I wrote last week at PJ Rule of Law – The GOP Goes Alinsky on Obama – referring to Clint Eastwood’s chair routine and other convention messages borrowing straight from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. And it worked out exactly as Alinsky predicted it would when he wrote “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” AFSCME head Lee Saunders proved the point as he lost his cool and started throwing things:
“Mitt Romney doesn’t have anything to say,” Saunders continued. “Paul Ryan doesn’t have anything to say.”
Suddenly, the tone changed: Saunders, finishing his speech, began to kick the chair, threw it, and yelled “Dirty Harry, make my day! We’re gonna kick ass in November!”
This tantrum doesn’t happen if Eastwood didn’t get under his skin. Mission accomplished.
But the union bosses have even more to worry about.
Saunders isn’t the only frustrated labor leader at the Democratic National Convention this year. American unions, in the throes of a long slide, have had perhaps their worst run ever facing not only the usual declining membership rolls, but also a public repudiation in a Wisconsin recall vote that centered on the place of public sector workers. Adding to that, the Democratic Party’s choice of Charlotte as the convention was a slap in the face: North Carolina has right-to-work laws and virtually no union presence. The fact that unions couldn’t influence the Democrats’ decision on location a testament to their less-than-omnipotent position.
And while labor leaders and rank-and-file profess to support Obama as much as ever, but the cracks are showing. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told Politico that federation isn’t bringing a full staff or even getting a skybox at the convention center. Battles in Ohio and Wisconsin have badly sapped union resources, a labor operative said. Other unions are focused down-ballot, labor operatives said, focused on saving the seats of true labor allies than of fighting for the national Democratic Party.
Trumka has good reason to worry. Trumka is a thug, plain and simple. The tactics he employed as a UMW boss in the coalfields of western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the 1970s and 1980s were infested with violence and threats. A visit from Trumka could be a harbinger of coal company windows being shot out by a rifle or, in some instances, coal company buildings burning down at night. (Better yet, Google Jerry Dale Lowe.) Of course Trumka had nothing to do with the behavior, right? Now that President Obama is waging an ideological attack on fossil fuel production, it is no wonder that rank and file trade union members want nothing to do with him. Keep the chairs away from Trumka this fall else you might get hurt.