Have the unions overreached on Card Check?   Not only have the Democrats failed to attract Republicans to Card Check, they’re starting to bleed Democrats.  Following the defection of Ben Nelson (D-NE) yesterday, 2007 co-sponsor Tim Johnson has heard an earful from his South Dakota constituents and now has second thoughts (via David Freddoso):

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson said today that there isn’t enough support in the Senate to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

“There are not enough votes to support this legislation, so far,” Johnson said during his weekly telephone conference call with reporters.

Right now, the act doesn’t even have his vote, for sure.

Johnson was a co-sponsor of a version of the act that passed the Senate two years ago, although he didn’t actually vote on it because he was recovering from his brain hemorrhage. He has made supportive statements about this year’s version of the act. But feedback from home apparently has the senator thinking the proposal needs more work.

“I’m undecided about that,” he said Wednesday when asked if he could vote for the current version of the act.

Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, who is certainly not anti-union, cut an advertisement against the act, saying it could deny workers the right to cast a secret ballot on whether to form a union. Near as I can tell, that’s true, in its current form. But as supporters of the act point out, when workers utse a card check now, employers can require a secret-ballot election. Sometimes that takes months.

If this is true, it’s a disaster for Democrats and Harry Reid.  It’s one thing to not get Murkowski, something a little worse to lose Specter, but Johnson co-sponsored Card Check in 2007.  He went out of his way to signal his support.  If Johnson peels away, Reid may not even have a majority to vote for the bill, let alone enough to get cloture.

Politically, this makes sense.  South Dakota is pretty conservative despite their support of Tom Daschle, who knew how to pose as a conservative once every six years.  George McGovern’s outspoken opposition to Card Check has made an impact on voters in the state, obviously, since he comes from the Left.  Backing Card Check would make Johnson look more radical than McGovern, not a good place to situation one’s self in South Dakota.

I’m not surprised to see support for bypassing the secret ballot fade now that the bill has hit the public.  I am surprised to see it collapse so quickly.

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