As Hillary Clinton continues her efforts to consolidate her support among labor unions – the Democrats largest Super PACs – she may be encountering a bit of trouble on that front because of her selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate. As we all know, unions hate Right to Work laws because they provide competition in labor costs and provide more options for workers, not to mention the fact that open shops don’t automatically steal their workers’ wages and donate them to the Democrats without their consent. So where does Kaine stand on the Right to Work issue? Well… it’s complicated.
If you were to believe a tweet from union boss Richard Trumka this week, Kaine is all in for the unions on this question.
— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) August 3, 2016
Note that he chooses to say Kaine “reaffirms” his opposition to “bad laws” such as Right to Work. That would lead one to believe that Kaine has held this position all along, wouldn’t it? But as Politico reported almost immediately, that hasn’t been the case at all.
An AFL-CIO spokesperson told Morning Shift, “I do believe [Kaine] has been against right-to-work previously,” but couldn’t point to any specific statement. A Clinton spokesperson told Morning Shift Kaine previously opposed (and continues to oppose) passage of a federal right-to-work law. But prior to joining the Clinton campaign Kaine supported right-to-work at the state level–which is where all the action is. In 2012, when Kaine was governor of the right-to-work state of Virginia, a spokeswoman said Kaine “upheld the law as governor and will continue to support states’ rights to establish their own rules on this issue as a senator.”
Jeremy Adler, communications director at America Rising Squared (the 501c4 division of Republican opposition research group America Rising), e-mailed Morning Shift that Kaine’s repudiation of right-to-work showed Democrats “continue to be yanked left by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and VP nominee Tim Kaine is their latest victim, flip-flopping on abortion, free trade, and now on right to work.”
There’s more evidence that this is an “evolved” position for Kaine (as Democrats tend to describe flip flops) to be found during his 2013 campaign in Virginia. At that time he was actually challenged on not being supportive enough of the state’s Right to Work status and his team scoffed at the idea. (News Advance)
Brandi Hoffine, Kaine’s media spokeswoman, replied Kaine “supports Virginia’s right-to-work laws.”
“He upheld the law as Governor and will continue to support states’ rights to establish their own rules on this issue as a Senator,” she said in an email statement Monday afternoon.
“For anyone to claim otherwise is ludicrous. By the standard Republicans are using, we could say George Allen is anti-right-to-work because he didn’t speak out against the seven NLRB nominees President Bush confirmed in recess appointments.”
Rather than being shocked or surprised, this should actually provide proof that Kaine is an ideal running mate for Clinton. She’s already flip flopped on every major issue on the books from guns to abortion to gay marriage. To see Kaine quickly and conveniently shifting his “core beliefs” to a far leftward stance is of a piece with pretty much everything Hillary Clinton has done over the course of her political career.
Say whatever you need to say when you need to say it in order to pick up a few more votes. Principles are for suckers, kids. We’re in this thing to win it.