahm. It doesn't matter. He should go anyway along with the jerk that did say it. Massina or Rahm, they are not serving this adminstration well by insulting labor and progressives.
Update III: From Muzikal in the comments, official WH statement:
Asked if the administration agrees with the senior official who told POLITICO's Ben Smith that labor had supported Lincoln's primary challenger in a "pointless exercise," Gibbs responded: "I don't think the president would necessarily agree with that characterization ... We would certainly agree that we are likely to have very close elections in very many places throughout the country, and while the president might not have agreed with the exact characterization ... that money might have come in more handy there."
It detaches President Obama from the statement, which I think is good, but it also continues a sense of Democratic Party entitlement to union money. It's the money of the workers in the unions and not of the Democratic Party. Unions are telling the Party that candidates must earn support and volunteers and money don't just come automatically.
That said, I think it is in the interest of unions and the WH to make peace. I am glad that "the president would [not] necessarily agree with that characterization."
Was it worth it to this WH aide to get his statement out there? Did that pay off?
I am still tired of imcompetence like that. Messages like that should be given privately, not publically. We can not afford incompetent political aides in the WH undermining President Obama for their own egos. It has happened too many times and THAT is the fault of the chief of staff whether he made the statement or not.
Too may workers are suffering for some egotist in the WH to get his rocks off by making annonymous statements to Politico.
WE NEED JOBS for people!