Sunday, January 4, 2009
Too early to gloat on card check: From a respected weekly email written by a top D.C. Hill observer--
In the 111th Congress' first week, House Democrats plan to pass organized labor's first priority, the Card Check bill that would make organizing workplaces easier. Republicans and business passionately oppose the legislation. Timing of Senate action is uncertain , as Senators are consumed with confirmation of President-elect Obama's nominees to the cabinet. [E.A.]
It's tempting for "card check" opponents to gloat about it's deteriorating prospects in the Senate. I've indulged in some near-gloating myself. But it's ill-advised, to say the least. (I'm certainly not going to rely on WSJ 's Kimberly Strassel after her disturbingly similar sneering on immigration). ...Among the alarming-but-plausible possibilities, there remains the threat of a deal in which Big Business effectively sells out Small Business by cutting some sort of compromise with Big Labor that would make organizing drives much easier. ...Remember that big companies are probably better positioned to absorb the costs of fighting unions, and they are more comfortable, perhaps, dealing with union bureaucracies. Plus it's likely that big corporations have already been the targets of unionizing campaigns if they are vulnerable. Smaller companies, on the other hand, might not have been worth organizing under the status quo but might become targets if the rules are changed to make organizing less time-consuming. ... The case for a big business/small business sellout doesn't seem as clear-cut as with government regulations (where bigger businesses are almost inherently better able to deal with paperwork). But it's worth watching out for. ... 9:35 P.M.
Rod's Army: Never mind the issues of race or electability. Will labor unions and other powerful Dem constituencies be pressuring Senate Majority Leader Reid to seat Roland Burris, the appointee of tainted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, simply because they think they desperately need one more vote in order to quickly pass controversial bills (i.e. card check!) over a GOP filibuster? Is that why Reid waffled on Meet the Press ? Does the pressure to seat Burris actually depend on whether Al Franken gets the contested Minnesota seat--because, at least according to Nate Silver, if only Burris or only Franken is seated, the Dems don't get any closer to their goal (they gain a seat but the cloture-breaking bar rises from 59 to 60 votes)? Did Blagojevich know all this before he made his pick? It's not like he's tight with the SEIU, the major proponent of "card check" within the labor movement. ... Oh , wait . ...
Update: Alert reader S suggests I've misconceived the sitution--that Reid wants Burris seated (for the extra vote) but can't show it for fear of seeming to approve of Blagojevich. Reid would prefer to have the courts to force him to do it --that would be the ideal Kabuki. But this doesn't change the possible role "pressure" might play in forcing Reid to accept something less than the ideal Kabuki--a negotiated deal, for example, or quickly abandoning an appeal after an unfavorable initial ruling. ... 2:26 P.M.