Teachers unions angry with Obama staff “sellouts”

posted at 10:01 am on August 23, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

This story first came to my attention via a tweet from Kombiz Lavasany of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

When I see something like that, I know it’s got to lead to something good, so I obviously couldn’t resist following the link to an article by Jonathan Chait.

Obamans, Selling Out, and the Proxy Fight for the Democratic Party’s Future

Barack Obama has always had a slightly uneasy relationship with what one of his aides, very early, called “the professional left.” Actual liberal voters like Obama a lot. For that matter, they like Hillary Clinton, too. And yet serious doctrinal disputes between the administration and the cadres of full-time (i.e. “professional”) activists have always simmered just below the surface.

The “simmering” disputes in question here seem to center on instances where some of Obama’s loyal foot soldiers in the war for liberal ideals have left the administration and promptly gone to work cashing in on pretty much the exact opposite of their previously stated goals. Chait cites one example as Jim Messina, who went to work for David Cameron and the Tories (make of that what you will) and another being David Plouffe. Plouffe signed on with Uber, which apparently also enrages liberals for reasons which are hard to rationalize.

But the really interesting case studies cited are Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt, who Chait describes as having signed on to the education reform movement. (Insert Dramatic Hamster music here.)

The unions have framed these moves as a sellout. (“It’s been really frustrating from the standpoint of liberals, progressives,” longtime union leader Steve Rosenthal tells MSNBC.) But assuming this is a sellout presumes that the natural position for an Obama loyalist is to side with the unions. There’s no reason to think this.

Uber and education reform both highlight fissures within the Democratic coalition. The left side of this debate favors policies designed primarily or entirely for the benefit of public employees. The right side of this debate favors more competition that threatens incumbent providers.

This is a pretty stunning analysis (where “stunning” means shockingly frank), and Chait points out some of the things which unions oppose and Obama has ostensibly supported, such as “encouraging charter schools, evidenced-based metrics, and other forms of competition.”

These so called betrayals seem to be evidence that politicos are willing to toe the party line while on the government payroll, but once unleashed into the wilds of the private sector, they jump over to the winning side. Feel free to view this as proof of insincerity on the part of Plouffe and company, but Chait’s breakdown also serves to highlight the difference between the Left and the Right on one of the few fundamental issues where both sides seem to be fighting for the same cause.

Everyone claims to want to improve the educational system, increase efficiency and give kids the best chance at success by providing them with the greatest education possible while investing resources in an efficient manner. You’d think there would be a lot of cooperation across the aisle on something like this, but it’s clearly not been the case. Conservatives want to be able to expand educational choices for parents, eliminate waste, and remove pedophiles and deadbeats from the system rather than allowing them to hang out in rubber rooms on the taxpayer dime for years on end or simply be shuffled from one school system to another. The unions have a contrasting set of goals which apparently center on protecting the broken and toxic tenure system while keeping the spigot of taxpayer money wide open, flushing cash into the status quo while spending all their dues and contributions on political campaigns, rather than benefiting teachers.

But, in perhaps the most amusing part of this tale, Chait notes that the Left is afraid to go after Obama and chooses to pretend that some of his minions are doing this all on their own.

Teachers unions — or, at least, the most uncompromising elements of them — have fought against these policies in a slightly comic way. Rather than fight openly against Obama’s education policies, they have identified a series of proxy enemies like Michelle Rhee or Campbell Brown. The National Education Association recently passed a resolution demanding the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan — another union target — as if Duncan were some rogue figure who was enacting massive reform measures behind Obama’s back.

It’s bad business to go after Obama – or Hillary – so they will wage war with Arne Duncan. Because, you know… Obama probably didn’t know anything about it.


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Left is left. Damn them all.

Walter L. Newton on August 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Teachers unions with their panties in a wad? You mean incompetent teachers have actually been fired? Say it ain’t so.
Ahem, say it isn’t so.

partsnlabor on August 23, 2014 at 10:13 AM

The Lefties had similar problems with Willie and Hillie, if you recall.

formwiz on August 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The unions should start their own newspaper so The One will know what’s going on.

vnvet on August 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I’m sure that story I read about declining IQs in America have nothing to do with this………..

popup on August 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Where’s my tiny violin?

Del Dolemonte on August 23, 2014 at 10:28 AM

But in the end when it comes to voting they will all campaign and vote for the Democratic candidates.

The thinking: “The democrats are screwing us over, but as long as they are in power perhaps they can also un-screw us….”

albill on August 23, 2014 at 10:39 AM

The pre-existing elite in the guise of the teachers’ unions are incensed that their privileges might be curtailed in favor of other, newer elite groups.

There is only so much room at the top of the fasc-statist’s pyramid, and the jockeying is vicious.

Dolce Far Niente on August 23, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Dissolve all public unions.

BKeyser on August 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Alternative headline: “Self-serving Union Opportunists Feel Betrayed by Self-serving Political Opportunist.”

Fleece cash. Divide. Conquer. Next victim.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I dunno, anytime I see ‘Union Angry’ it always brightens my day just a bit.

BigWyo on August 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Since the founding of the Department of Education, how have student performance measures trended?

Since the founding of the Department of Labor and the entry of education unions, how have student performance measures trended?

Since the founding of these two departments, how have public employee unions performed in terms of raising money and supporting candidates sweet to their cause.

Your honor, the prosecution rests.

Conservative Mischief on August 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The National Education Association recently passed a resolution demanding the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan — another union target — as if Duncan were some rogue figure who was enacting massive reform measures behind Obama’s back.

Hey, if Lois Lerner can go after conservatives all on her own without Obama knowing a thing about it, and if Eric Holder can ship guns to Mexican drug cartels all on his own without Obama knowing a thing about it, and if the VA can neglect its patients and falsify their wait records all on its own, without Obama knowing a thing about it, and if Hillary Clinton can abandon State Department employees in Benghazi after Obama ordered them saved, without Obama knowing a thing about it, and if Eric Holder can seize AP reporter phone records all on his own without Obama knowing a thing about it,

Why would it surprise anybody that Arne Duncan could commit educational reform all on his own without Obama knowing a thing about it?

Zumkopf on August 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Also, this kind of stuff is why my wife–a dedicated teacher–and my children–great, smart students–will never step foot in a government school.

They’re in the Catholic parochial system here, which continually turns out students who get scholarships from major universities around the country.

Conservative Mischief on August 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Hey, he doesn’t care what they think . . . he’s just finishing up his eight year free ride with more perks and cash than he ever could have imagined. You’ve been had America, now live with it.

rplat on August 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Don’t know where else to put this, but due to a “clerical error” the 7th Circuit accidentally released a bunch of John Doe documents about Gov Scott Walker and there is a gigantic color photo of the Gov on the top of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning. You would think he was going to prison.

mypalfish on August 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Everyone claims to want to improve the educational system, increase efficiency and give kids the best chance at success by providing them with the greatest education possible while investing resources in an efficient manner.

Incorrect.

Teacher union leaders have argued that a kids greatest education is secondary to how well you’re treating the teachers and then, if the kids continue to fail, it’s not the teacher’s fault… it’s Republicans, capitalists, lack of school funding, still not paying the teachers enough, etc;

Skywise on August 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Where’s my tiny violin?

Del Dolemonte on August 23, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Damnit Del…we’ve told you to keep up with your stuff. put it on a keyring or something, sheesh.

Renee on August 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM

He better be careful, or that fat bitch from the Chicago teachers union will sit on him.

mojo on August 23, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Dissolve all public unions.

BKeyser on August 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

.

Alternative headline: “Self-serving Union Opportunists Feel Betrayed by Self-serving Political Opportunist.”

Fleece cash. Divide. Conquer. Next victim.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

.

I dunno, anytime I see ‘Union Angry’ it always brightens my day just a bit.

BigWyo on August 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

.
Dittos to ‘all-of-the-above’

listens2glenn on August 23, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Where’s my tiny violin?

Del Dolemonte on August 23, 2014 at 10:28 AM

.
Damnit Del…we’ve told you to keep up with your stuff. put it on a keyring or something, sheesh.

Renee on August 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM

.
Oops . . . . . I borrowed it for that “Teamsters appeal to “Top Chef” for employment by threatening to bash in Padma Lakshmi’s face” thread, and apparently didn’t get it back to you.

My apologies, Del’.

listens2glenn on August 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The thinking: “The democrats are screwing us over, but as long as they are in power perhaps they can also un-screw us….”

albill on August 23, 2014 at 10:39 AM

And remember, these self-loathing Americans are running our public school system – like most lefties, they simply cannot be made to be happy or content.
School choice is the Dem poison for this generation – single moms who can’t afford private schools want better for their kids, but Dems NEED teacher unions’ monies. Like loving both the Muslims and the gays, Dems cannot reconcile the dichotomy because these two will not ‘coexist’ and stay together. Nothing has more power to hurt the Dems than school choice.
Like Lefty thought processes in general, it won’t work in the real world.

DublOh7 on August 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Just implement Scott Walker’s reforms.
Don’t collect their dues.
Get the Unions off Federal property and time.

Sgt Stryker on August 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

My usual reaction whenever teachers’ unions get upset is: Boo. Hoo.

RebeccaH on August 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM

E-mail floater. Plus, don’t miss this either.

The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.

Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America:
1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.

Makes you wonder who is doing the math.

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:
1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.
Funny how that works. And here’s another one worth considering…

2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.
Think about it…..and Last but not least,

3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are NOT stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.
Am I the only one missing something?

Schadenfreude on August 23, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Dissolve all public unions.

BKeyser on August 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Wade on August 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Dissolve all public unions.

BKeyser on August 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

.
Wade on August 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM

.
I’m torn on this one, because I’ve witnessed too many jobs run out of the country, but the Unions relating to railroad labor seem to be functioning in a positive way for all sides, at this present time..

listens2glenn on August 23, 2014 at 1:44 PM

These so called betrayals seem to be evidence that politicos are willing to toe the party line while on the government payroll, but once unleashed into the wilds of the private sector, they jump over to the winning side.

Or, in conservative terms, most people work in their own interests most of the time.

A truism most Democrats live privately, but deny publically.

And if you wonder why Blacks have troubles in this country, the Democratic teacher’s union support is one reason.

Indeed, it’s three strikes and you’re out:

Democratic welfare policies have essentially destroyed the Black family structure (because it is in Democratic interests to foster dependence) making it harder for Blacks to achieve success.

Democratic public school policies produce crappy inter-city teaching, making it even harder for Blacks to achieve success (because it is in Democratic interests to garner union support).

Democratic affirmative actions policies (begun to retain the Black vote by compensating for Democratically produced crappy inter-city schools) results in Black achievement, when it does occur against the odds, being attributed to special treatment, rather than effort.

So, in conclusion, it’s not hard to argue that the Democratic Party has been waging a war against Black success because it is the Party’s self-interest to do so.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Good piece Jazz.

J.B. Say on August 23, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Up their nose with a rubber hose!

Attention censors: this is a reference to a TV show from the 1970′s in the USA where I live.
The relevance is it was held in an inner-city high school with union teachers, who were simultaneously burned-out by the antics of the kids and the rigid bureaucracy of the union controlled school system.
Thanks for considering this before deleting my post as non-relevant, I’ll explain all of my posts for you from now on.

Tard on August 23, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Teachers unions angry with Obama staff “sellouts”

but they’d back him again in a heartbeat. These Liberals still haven’t figured out that Socialists like Obama are merely gangsters using an alternative avenue for acquiring wealth and power-namely by relying upon the ideologies of Liberal “suckers”.

Socialists only like unions to the extent that they can control them and profit off of them. They don’t believe private individuals nor organized groups should have any say-so apart from the State…hmmm, like many “Conservatives” apparently believe…

Democratic public school policies produce crappy inter-city teaching, making it even harder for Blacks to achieve success (because it is in Democratic interests to garner union support).

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

To some extent I would agree. But I doubt kids from equally crappy neighborhoods and crappy home lives are really that concerned about attending school and learning. Some point out private schools and how well many minorities do in them. In the first place, it’s because the parent(s) give a damn about their kids so they get support for education at home.

In the second place, the drug dealers and hell-raisers aren’t tolerated by private concerns. I agree with that view, and public schools should start kicking them out, too. White, black, yellow, whatever…we can’t afford the dead weight and the disruptive in our schools. We simply don’t have any money and certainly cannot support these monstrously large school districts any longer.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 23, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 23, 2014 at 8:31 PM

My point was not that groups and individuals should not have power. I believe in limiting Federal power as much as possible. Unfortunately, Democrats have been chipping away at the three pillars of countervailing power (state governments, religion, and the family) for decades. And that too reflects the Democratic Party’s self-interests by reducing resistance to their cockamamie ideas.

My point was that because of the money and support they received from the teacher’s union, the Democratic Party has placed those interests above the students and our country’s interests.

Markets determine success in a bottom-up system (in which self-interests are assumed). Connections determine success in a top-down system (in which a public-spirited orientation is pretended). Bottom-up systems result in fairness, growth and wealth. Top-down systems result in hypocrisy, bureaucracy, stagnation, and poverty.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 23, 2014 at 11:30 PM

When will Teachers ever learn.

Hopefully Obama will tech them a lesson.

Nat George on August 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Lot of fissures and cracks in the democrat foundation, but they almost all agree on disarming you.

bbhack on August 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM