Thursday, June 30, 2011

A simpler explanation suffices

Dem Party blogger Braisted wrings his hands over the local service union's local endorsements and tries to portray them as conservative because they weren't embracing his candidates. He also compares them to the other unions in an attempt to single them out for their lack of conformity.

I'm not going to defend SEIU's endorsements because I don't agree with them. However, it is plain to me that the problem of a union not falling in lockstep with other unions on Metro endorsements may have more to do with the vacuum of populism among the council's social progressives, who seem more likely to ingratiate themselves to Karl Dean than represent communities. Dean's newly discovered "neighborhoods" fundraising focus will not change his autocratic, exclusive style of leadership that sucks up the rather feeble, utterly reliant leadership styles on the Metro Council.

And a simpler explanation suffices for the unions who have lined up behind the Dean bloc on council: they don't want to be cut out of the power networks built by money and strong-arm politics at the Courthouse. Despite Braisted's question begging, these endorsements are not likely related to ideology, but instead to self-interest. For example, would firefighters and cops have endorsed Dean and his Metro pets if the latter had tolerated cutting their wages and benefits and laying them off as in the case of public school service workers? I doubt it. SEIU opposed convention center construction because it opened up service employee wages to the risk of cuts to pay for future budget overages. So, why should they feel beholden to support Dean supporters? As the only union to be cut loose so far, SEIU should not be blamed for advancing their own self-interests after the service labor setbacks during Dean's watch.

In the end this is convenient, and thus, hollow jabber from a blogger who doesn't protest one iota when President Obama caves to Republican agendas. Yet, he pounces on and pigeonholes, without a second thought, SEIU as conservative for refusing to endorse candidates who have not defended their interests. Other than these endorsements, Braisted fails to demonstrate that the union frames their ideals conservatively. Look, Braisted is bent on supporting Karl Dean and the candidates most likely to advance Dean's career, because we're closing in on election time and that's just what he does as a party wonk and consultant, even at the expense of more razor-sharp reason.

UPDATE: Samantha Yeargin contends that my reference to Braisted as a Dem Party blogger is disingenuous.


  1. Mike, reading so much into such a short post. Do me a favor, take my post line by line and find which sentence you find objectionable. I pointed out that SEIU's endorsements were the most conservative to date of a labor organization, agree or disagree. I named a few of those conservatives, agree or disagree? I think spoke with an SEIU representative and put their explanation for their endorsements on the blog, agree or diagree?

  2. You speak of "power networks" built by money and strong-arm politics.

    The third comment to the story below this one speaks of these same "power networks" when it comes to the non-profit world.

    It's all the same folks in one big card game.

    And Dean is dealing.

  3. Whenever Mr. Barner leaves a comment I imagine him putting on sunglasses and screaming, "YEEEEEAAAAAAH!!!" a la Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami.

  4. I'm not sure your far off saying Braisted is a Dem party blogger. Other than downing Chip to support Wade Munday for party chair and his understandable complaints about Sen. Henry, I don't know of any posts from him that dont espouse the insider's party line.

    If he can't be called a Dem party blogger, it isnt for lack of trying.