Someone Punch Me In My Gut Feeling
I think I have a candidate for my most embarrassing prediction: back when Michael Bennet was selected as Colorado's newest Senator to replace Ken Salazar, I said that he would be a great appointment. It was based on some things I read about his education reform in Denver, not about his substantive positions on issues, which were somewhat unclear. In the weeks since, Bennet put himself right in the middle of the "Axis of Centrists" who wrung concessions and cut funding out of the stimulus package. And now, he refuses to say whether or not he supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which, considering that Colorado Democrats have a lot of union members and he's almost certain to face a primary, is a form of political suicide in addition to being terrible policy.
When asked, Sen. Michael Bennet either "doesn't know" if he supports The Employee Free Choice Act or "hasn't decided" yet. Truly amazing. Bennet, who, you'll recall, was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO) to replace Sen. Salazar, hasn't had to be accountable to the people of Colorado so I guess doesn't see any reason to ruffle any feathers by actually taking a stand on one of the most important pieces of legislation he's likely to vote on in the coming year.
Great work by Darcy and CO-06 challenger David Canter for applying pressure on Bennet and the entire Colorado congressional delegation to come out strongly and vocally in support of The Employee Free Choice Act.
Todd Beeton notes that the difference between 2007, when Bennet's partner in centrism in Colorado Mark Udall was a co-sponsor of Employee Free Choice, and 2009, when Udall is wavering, is that "the President supports it now, so there's actually a possibility of its getting passed." As well it, you know, should. Steven Greenhouse's formulation of what Employee Free Choice would do is accurate:
Any doubts that union leaders might have had about Mr. Obama dissolved several weeks ago when, in announcing a new Task Force on the Middle Class, he said: “I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it’s part of the solution. You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement." [...]
Labor is pinning its biggest hopes on the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that unions hope will add millions of new members by giving workers the right to union recognition as soon as a majority of employees at a workplace sign pro-union cards. The bill would take away management’s ability to insist on a secret ballot election.
This isn't about stripping the rights of workers. It's about stopping management's stranglehold on the process. And Bennet hasn't said who's side he's on - labor or management.
My apologies to the blog for saying this guy was a comer.