Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Won't Obama Keep His Promise ?

During the campaign of 2008, Barack Obama knew he could not win without the traditional Democratic coalition supporting him in a united effort (even with the unpopularity of the outgoing administration helping). And a large part of that coalition is made up of workers, especially union workers. Obama made it clear while on the campaign trail that he stands behind union workers and would do whatever he could to help them -- even to the point of walking a picket line with them.

He told those workers, "If American workers are being denied the right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States." It was a bold and wonderful promise. Now it's time for him to live up to that promise.

The idiot governor of Wisconsin, bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and their right-wing cohorts, is trying to bust the public union in that state. Those workers have already agreed to cuts in pay and benefits, but that's not good enough for Gov. Walker. He's out to bust the union. And those workers are demonstrating, with the help of their fellow citizens, in an effort to save their union. They have asked to president to come and help them.

This is a critical fight -- not just for Wisconsin workers, but for workers everywhere. And it would be a huge boost for workers all over this country for the president to go to Wisconsin and show his solidarity with the workers. He doesn't have to stay long or even carry a picket sign. Just come a shake a few hands for 15 or 20 minutes, and say a few encouraging words. His mere presence would speak volumes.

But it seems the president has no intention of honoring his promise to workers in their time of need. White House spokesmen say the president has no plans to go to Wisconsin anytime soon. I have to wonder why not? Is he afraid it will upset his new friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or on Wall Street? Is he afraid it would hurt his re-election chances? Does he think supporting the workers will anger the congressional Republicans?

Frankly, I don't care what his reasons are. He made a promise. It's now time to honor that promise. If he doesn't, it makes that promise seem like nothing more than campaign rhetoric. And he might find a lot of those workers staying at home on election day in 2012. Why should they vote for someone who makes empty promises that he won't keep.

Go to Wisconsin, Mr. President. It's time to make a stand, and honor a promise.

1 comment:

  1. From what I understand (based on a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberly Strassel), the reason he's not honoring his promise to the Wisconsin public employee union members is because of the dirty little secret that there are about 2 million federal employees who can't collectively bargain for wages or benefits, thanks to the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by a Democratic President (Jimmy Carter).

    During the first two years of the Obama Administration, when the President enjoyed Democratic control of both houses of Congress, nothing was done to change this. So leaning too hard on Wisconsin (or any other state, for that matter) might be seen as hypocritical.


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