Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Quote of the Day: Obama and Labor
The markets rose on the news of Barack Obama’s economic policy team Monday, but some labor spirits fell.
Obama’s team of treasury secretary and four top economic advisers, introduced as the hands that will steer America’s economy, had no particular ties to the labor movement. And Obama’s secretary of labor was not introduced as part of that team — a suggestion that that post will retain its second-tier status and quiet voice in matters central to economic policy.
“I wish that [the secretary of labor] would have been among them,” former Michigan congressman David Bonior, a labor stalwart and member of Obama’s transition team, said of the group at the Chicago press conference. “I hope they take that job seriously.”
Labor’s low profile in Obama’s transition is striking because of unions’ vital role in the general election campaign. While Wall Street split its contributions between Obama and John McCain, labor, after dividing its efforts in the Democratic primary, united behind the Democrat and emerged as by far the strongest outside force in the general election. Unions reportedly spent well over $100 million communicating with their members and other voters. The Service Employees International Union alone spent more than $30 million on an independent campaign for Obama, while many of the AFL-CIO unions played key roles in overcoming potential prejudice among their older, white members.
Unfortunately, at the rate he's going with market fundie appointees, I wouldn't be totally shocked if Obama named Robert Rubin to head Labor. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit. Somehow I don't think the majority of Obama supporters thought they were voting for a president who'd solicit economic advice from some of the major players in the creation of the philosophy and policies that have crushed the middle class and allowed rampant speculation and faux investment vehicles to dominate the financial sector.
Oh, wait. It's just that in the new world of Obama-Change, we're supposed to believe that ideology is irrelevant and that pragmatic competence is the only thing that matters. For a thorough debunking of that fantasy, read this post on firedoglake. I remain hopeful that Obama will run the show and use the throwback appointees to do his bidding, but you have to admit it can be difficult not to start getting a wee bit nervous.
Remember I said when John Edwards dropped out that we were left with only corporate choices.
Posted by: qofdisks | Nov 26, 2008 10:09:01 PM