Anonymous attack from White House on labor backfiring big time

The anonymous “senior White House official” who called Ben Smith last night to bitch about labor set off a firestorm. Last night, Greg Sargent had an excellent analysis of what the race meant:

No matter what you read about this, the Halter challenge was a show of force by the left. Period. If you don’t belive that, ask yourself why Lincoln suddenly found herself backing a tough-on-derivatives proposal in the Senate, why Obama had to cut radio ads and robocalls to save Lincoln, and why Bill Clinton had to come into the state to instruct voters not to listen to unions in order to save Lincoln’s hide.

It remains to be seen who on the left will lift a finger to help Lincoln from here on out. More on this tomorrow, but for now, it’s clear that the Dem establishment threw its weight behind a candidate who polls show is less likely to win the general election — and Dems may have just lost themselves a Senate seat.

Today, Greg compiled some of the reaction to the deliberate White House attack on labor (and it was deliberate. The “senior White House official called Ben.) The White House political team has created a political problem, something the geniuses over there seem quite adept at doing. Solving political problems, not so much. But, creating drama and screwing over allies, that’s where Team Obama excels:

* Markos says labor and the left won’t lift a finger to help Blanche Lincoln: “So say hello to Sen. John Boozman, the next senator from the great state of Arkansas.”

* Jane Hamsher, on the anonymous White House official who urinated on unions for flushing $10 million “down the toilet”:

Labor is not your bitch, and their money isn’t yours to direct. They’re supposed to take what, another six years of black eyes from Blanche Lincoln just because you say so? If their $8 million buys derivatives legislation and limits the damage that the Masters of the Universe can do to the world economy in the future, it’s not only a bargain, it also means that a bunch of nurses and janitors have done more to rein in the banks than you and your entire pack of servile, visionless Wall Street lackeys has done since you took office.

* Before you conclude that the talk about derivatives is just empty Netroots chest-thumping, listen to Marc Ambinder:

Netroots pressure and labor pressure DID work. It DID force Lincoln to introduce a tougher derivatives bill.

* Jed Lewison is appalled by the self-defeating nature of the White House’s insulting of labor, saying it’s “weakening the Democratic coalition.”

* The AFL-CIO goes public with its pushback against the White House. From union spox Eddie Vale, mocking the official’s anonymity:

“My name is Eddie Vale of the AFL-CIO and I’m proud to fight for working families and I don’t hide behind anonymous quotes.”

That the White House political operation decides to start a fight with its allies when the President’s approval rating is hovering around 46% – 47% is ridiculous. It’s hard to convey just how clumsy and inept the White House political team is. And, don’t forget, the leader of this mess, Jim Messina, is rumored to be the campaign manager for the reelection. Next year, he’ll be asking for our help in the reelection and pretend that none of the slights ever happened.

It was a year ago this week when the Obama administration vociferously defended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) with that infamous “incest and pedophilia” brief. The gay community was the really first the constituency to realize how badly we were going to be treated by our “fierce advocate.” We often said we were the canaries in the coal mine. I think pretty much every other progressive constituency gets it now.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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