Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Money Shouldn't Change Everything

In "What's with Labor's 180-Degree Turn?" Ryan Alessi marvels:

In March 2007, amid the Democratic primary for governor, key unions in Kentucky not only wrote off the possibility of backing Lunsford, some openly campaigned against him. Many in organized labor remained steamed over Lunsford's 2003 run for governor, in which he dropped out of the Democratic primary and later backed Republican Ernie Fletcher in the general election.
Yes, labor issued an anti-endorsement of Lunsford last year. Officials even formed a 527 to fight him in the gubernatorial primary. This year, though, the KY AFL-CIO and the Kentucky chapter of the United Mine Workers are endorsing him over the other Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate race.

So why the about-face?

First, the message from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, was unmistakable: Lunsford is their guy. Schumer and the national AFL-CIO, therefore, had a keen interest in Kentucky's labor unions getting behind him, and they made sure to say so, said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky AFL-CIO.

"There may have been a phone call or two," he said.

Second, the unions made the same political calculations that Schumer already has. Lunsford's vast personal wealth can help catch up to McConnell's $10 million fund-raising head start, and his millions of dollars' worth of TV ads run in two previous statewide races made his name familiar to voters.

Alessi has put his finger on one thing: Lunsford's preferred status in the Senate race was the result of a top-down move by Chuck Schumer and the DSCC. Too bad he doesn't include Schumer's strongarm tactics in running other, more truly Democratic, candidates out of the race.

Page One Kentucky is more stalwart. They report:
From a Fischer campaign staffer:

Schumer, et al has all ready screamed and yelled and threatened Greg and some of his key financial backer saying they will ‘crush’ Greg’s abiltity to raise money. We lost a couple of consultants that we had offered positions too because Schumer found out and basically said if you want any more work from DSCC - do not take Fischer race…

From a Horne campaign staffer:

Beshear’s people and the DSCC basically came in and screwed the entire campaign. When we wouldn’t drop out of the race they started threatening Andrew, his financial backers, elected officials who supported him, his campaign staff, told us we would never work on a Senate race again. Beshear’s people made it very clear to us that we could never work on a state race again either as long as Jennifer Moore or their other people are involved with the party.
What public spin is being put on Lunsford's endorsement by labor leaders, who should be rightfully offended at blatant threats of people becoming 'unhirable' in their chosen profession?

Again from the Herald-Leader:
"Let's be honest, there's not a whole lot of difference in how they stood on our working-family issues," he [Londrigan] said. "But on balance, we measured Bruce to be a candidate that had more capability to challenge Mitch -- money, name recognition, the support he's going to receive from the ... big players in D.C., the DSCC."

Hey, how about Fischer's lack of a track record for screwing over labor? No matter what Lunsford says now, his past says something else. He donated money to many anti-labor candidates, most notably Mitch McConnell himself. When he dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial race in 2007, he immediately endorsed Ernie Fletcher, who abolished the Labor Cabinet and tried to pass a right-to-work (aka 'right-to-be-fired') law and a repeal of the prevailing wage law. But no, they're going with the money Big Business generates, and forgetting the reasons Big Business gave people for creating unions in the first place. Next year, they'll be reminded of those reasons if Lunsford takes that Senate seat. It is unlikely, however, since a choice between Lunsford and McConnell is no choice at all for many Democrats.

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