Tonight’s debate will have plenty of political ads, but one in particular may provide a little surprise — especially for Democrats. Former Senator and presidential nominee George McGovern will speak out against the Employee Free Choice Act, otherwise known as Card Check, in a one-minute spot. The one-time stalwart of liberal America takes on the unions in their power play to manipulate American workers and strip them of the secret ballot in organizing elections:

I’m concerned about a bill in Congress that would effectively eliminate an employee’s right to a private vote in deciding whether to join a union. It’s hard to believe that any politician would agree to a law denying millions of employees the right to a private vote.

I’ve always been a champion of labor unions, but I fear that today’s union leaders are turning their backs on democratic workplace elections. I’ve listened to all their arguments and reviewed the facts on both sides. Quite simply this proposed law cannot be justified.

Working families deserve a voice and a private vote. I’m Senator George McGovern and I approve this message because democracy is something that should never be sacrificed.

McGovern’s opposition to Card Check is no great surprise, at least not any more.  He wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal two months ago opposing the EFCA in strong terms.  While he refrained from directly criticizing his party in the WSJ column, he did sound a note of lament for the direction in which labor unions have gone to force workers into organizing.

That note of lament has turned into something closer to anger in this spot, and this time McGovern includes politicians in his pointed criticism.  The man who lost a national election to Richard Nixon puts his passion for democracy and the necessary safeguards of the secret ballot on display for a national audience tonight, and the timing could not be worse for Democrats.  This debate will likely get far more viewers than the previous Friday-night event, and McGovern’s words will resonate not just with conservatives, but also with blue-collar workers who may wonder why Democrats seem so eager to sell out both them and democracy in order to boost the political power of unions.

And guess who supports the EFCA?  Barack Obama. John McCain has to find a way to mention this and McGovern’s opposition in tonight’s debate.