Anti-Obama downballot boomerang?

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Oct. 14 2008 6:11 AM

Anti-Obama Boomerang?

Why more votes for McCain might mean more Dems in Congress.

The "October Surprise" that might help McCain wouldn't be a new bin Laden tape, or an Al Qaeda attack, but rather a medium-sized setback in Iraq, no? One of McCain's problems is that voters aren't paying much attention to Iraq--because it looks from our distant vantage point like the war is finally on a glide path to an honorable U.S. drawdown of troops. How much damage could Obama do?  But if suddenly the near-term outcome in Iraq seems to be in doubt, voters could decide that McCain has shown better judgment on recent strategy in the war. ... Of course, if the U.S. Iraq project suffers a huge setback, McCain's support for Petraeus' surge would look distinctly less prescient. Hence, "medium-sized." ...  3:05 A.M.

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Knock, knock. Who's there? Another McGoverniteA reader writes about "card check"  unionization-

 I'm an Obama supporter - voted for him [in] the primary, and plan to again in November - but I share your concern on this particular issue.

There's a unionization campaign going on in my company, and the organizers from the local seem to be running the campaign as if card check already existing - knocking on doors, getting cards signed, and trying to use them as leverage to get management to agree to the union without an election. They don't have the votes yet for an election, and they may be biding their time until card check is passed.

 Co-workers who've had union reps show up unannounced at their doors (with cards in hand) were freaked out by it.  When people get a first-hand taste of this, they don't like it.  I can't believe that if the basic facts of this issue were made known that a majority of people would support it.

P.S.--Fear of 59? An earlier Assignment desk asked  if any Democratic senators might turn against card-check to sustain a filibuster even if the Dems get a 60-seat majority. An informed emailer answers by noting that every Democrat voted for cloture on "card check" when the issue came up in 2007 (except Tim Johnson, who was unable to vote). Of course, their judgment might change when their cloture vote would mean the bill would actually pass. Likely-senator Mark Warner of Virginia  and possible-senator Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi are mentioned as a potential anti-card-check apostates in the next Congress, along with incumbents Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). ... Might any GOP senators defect the other way? Yes. Arlen Specter voted for cloture in 2007 and would presumably do it again (which means that the magic number for organized labor could be 59, not 60, Democrats). And beatable Republicans up for reelection in 2010 (e.g., Voinovich, Grassley, Vitter) might worry about angering the unions. ...

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Update-Labor Fights Back! B. emails--

[W]hat your reader describes today can happen with or without card check -- in fact, it has always been part of a union drive.  In fact, unions have to get cards from 30% of employees to get a secret-ballot vote.

Yes, but the impact of possibile intimidation, the fear of intimidation and the temptation to engage in intimidation will presumably increase when a home visit by union reps is designed to collect the decisive vote, by card, instead of just simply a card that leads to a decisive vote by secret ballot. The "freaking out" potential could escalate exponentially. Under current law, you can sign the card to get the union reps to go away and then decide later for yourself whether you want a union or not. Under card check, if you sign the card to get the union reps to go away you have chosen to have a union.

C. emails--

Believe me: union organizers hate having to knock on doors and call people on the phone. The reality is that a lot of people don't like getting visited at home. ... Phone call and door knocking is inefficient -- it's common to try to visit five co-workers in an evening and not find anyone at home. It chews up an enormous amount of time.

But the rules of the current election process mean that door knocking and phone calling are the only way workers who want to form the union can reach out to their undecided coworkers, because they can't meet with the co-workers at the workplace without the employer sitting in and union organizers aren't allowed on the property of the employer.

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