Color me skeptical on this argument — to a point. Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Al Checchi tells Fox News today that we can expect to see the Democratic Party and Big Labor going their separate ways after the recall election in Wisconsin — and perhaps especially the two city-wide pension-reform referendums in Checchi’s California, two states long ruled by union power. Have Democrats finally realized that their reliance on union money, in particular government-worker union money, puts them on the wrong side of public sentiment about government costs and power? Maybe:
There are a couple of data points to support Checchi’s argument, the elections themselves primarily. When Wisconsin and San Jose, California rally to defy public-employee unions and support cuts in government costs, it’s difficult to determine where exactly a marriage with Big Labor will actually help get Democrats elected. On the union side, having Barack Obama go AWOL in their biggest fight in years doesn’t exactly give them any reason to spend resources electing Democrats at all. That explains the AFL-CIO decision reported last week to which Checchi refers:
The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama. …
“We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. “There will be less contributions to candidates,” including President Obama.
While there were “a lot of different opinions” about whether Obama should have gone to Wisconsin, according to Goldstein, “this is not a slight at the president.”
Perhaps that’s true — but can anyone imagine the AFL-CIO making these changes if Obama had campaigned on their behalf? They would have waited until after the end of this campaign, especially given the short period of time left this year before the national election. On the other hand, unless Big Labor gets in line with public sentiment and stops backing hard-progressive policies like ObamaCare, where else do they go? And where else do Democrats go to raise the kind of money they need? It’s going to be mighty difficult for unions and Democrats to quit each other.
I’ll still put this in the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it category, especially since Checchi isn’t exactly a household-name expert on either unions or Democrats. If it’s on the level, though, Democrats are about to have a very bad year.