Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Labor and Lieberman

Connecticut Local Politics links to a CT News Junkie article on Lieberman's strong support within the labor movement, and argues that absent a major union backing Lamont, this is evidence of a strategy among labor to cut off the challenging campaign before it starts. From the article:

"I have a different stance than Joe on the war," said Robert Proto, President of UNITE-HERE Local 35 in New Haven. "It's clear many of our folks don't think the direction we're taking [in Iraq] is right, especially because we have no concrete exit plan. But our culture is to endorse folks who have stood side by side with us."

Obviously, this is understandable. UNITE-HERE's purpose is to protect those who have helped protect its members, and I would be just as surprised if they suddenly decided to support Lamont as I would if Chris Dodd did. The question becomes whether expending significant effort and money on Lieberman's behalf in a primary becomes a priority for labor, or whether they approach the race less enthusiastically. In any case, SEIU, somewhat surprisingly, comes off as much more open-minded:

Another large progressive union, the Service Employees International Union, hasn't started its deliberations about this primary, though two of its largest locals already endorsed John DeStefano for governor. Lieberman's support for the war has caused enormous hurt for working families, due to federal budget cuts necessary to pay for the occupation, according to Paul Filson, director of SEIU's state council.

"We're sympathetic to a lot of Lamont's positions but we're not in a hurry to jump into a primary race," Filson said.

There will be massive institutional support for Lieberman, something I'm sure Lamont and his staff understood fully before they ever considered entering the race. What this makes clear is that the race can't be entirely about Iraq - and Lamont's recent rhetoric suggests he is also well aware of this. Just as Joe was on the wrong side on Iraq, he was on the wrong side of countless issues affecting working families in the state. (Does no one remember his performance dealing with Bush's Social Security privatization debacle?)

It is in labor's interest - as much as it is in every Connecticut Democrat's interest - to ask which candidate would do a better job by them. Loyalty should never be a one-way street.
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