Unions lay a $10 million egg in Arkansas

posted at 9:30 am on June 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The midterm elections were already going to be tough for Democrats, thanks to rising public revulsion over federal spending and the unpopularity of the one bill Democrats took nine months to shove down the throats of a nation deeply opposed to it.  In red states like Arkansas, the only hope would be to keep centrists on the ticket in order to minimize the damage.  Blanche Lincoln, the incumbent, would have a tough time getting elected anyway, but for the hard-Left union activists, she did reluctantly support ObamaCare and has not yet had to cast a single vote on Card Check.  That wasn’t enough, however — and now the unions just spent a fortune attempting to unseat her in a race that Democrats are going to lose in the end anyway:

Consider Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, renominated in 2004 by an 83%-17% margin and reelected that November by 56%-44%. One big headline of last night’s news coverage was that she won her Democratic primary runoff over Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. But her margin was only 52%-48%. And in recent polling she trails 3rd district Republican Congressman John Boozman by a 59%-34% margin. Her runoff victory and her “I’ll keep fighting” election night speech may close the gap a bit in Jacksonian Arkansas. But not by much. …

But Lincoln feel afoul of the barons of organized labor when she, after co-sponsoring the unions’ card check bill effectively abolishing the secret ballot in unionization elections in 2007 as every other Democratic senator did when the bill had no chance of passage, turned tail and opposed it in 2009. It was obvious to anyone in, say, the Wal-Mart or Tysons Food headquarters in Arkansas, that this bill had the potential to do to their companies what the United Auto Workers contracts did to General Motors and Chrysler. Blanche Lincoln, scion of a rice farm family in receipt of huge annual crop subsidies, understood this and acted accordingly. She wanted to win reelection and knew that card check was political poison in almost entirely non-unionized Arkansas.

Big labor decided to teach her—and all Democratic members of Congress who were quailing at the prospect of voting for card check—a lesson. The lesson would be that, however much a vote for card check would reduce your chances of winning a general election, opposition to card check would result in your defeat in a Democratic primary. …

It’s a huge defeat for the unions. White House political operatives are already complaining, as Ben Smith notes in Politico, that “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,” [a senior White House] official said. “If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.” But the unions are not just interested in maintaining Democratic majorities. They’re interested in making sure that all Democratic incumbents will vote when bidden for card check. The message they wanted to send to Blanche Lincoln, and to all other Democrats, was: the minute you announce against card check, your career is over.

If that’s the message they wanted to send, why spend $10 million on a telegram when Arkansas voters would have done it for free?  Neither Lincoln nor Halter have a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning the general election.  They may be patting themselves on the back for making Lincoln’s life miserable for three months, as Michael Barone says, but it’s not impressing anyone outside of the SEIU and AFL-CIO.  The rest of the political world sees a $10 million purse that has dissipated — in a primary fight in an unwinnable state.

As the White House bitterly complained last night, that kind of money would have come in handy in November.  Instead of blowing it on Arkansas, they could have spent it in Pennsylvania, for instance, where both union influence and a comparatively tight Senate race would have held more promise for Democrats.  Certainly the unions will target Pat Toomey anyway, but now they will have to use other funds to protect Joe Sestak.  Or how about California, where Carly Fiorina will use her personal fortune and massive fundraising skills to target a union darling in Barbara Boxer?  That race will be much close than anything in Arkansas.  That union money could have been spread around in House races to help prevent a GOP takeover, too.

The unions will have money in November, but they lost more than just $10 million in Arkansas.  They lost a sense of power, especially in organizing, and any claim to rational and expert leadership on the Left.  Lincoln was, after all, the incumbent in an anti-incumbent year.  If the unions couldn’t knock her out of the race with $10 million and a credible candidate — in two tries — then obviously union leadership has a competence issue.  And the investment of $10 million in an unwinnable attempt to hold the Democratic seat in a red state by running hard to the Left is nothing short of breathtakingly insane.

Democrats and union members need a reality check, not Card Check.  Current leadership in both organizations is leading them off a cliff.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Win-win. Unions get humbled and Blanche will be easier to defeat in November.

RobCon on June 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Will the rank and file members ever get fed up with ever increasing dues? If i was a $15 an hour union member and my “bosses” just “flushed” $10 million down the rat-hole, I’d be fed-frickin-up.

Tim Zank on June 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM

The Union is defeated by Lincoln….huh?

RobCon on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Expressing his true feelings?

H/T: Glenn Reynolds

Mr. Joe on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

im not surprised
they have no problem spending money in the fed gov
they wouldnt have a problem wasting money here

blatantblue on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Markos kos is as low today as he was with Ned Lamont. Encouraging his forces to stay home and welcome Senator Boozman.

Marcus on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Na na na boo boo.

Akzed on June 9, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Wasn’t the pension fund money promised to her campaign in exchange for her health care vote?

repvoter on June 9, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Wonder when union members will get pissed enough seeing their dues “flushed down the toilet?”

b1jetmech on June 9, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Dear Liar is tight with SEIU, yet supported Lincoln while that thug-union supported Halter. Was this just a show, trying to portray that The Whine isn’t a union-thug as well? $10 million, I guess Kabuki theater is getting more expensive.

rbj on June 9, 2010 at 9:37 AM

On the other hand, if Halter had won, the unions might have spent even more than another $10 million trying to defeat Boozman and flushed even more money down the toilet.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

So instead of blowing the members’ money on themselves, the union leadership blew it on a failed election bid. Either way, the equation is the same: the average worker’s money gets misspent. And we need unions why again?

search4truth on June 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Hopefully we are seeing the starting signs of ‘death throes’ in the public unions. It must come anyways.

GnuBreed on June 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I’m sure all those high-paid, union members with their fat paychecks and great personal economies are really glad this morning to see this fools errand erupt so spectacularly.

Money to burn, eh unions? what a great message this year.

ted c on June 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM

The rest of the political world sees a $10 million purse that has dissipated — in a primary fight in an unwinnable state.

I see $10 million more taxpayers are going to end up shelling out to bail out bankrupt unions down the road. Unless sanity wins big in upcoming elections.

forest on June 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Halter would’ve been a complete tool for the progressives. He and those of his ilk should never see the city limits of Wasshington D.C.

volsense on June 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM

We should be encouraging more of this type of behavior. It was money well spent. If you get my drift.

meci on June 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM

RobCon on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Someone in the news department missed a great headline.

hawkdriver on June 9, 2010 at 9:41 AM

This 10 million is causing many people a good laugh this morning and many more heartache.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
I loved old Blanche’s victory speech last night. I hope she partied well. It may well be her last.

ORconservative on June 9, 2010 at 9:41 AM

And I thought only the Republicans ran idiot campaigns. The unions thought they had pull in Arkansas???? Who advised them of that bit of idiocy, and can I shake his hand on a job well screwed up? Boy, you know Boozman was licking his chops regardless of who won the run-off. If Halter won with union backing, Boozman could show how the unions have ruined certain industries along with their current behavior, etc. But with Lincoln, she is about to feel how heavy the 2000+ pages of Obamacare really is when she gets smacked upside the head with it in the general election campaign.

TQM38a on June 9, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Hey, just wondering. How much has SEIU and the other thugocracies donated to help the folks on the gulf coast. Or maybe they’re using the buses they used to harass a private citizen at his home to bus helpful “laborers” down to the beaches? Must have missed that news coverage.

Sugar Land on June 9, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Turned out to be as effective as the stimulus package, as far as jobs created.

NoDonkey on June 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM

I would be smug, but the union bosses can write this off as their operating expenses. I have friends in PA who pay big union fees who just get nothing out of their dues spent. Some more money from thier paycheck to put food on the table in times like this would show me unions really do care about their members.

They have really run their course in this country.

hawkdriver on June 9, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Wonder when union members will get pissed enough seeing their dues “flushed down the toilet?”

Oh, I’m sure alot of them are pissed, but really, what can they do ?? First thing they could do is have a little talk with your shop steward, and when he ignores you for a week, you corner him to have another talk with the shop steward ………. and then, soon enough, you discover that you’ve been laid off with some BS excuse, and you’re union says to you “Sorry, we did all we could, but could not save your position”.

Been there, done that, and believe me, I HATED to have to join that union just to get a job.

Jerome Horwitz on June 9, 2010 at 9:46 AM

CHANGE! you had taken out of your pocket and flushed down the toilet by your union.

Good Lt on June 9, 2010 at 9:47 AM

I could’a told them about not laying eggs in toilets…

hoosiermama on June 9, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Union employees, upset with their dues being misspent, do have an option. The Supreme Court, no less, has given them the right to opt out of having their dues spent for political purposes.

Not holding my breath.

donh525 on June 9, 2010 at 9:49 AM

The Union is defeated by Lincoln….huh?

RobCon on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

I guess the South has risen again…../

ted c on June 9, 2010 at 9:50 AM

There is a huge split in the Republican Democrat party.

Corsair on June 9, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Since the SEIU and the other unions thinks the Obama Administration is going to bail out any failing businesses their members are heavily into or prop up any mis-spend pension funds, they feel perfectly fine blowing $10 million in Arkansas because they’re confident the taxpayers will make up the loss. Reality won’t set in until after the November election, if then, so expect more drunken sailor deficit spending by the unions from now through the fall election.

jon1979 on June 9, 2010 at 9:53 AM

What an egg you have there, did you pay much for it?

Agree, Lincoln will stay farther away from Obumbo to try and fool the people one more time.

Has anybody ever figured out the damage that was done to America when Wilson got the 17th Amendment passed. Did you know we used to have two houses, the people’s house and the State’s house? Now we have little dictators like Schumer et al. And now all the States get is unfunded mandates out the wazoo.

tarpon on June 9, 2010 at 9:54 AM

…obviously union leadership has a competence issue.

Well said, Captain Obvious.

Jeff2161 on June 9, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Hey, what happened to the “anti-incumbent” wave? Lincoln is an incumbent, and the less liberal of the two candidates, maybe the latter is the more important factor in play.

forest on June 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Democrats and union members need a reality check, not Card Check. Current leadership in both organizations is leading them off a cliff.

They only need a reality check when they’re in office to keep from taking the nation over a cliff, tho’ that hasn’t worked out too well, has it? Outside of government let’em go over the cliff. If they win elections, then the nit-wits who voted them in need the reality check. Kinda like that “hopey changie” check they’re getting now.

cartooner on June 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM

You should have seen the contortions on C-SPAN this morning. An Olympic caliber gymnast couldn’t accomplish the pretzel-like configurations of the barbie-doll host and her drive-by media “political analyst.”

Bottom line: a great victory for Our President Lightbringer!

America is clearly learning to love totalitarianism!

jeff_from_mpls on June 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Wonder when union members will get pissed enough seeing their dues “flushed down the toilet?”

b1jetmech on June 9, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Yep. That’s why they want card check.

Haunches on June 9, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I ALWAYS “look for the union label”. If I see it, I don’t buy the product whenever possible.

CC

CapedConservative on June 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Hey union guys and gals, how do you like $10 mill of cash that could have paid for your retirement benefits being flushed down the drain.
Don’t come sniffing around my tax dollars when your pension fund is empty.

mechkiller_k on June 9, 2010 at 10:11 AM

I’m enjoying this.

Cody1991 on June 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM

CapedConservative on June 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM

It’s normally hidden under that gigantic pricetag.

hawkdriver on June 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I ALWAYS “look for the union label”. If I see it, I don’t buy the product whenever possible.

CC

CapedConservative on June 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Same here. People have told me that I must buy this or that, and I always ask them if they are union members (just for fun). When they say that they are, I tell them, “NO!”

No more GMC cars – nothing that the unions are involved with sucking off the tax payer teat.

Cody1991 on June 9, 2010 at 10:27 AM

That 10 MILLION would have gone a long way to shore up the pension fund of SEIU members. But the union bosses (who’s pensions are FULLY FUNDED) have other priorities.

GarandFan on June 9, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Democrats and union members need a reality check, not Card Check. Current leadership in both organizations is leading them off a cliff.

Shhh! Don’t tell them, Ed!

$10 million is a lot of coin here, too. Halter had people canvassing my neighborhood pretty heavily in the last couple of weeks and I live in probably the most conservative part of the state. I told the poor boy who came to my door, I certainly empathize because I’ve done the door-to-door thing in my day, but you’re probably wasting your time up here in this community. He didn’t say anything; just gave a weary smile and thanked me for my time. And everytime a Bill Halter ad produced by the SEIU would run on TV and radio here (and it was about every 30 seconds), I would wonder, “What are these people thinking?” Certainly Walmart, Tyson, JB Hunt and some other companies headquartered here have had some influence in keeping this a non-union state, but the people don’t want it either. Arkansans don’t really like being beholden to anyone and that includes union bosses. I was just mystified that this ever wound up in a runoff in the first place. Halter is way, way far left for a state like this one.

Wasted money, indeed. Unions have run their course. When will membership finally figure out they’re getting nothing for something?

NoLeftTurn on June 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Our theme for the rest of the year should be the ongoing civil war in the Democrat party.

motionview on June 9, 2010 at 10:36 AM

$10,000,000 less for Reid…

PatriotRider on June 9, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Same here in California.

We are laying off teachers left and right and the The California Teachers Assoc. has spent over $210 million in campaign contributions to state politicians and ballot measure campaigns to get voters to advance the groups’ agendas over the last 9 years.

Followed closely by the SEIU CA State Council at $107 million.

Ditkaca on June 9, 2010 at 10:44 AM

That 10 MILLION would have gone a long way to shore up the pension fund of SEIU members. But the union bosses (who’s pensions are FULLY FUNDED) have other priorities.

GarandFan on June 9, 2010 at 10:28 AM

That’s the part I don’t get. The rank & file should be awake by now, shouldn’t they???

Tim Zank on June 9, 2010 at 10:46 AM

I guess this expenditure could finally count as real stimulus. I would love to see some union members speak out, as long as they don’t protest I have to assume they agree.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Don’t worry about that $10 million. Thats what Porkulus was all about. It wasn’t union money…it was from Obama’s stash, and it was Chinese money to boot.

So, quit yer bitchin’.

BobMbx on June 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM

That 10 MILLION would have gone a long way to shore up the pension fund of SEIU members. But the union bosses (who’s pensions are FULLY FUNDED) have other priorities.

GarandFan on June 9, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Some union members are more equal than others.

BobMbx on June 9, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Will the rank and file members ever get fed up with ever increasing dues? If i was a $15 an hour union member and my “bosses” just “flushed” $10 million down the rat-hole, I’d be fed-frickin-up.

Tim Zank on June 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Yeah, you’d think. But my union experience is that for every member shouting to spare the Nazarene ten will be crowing loudly to free Barabbas.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Hate to rain on the parade, but $10 million lost in Arkansas does not mean $10 million less to spend elsewhere. It means $10 million more to extract from members’ paychecks. So don’t get too excited.

Mike Antonucci on June 9, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Big labor decided to teach her—and all Democratic members of Congress who were quailing at the prospect of voting for card check—a lesson. The lesson would be that, however much a vote for card check would reduce your chances of winning a general election, opposition to card check would result in your defeat in a Democratic primary.

This was an EXTREMELY stupid move by the unions, because Bill Clinton was campaigning for Lincoln in Arkansas! Why would unions ever try to fight Bill Clinton in his home state?

Let them think about how Senator Boozman will vote on card-check…

Steve Z on June 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Same here. People have told me that I must buy this or that, and I always ask them if they are union members (just for fun). When they say that they are, I tell them, “NO!”

No more GMC cars – nothing that the unions are involved with sucking off the tax payer teat.

Cody1991 on June 9, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Ford has a better idea?

Steve Z on June 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Ford has a better idea?

Steve Z on June 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM

No. Not interested in Ford, either. I am anti-union and would be more inclined to buy cars and any product that is produced from a non-union enterprise.

Cody1991 on June 9, 2010 at 11:32 AM

I think Ed missed the point. Yes, Lincoln won, but the unions sent a message to any democrat who isnt in lock step on card check. The unions will spend a forture to try to unseat you.

Labamigo on June 9, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Ehh…the unions will just borrow more money from banks and then get a bail out. This isn’t money they didn’t use wisely. This is yet more money we, the tax payers, are not using wisely.

uskorea on June 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Uh, all this means is $10m more out of taxes.. to union public sector employees… to the dems. It’s a racket and they have it sewed up tight.

WitchDoctor on June 9, 2010 at 11:55 AM

the unpopularity of the one bill Democrats took nine months to shove down the throats of a nation

Skipper, I keep telling you that’s not the oriface they used.

I R A Darth Aggie on June 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,”

Yes, but it’s fine if they flush it down The One’s toilet, right?

Wait, does he even need a toilet?

reaganaut on June 9, 2010 at 12:39 PM

The Unions didn’t have the funds to cover the reality check.

Soon their members will find out they are short of such funds, also… and then reality will return to them very, very hard. With interest.

ajacksonian on June 9, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Markos kos is as low today as he was with Ned Lamont. Encouraging his forces to stay home and welcome Senator Boozman.

Marcus on June 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

.
Could have something to do with this.

mrt721 on June 9, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Ehh…the unions will just borrow more money from banks and then get a bail out. This isn’t money they didn’t use wisely. This is yet more money we, the tax payers, are not using wisely.

Actually you should suggest BOA call the SEIU’s loan – they don’t have the cash btw. Why any bank would do business with a govt employees union in this environment is beyond me.

Zomcon JEM on June 9, 2010 at 4:02 PM

The unions will have money in November,

You know how the Union Extortion goes.

BDU-33 on June 9, 2010 at 8:14 PM