Nobody is grinning wider about Barack Obama’s lead in the polls than big union bosses. This election is their best shot in a half-century to make over Washington. If they can capture the White House, the House of Representatives, and produce a filibuster-proof Senate, they are looking at the biggest rewrite of labor law in modern history.
If this happens, The Wall Street Journal says, it “could lead to higher payroll and health costs for companies already being hurt by rising fuel and commodities costs and the tough economic climate.” In turn, all prices go up for you, too.
To understand the excitement Obama creates for Big Labor, you need to look back at his early days in Chicago, because it was in organizing that Obama began his foray into politics.
Obama’s arrival in Chicago in June 1985, to work with the Developing Communities Project on Chicago’s South Side, became a pivotal and eye-opening experience. He was tossed right away into neighborhoods where crushing poverty, raging violence, a cornucopia of drugs and homicidal crime were endemic.
At this time, Obama’s mentors schooled him in the Alinsky method, named for the radical socialist Saul Alinsky. He believed in agitating people so intensely, making them so angry about their rotten lives that they “rub raw the sores of discontent” and take action to change their lives. Alinsky’s book, titled “Rules for Radicals,” became the lodestar for Obama’s approach to politics.
As Obama wrote in his memoirs: “Change won’t come from the top…Change will come from mobilized grass roots. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll organize black folks… For change.”
For the unions, Obama has been a long time in coming.
George W. Bush gave the unions eight years of corruption probes, and forced more openness in their financial dealings. Bill Clinton gave them NAFTA. George H.W. Bush allowed workers to withhold the political dues they pay unions. Ronald Reagan famously broke the air traffic controllers’ union. During this time the U.S. workforce came to see little value in unions, and today only 7.4 percent of private-sector workers are members of a union.
Union bosses are well aware that their days were numbered until Obama came along. And they are sparing no expense in getting him elected.
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