Wednesday, March 2, 2011
In an op ed for The Wall Street Journal, Seth Lipsky wrote that Governor Palin's reaching out to union workers mirrors Ronald Reagan:
So which Republican is reaching out to union labor today in the way that Reagan did? It turns out to be another union veteran, named—wait for it—Sarah Palin. Almost the first thing she said in 2008 when she was introduced by Sen. John McCain as his running mate was that she was married to a proud member of the United Steelworkers. She herself was, when she worked at a local power utility and telephone company, a card-carrying sister in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Mrs. Palin has been using Facebook to reach out to the rank and file. A few months ago she so enraged AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that he travelled to Alaska to give a speech attacking her. Mrs. Palin responded with a Facebook posting headlined "Union Brothers and Sisters, Join Our Commonsense Cause." It was not she, Mrs. Palin wrote, whose policies were causing such high unemployment—"that would be the man in the large white house on Pennsylvania Avenue."
The feud generated so much Internet traffic that a columnist at the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne, complained that Mr. Trumka couldn't get any attention with his usual speeches. "Maybe," he suggested, "if Trumka turns himself into one of Palin's leading public adversaries, his substantive comments will start getting attention."
Mrs. Palin has lately been upping the ante, arguing that labor leadership has lost touch and is serving "not union members, not union families, and certainly not the larger community." She's been using labor lingo to make a conservative case. She writes that her message to "good union brothers and sisters is that you have another option."
What she tells them is they can "join millions of other union members in a commonsense movement" to help fight "for budgets that share the burden in a truly fair way and for commonsense reforms that take power away from vested interests like union bosses and big business lobby groups, and put it back where it belongs—with 'We the People.'"
No doubt Mrs. Palin will be laughed at by the union leadership. And not even she suggests she yet has the depth of experience or tough hide of Ronald Reagan. But like Reagan she has a union card in her background. She also seems to appreciate what Reagan found out, that on some issues Big Labor was to his right, after all.
Read the full article here.