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Mitt Romney, speaking in Michigan, broke slightly with his recent "unions are horrible and I hate them" messaging—only slightly, but in a way that raises the question of whether Romney thinks he may be able to get one union's endorsement, or at least keep it neutral. Romney said:
Now, labor unions play an important role in our society. There’s some like the carpenters union that compete on a fair basis and train their members to have greater skills, and so they’re an important part of America’s economy.

But this president doesn’t just look at the workers in the union, he’s saluting to the union bosses, and the union bosses too often demand things that are not right for America. This president has stacked the National Labor Relations Board with his labor friends to make sure that their decisions tilt the playing field toward union bosses. So they said to Boeing, you can’t build a factory in South Carolina because it’s a right to work state. My view is, every person in America ought to have the right to choose whether to join a union or not, and so I’m in favor of right to work legislation.

The part attacking President Obama and "union bosses" and wildly mischaracterizing the NLRB's complaint (now dropped) against Boeing and what "right to work" laws do is more of the same from Romney.

But his initial statement that "labor unions play an important role in our society" is a shift. He said something similar in July, using carefully measured praise for unions having some role to play before attacking them in more specific terms. However, this is different, because he singles out the carpenters union (formally, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters) for praise.

It's actually not crazy to ask if Romney is thinking that an endorsement from the carpenters is a possibility, at least in the primary, or that he might be able to get them to stay neutral in the general election. The carpenters endorsed John Edwards in the Democratic primary in 2008, before backing Barack Obama in the general, but in 2004 they did not endorse anyone for president, and had a relatively close relationship with George W. Bush. So Romney singling them out for praise is significant—and it's a trend, as the Huffington Post reports he also did so several days ago at a Michigan roundtable.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  he's saying this in MI (6+ / 0-)

    Lets see if he says the same thing when it isn't in a Midwestern industialized state.  Will he say the same thing in GA that he does in OH?  

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:30:45 PM PST

  •  Unions are important to the GOP (5+ / 0-)

    They make a great punching bag

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:03:47 PM PST

  •  Santorum's been saying some unions are OK too. (0+ / 0-)

    That's just what you do in Michigan, i guess, even if you hate unions.

    (As for Bush....he hot-rodded the home building market by actually stopping investigations into mortgage scams, so I'm sure the carpenters who appreciative.)

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:04:39 PM PST

    •  Um....".....the carpenters WERE appreciative...." (0+ / 0-)

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:06:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And the carpenters liked foolishness like this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - President Bush said a surging real estate market could be enhanced even further if Congress passes a tax credit aimed at encouraging homebuilders to target middle class families.

      "To boost housing sales even more, Congress needs to pass my single-family homeownership tax credit," Bush told a meeting of the National Association of Realtors on Friday.

      Bush said the credit would increase the supply of affordable single-family homes by as many as 50,000 each, with the aim of increasing the supply of affordable homes by 7 million over the next 10 years.

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:12:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But That's Impossible (0+ / 0-)

        It was the Democrats who created the housing bubble with policies dating back to Carter that encouraged banks to lend to the poor.  And now you say Bush was pushing tax cuts near the peak of the bubble?*

        That's impossible.  Fannie! Freddie! Barney Frank!  Sputter, sputter.

         *The quoted article is from 2005.

  •  Nah. He's just flip-flopping. He can't help it. nt (0+ / 0-)

    You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

    by Simian on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:08:04 PM PST

  •  I'm a union member (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frisco, Socratic Method, JayRaye

    Who doesn't need or want Romney's sycophantic butt-kissing.

    Mittens admits he gets his rocks off firing people -- unions just ruin his happy ending.

  •  Jeebus Was A Carpenter (5+ / 0-)

    And I think Noah had him some serious carpenter chops as well. Not sure about Joseph Smith but I hear he knew which end of a saw to grab and Mitt knows a hammer from ha'penny.

    All this conclusively adds up to not offending carpenters nor their unions. Either that or Rmoney is just having some more fun with us before he throws the Michigan primary.

    Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

    by TerryDarc on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:10:46 PM PST

  •  More Romney horseshit. (5+ / 0-)

    He wants to be able to say, "I don't hate unions! Why, I'm besterest friends with the Union of Enlightened Right-Wing Militia Carpenters' Assistants!"

    Same as old racist confederate Bubba Joe Sweattback telling his boys at the VFW, "Shitfire, I ain't prejerdiced! That Rastus Warshington who swabs the Porta-Potties at the shooting range, he's a good boy! Knows his place. I always give him a quarter for swappin' out mah targets. Racist my pasty white ass!"

    Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Main Street. Occupy everything. Force a tsunami of change on the nation.

    by Black Max on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:16:26 PM PST

  •  Rofl....Only Mitt...What a Tool... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    Mitt must have several mirrors in his bathroom so he can get  up and pick which Mitt he'll be that day.

    When Republicans Win You Lose

    by workinguy on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:26:54 PM PST

  •  HA! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    workinguy, JayRaye

    The Carpenter's Union is one of the most anti-democratic(small D) unions around. Talk about union "bosses" running things. Taking over locals and postponing elections for years, silencing any opposing voices to the national union leaders(the McCarrons in particular).

    The Carpenter's union really needs to be cleaned out from within...I wish their members would do something about it.

    PS- I whole heartedly support a person's right to collectively bargain unequivocally....that doesn't mean some unions(and their "elected" leaders) can't get out of hand; kind of like other elected officials haha.

    "This site's unofficial motto used to be "more and better Democrats", but we've gradually evolved it to "better Democrats".- Kos,11/29/2011.

    by progressivevoice on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:27:23 PM PST

    •  Some articles... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      showing the leaders of the carpenter's union being more opportunist than actually supportive of their member's needs.

      Key quote: "So what explains the predatory tactics and secrecy of the New Mexico campaign? The answer may be found in the authoritarian leadership of the 550,000-member UBCJ’s General President Douglas McCarron. Over the last ten years McCarron has remade the union into a conservative, anti-democratic, increasingly corporatized, willing and repressive tool of capital.

      Today the UBCJ reflects the values of corporate America. In a Business Week article from the late 1990s, McCarron referred to carpenter’s union members as his “strong product.”
      Google will lead you to many more articles.

      "This site's unofficial motto used to be "more and better Democrats", but we've gradually evolved it to "better Democrats".- Kos,11/29/2011.

      by progressivevoice on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:34:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  George W. Bush didn't run Bain Capital (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    workinguy, Black Max

    Even GWB wasn't as corrupt as Romney when it comes to union busting and shipping jobs overseas to make money you can funnel to the Mormon church, donations that come with tax breaks the rest of us have to compensate for via our higher taxes.

    I can't imagine any unions are dumb enough to support someone like Romney.

  •  Repubs will suck up to unions... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    workinguy, annieli, brae70

    ....doesn't mean anything.  Look at what happened to the postal unions when they fell for the same thing from Issa.  Now he's trying to destroy them.

    Unions should realize that the Repub orthodoxy labels them as the demons of the antichrist.  Any union falling for a Repub sucker play will regret it.

    Back in the day this wasn't always so, but this ain't back in the day any more.

    Please feel free to HR me for my informative and argumentative nature. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:31:33 PM PST

  •  Another proxy baptism of Anne Frank trigger strom (0+ / 0-)

    Holy Cow!  I know this isn't the place to post this....but don't know where else to put it.  It's probably been on Dailykos already but I missed it I guess.  Anyway... Anne Frank, one of the most renowned Jewish victims of the Holocaust, was recently baptized — again — in a Mormon proxy ritual, known as “baptism for the dead,” !!

    Holy Cow!  What the hell is wrong with these people!

    Again, sorry if this shouldn't be posted here.  Sort of new at doing this and I will learn over time!

  •  Windsock. (0+ / 0-)

    No offense to real windsocks

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:43:39 PM PST

  •  Union Bosses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, JayRaye

    Romney is as phony as a 3 dollar bill.  Of course he isn't alone.  When Caterpillar launched the war on their UAW represented employees back in the early 90's, upper management routinely referred to the "Detroit Union."  They and Romney were trying in vain to seperate the rank and file union members from the elected officials.  Their veiled message is  "we are not trying to screw you, (when in reality the are), it's the Union Bosses or the Detroit Union that are the bad guys.  Fuck Romney and all of his anti-union bullshit.

  •  I'm sorry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but any union that would endorse any of the current batch of republicans, deserves whatever crap they get dished.

  •  I'm not happy (0+ / 0-)

    with this discourse. The diary starts with a bald inference based on events from 8 years ago.  Several of the subsequent comments turn anti-union. No one learns a thing, everyone has their prejudices confirmed.

    Wasted electrons.

  •  It's always storytime with the GOP candidacy, nah? (0+ / 0-)

    I guess that when the facts fail to support their platforms ... they'll just go off and invent new "facts".  

    It may leave one with the impression that the GOP candidacy may believe as if the ability to "spin master" on queue (and without regards to reality, insomuch) was an essential value for a presidential candidate. Maybe that's what they're used to, upon ascending in the ranks of their own party's political caucus? One wonders.

    I'm still of the belief that a well reasoned argument delivered with a sense of conviction  naturally carries more weight than so much political bullshit. That said, I look forward to seeing the debates, once the GOP has its candidacy "figured out" (or close enough to, one assumes)

  •  Probably not, but not totally unthinkable (0+ / 0-)

    To understand why you'd have to understand the dynamics of the Building Trades.  The Carpenters have long been on the outs with most of the other craft unions that make up the Building Trades.  The other crafts have long accused the Carpenters of raiding their respective jurisdictions.  Now it's true that jurisdictional disputes are the bane of the construction trades (it's been said that the four words most often spoken in the Trades are "that's our work!') but the Carpenters are by far the most aggressive.  

    The leader of the Carpenters Union is Doug McCarron.  Under his leadership, the Carpenters have become highly centralized.  McCarron makes no bones about his ambition to "unite" building trades workers under one roof, his.  McCarron follows his own path, and has been highly critical of the other Trades for aligning themselves with the Democratic Party.  Building Trades unions have traditionally had a few allies in the Republican Party who helped preserve prevaling wage laws and generally avoided attacking Building Trades priorities.  Building Trades also have locked horns with environmentalists and looked to Republicans for help.  However, these Republican allies have all but disappeared, forcing all but the most diehard into the Democratic tent.

    So, while most Building Trades are critical of Obama on Keystone, they're going to stick with Obama because, first, he's been good on labor issues and second, they're not crazy and they can see the Republican Party has driven off a cliff.  But McCarron has other priorities. In a typical year, if he saw a way to use an alliance with Romney to his advantage vis a vis his battles with the other Trades, he might jump at it.  But this is no ordinary year.  The Carpenters are as mad as every other union about Indiana going right to work, particularly at Mitch Daniels, who told them publicly and privately he'd veto it or at least demand a Building Trades exemption.  Just as with formerly Republican cops and firefighters,  they know labor is facing an existential problem.

    So in this climate, a Romney endorsement is highly unlikely.  But with McCarron, you just can't be sure.

    (disclaimer- I'm sure McCarron's supporters see it differently.)

  •  whats with the obsession (0+ / 0-)

    with union bosses, i have been a member of the uaw off and on for 44 years, our union reps are elected by the membership,
    in a nation where no one pays attention, and the news they watch consists of sound bites, these frauds running for the gop nomination can say anthing they want and it is difficult to challenge them. no one cares about the truth anymore.

    ...sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport,whereas Virtue, if a pauper is stopped at all frontiers. from The Sermon, Moby Dick

    by jts327 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 03:36:22 AM PST

  •  "Union Goons" Is Something (0+ / 0-)

    I heard him say in South Carolina.

  •  How come. . . (0+ / 0-)

    We never see any of these people that were FORCED to join a union getting up and saying anything at these rallies?  If they are so aggrieved, why don't they stand up to these union bosses?  I have been in a great union, the IBEW, for over 41 years, and I never felt I was cheated or forced to belong.  You only see some rich guy carping about having to deal with workplace fairness and actual safety rules.  

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