Not surprisingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, Reid’s position has endeared him to organized labor over the years, as he has echoed their concerns about American workers losing and foreign manufacturers winning. But Reid’s long-term relationship with labor in Nevada has frayed over Obamacare. The leader of the parent organization of the most powerful union in Nevada, the Culinary, co-wrote a scathing letter last week to Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying Obamacare “undermines fair market competition” and that they are “bitterly disappointed.”
Perhaps that letter was on his mind. Reid knows how important labor will be to turnout in Nevada in November, not to mention the ground forces he will need in other states if he is to continue his quest to become the longest-serving majority leader in history. And with the Culinary Union threatening to sit on the sidelines because of Obamacare, he needs to signal to labor that he is still a friend. (The AFL-CIO chief in Nevada already has signaled his approval of Reid’s objection to fast-track.)
You can’t take the politics out of the policy on this one. And you also can’t ignore that while Obama’s broadside in his speech about taking “steps without legislation” was directed at Republicans, Reid has never taken kindly to the executive branch trying to limit congressional authority.