AFL-CIO chief in Alaska: Palin's like a new Joe McCarthy, except also violent

This is basically a sneak preview of how Murkowski will try to lure Democrats if she goes third-party, right? Palin is the devil and Joe Miller is her spawn Damien, etc. In fact, I’m surprised more Dems aren’t launching this sort of shrill attack on Sarahcuda nationwide. They’re looking for a villain and neither Bush nor John Boehner quite fits the bill of getting the lefty base sufficiently enraged to vote in the midterms. Palin does, and thanks to Miller’s upset, her profile’s never been higher. What better time for Democrats to try to capitalize on that by beating up on her to motivate liberals?

Or is that the whole point of Trumka’s address?

And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about — and I quote — “union thugs.” What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are.

Oh, she goes to great pains to talk differently about unions and the working people who belong to them, knowing full well we’re one and the same.

But using the term “union thug.” That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers…

Quite frankly, America works because lots of people contribute lots of ideas — that’s good — even when some of them are just plain wrong. But people need to come to the table in good faith. That’s not Sarah Palin. She’ll go down in history like McCarthy. Palinism will become an ugly word.

Who is this woman, anyway? What happened to her?

She has indeed taken pains to distinguish union leaders from the rank and file. In fact, what she actually said in Tyler was, “Some unions might not like it, not the union membership, but the union leaders, too many, who are thugs.” She’s made that distinction consistently, including today on Twitter and a few weeks ago on Facebook. And speaking of which, here’s her response to Trumka, just posted:

It’s kind of ironic that a union boss has the gall to accuse anyone of threatening violence. After all, we remember the violent attempts by SEIU to intimidate those who wanted to make their voices heard in last year’s town halls. And unlike Trumka, I never threatened that any effort to break a picket line would lead to violence. Come to think of it, neither did I ever hide behind the Fifth Amendment during a federal investigation about union corruption. Then again, I was just an ordinary, card-carrying union member, not one of the big shots who ended up, unfortunately, giving unions a bad name…

In the past there were many great union leaders who courageously defended the rights of workers. Unions were founded for all the right reasons! They were to give working men and women the clout to negotiate fairly with their employers and to fight for decent pay and working conditions. The unions of old would often end up fighting big government on behalf of the little guy. Today’s unions seem to be big government’s most enthusiastic supporters. It’s turned into some nonsense when union bosses back the government takeover of the car industry, and the mortgage industry, and the entire health care sector. And with the help of big government they aim to push through card check legislation that some characterize as being unfair to workers, and even un-American, because of its insistence on stripping workers of their right to privacy with a secret ballot. And that’s not just me voicing concern over card check – ask current union members how comfortable they are with what some of their leaders are saying about the legislation.

To my hardworking, patriotic brothers and sisters in the labor movement: you don’t have to put up with the scare tactics and the big government agenda of the union bosses. There is a different home for you: the commonsense conservative movement. It cares about the same things you and I care about: a government that doesn’t spend beyond its means, an economy focused on creating good jobs with good wages, and a leadership that is proud of America’s achievements and doesn’t go around apologizing to everyone for who we are.

Lots more at the link, although to experience the full irony of Trumka objecting to union leaders being described as thugs, you’ll have to take a trip down memory lane below with the National Right to Work Committee. Theirs isn’t the only example of him not “com[ing] to the table in good faith” — check out the end of this clip from Campaign 2008 in which he talks about taking America back from the “right-wing race-haters”(?) — but it’s by far the creepiest. Exit quotation: “If you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you’re going to burn your finger.”