Rocks in the Road


New Orleans    Steven Greenhouse, the ace labor reporter for the Times and perhaps the last of that dying breed, in an article about the current love-fest between the Obama Administration and organized labor, quoted business sources indicting the Senators that corporate America is targeting in order to deny passage of Employee Free Choice to workers. The list was depressingly familiar and has a disturbingly southern accent. Republican and business strategists say they are focusing on lobbying several Democratic senators, especially Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mark Warner of Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, to help deny the 60 Senate votes needed for passage. Two from Arkansas, one from Louisiana, one from Virginia, and thankfully one from the west/Midwest to keep the accent from being totally southern are the short list for the opposition. Given all of the calls we have gotten from AFL and other union friends recently, the same folks are on the other list as well. My bet is that these Democratic Party conservative cabal is also the goal line defense that could stop immigration reform, health care reform, and other critical initiatives. Maybe this will come down to principles of some kind, who knows? On the other hand watching the lone legislator in California bargain in recent weeks for a slice of the moon in exchange for his vote to pass the state budget there, maybe we should also start thinking about what the “offsets” might be for these Senators in delivering the bacon so that tens of millions of Americans could finally sit at the table. In Louisiana maybe Landrieu could finally deliver hurricane 5 levee protection for New Orleans. In Arkansas maybe there could be jobs outside of Wal-Mart and chicken plucking? You get the idea.