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“Recallistas turn to cannibalism!” reads a headline at WisconsinReporter.com. A poster at the Democratic Underground site wondered, “When will Democrats get the message that eating their own is not a winning strategy?”
In a strange week in which a gay porn star from Canada, a Miami bath-salt enthusiast, and a Maryland college student grabbed headlines by indulging their culinary passion for human meat, political liberals subconsciously imitated the news by devouring one another. Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election served as the catalyst for the cannibalism.
Calling Barack Obama’s careful avoidance of Wisconsin “unforgivable,” Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild bluntly maintains that the president “betrayed his promise” and “abandoned his principles.” The editor of the 103-year-old Madison, Wisconsin-based publication holds that the administration has “alienated their base in Wisconsin. People here are furious at the White House, and that won’t help Obama come November.”
The Obama administration, for its part, has long signaled its aversion to the Lane Kirkland-Walter Reuther wing of the party. “Preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class,” Thomas Edsall reported last fall in the New York Times. “All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition” composed of “professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists—and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”
The White House never wanted organized labor’s Wisconsin recall. They just wanted organized labor’s manpower and donations. And organized labor thought its manpower and donations bought influence over the White House. Both misunderstood their own interests for the others’ interests.
Without the government, where would organized labor be? Not only does government employ a majority of unionized workers, it forces a majority of the remainder to “join” unions through the compulsory unionization laws that prevail in twenty-seven states.
Without the labor unions, where would the party of government be? Despite organized labor’s diminished clout, it still delivers tens of millions of dollars and battalions of campaign workers to Democrats every four years.
Labor’s waning influence in the Democratic Party is a reflection of its waning influence in the United States. In 1958, 30 percent of Americans working in the private sector belonged to labor unions. Today, less than seven percent do. Factor in the 37 percent unionization rate for public-sector employees and organized labor’s share of the total labor force approaches 12 percent, a figure that has been diminishing for decades. Labor’s anemic 21st-century numbers perhaps exaggerate its strength. Given the propensity of government dependents to back the party of government, the dramatic unionization of public sector workers redundantly creates a Democratic Party interest group out of an existing Democratic Party interest group.
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