With some polls showing Barack Obama down five points to Mitt Romney, it’s clear that Americans are far from convinced that the president deserves a second term in office. But as Obama ramps up his re-election campaign he can find solace in the fact that key members of his coalition, namely the green movement and labor unions, have decided to stand by his candidacy.
In announcing his re-election, the president has repeatedly stressed the importance of green jobs and exhaustive environmental regulations, measures taken over Obama’s term in office to appease one of his key constituencies. The pandering quickly paid off last month as Obama racked up the endorsement of green crusaders Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environment America. The same is true of labor unions. Despite his best efforts to get card check legislation passed in Congress, labor unions are still backing their guy. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reportedly has “unfettered access” to the president, visiting the White House some 71 times since the president was sworn in over three years ago. But not everything is well in the once blissful Obama coalition, with green groups and labor unions on opposite ends in a number of key debates.
The president’s decision to block the Keystone XL Pipeline was resoundingly criticized by free market groups, the Canadian government and members of Congress. However, the AFL-CIO has been one of the fiercest critics of the Obama administration intransigence over the issue, stating that the pipeline can still be done in an “environmentally friendly way and still create the jobs.” But what Trumka failed to mention was green groups like WWF, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are all opposed to the pipeline. Period. The Natural Resources Defense Council has claimed that the president has “no choice but to reject the pipeline.” And in doing so, greens are destroying union jobs—thousands of them. But this is no spat. The so-called BlueGreen Alliance is now in jeopardy after the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) quit the group in protest against the environmentalists refusing to even negotiate over Keystone.