Dear Mr. President:

During the campaign, you said you would literally stand—or walk—with workers if their rights were jeopardized. Corporations, with the collusion of politicians, have been nibbling away at the ability of the average American to even survive, much less thrive, for decades. And now Republicans across the country have decided to stop nibbling around the edges and attack the very concept of workers having any say whatsoever in their lives. Where are you? I don’t expect you to walk a picket line, but I do expect you to make a proud, unequivocal statement of support. I expect you to stand with the likes of Kucinich and Feingold and the late Wellstone and say “corporations are not valuable in and of themselves; they are merely a means to an end. That end is making goods, providing services, and providing a living for their employees, the people that make up this country. ”

You are already taking the blame for siding with the workers; nothing you can do will earn greater conservative support or lessen GOP criticism. So, do what you will be tarred with anyway and stand with the workers, loudly and clearly. Earn the support of the working people of this country — who are, after all, 80+% of the populace.

By taking a public stance against corporate influence, you can reshape this debate, and remind people that public and private workers aren’t enemies, but allies in the struggle to take our country back.

Please show us that Democrats really are different than Republicans.

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2 comments on “Dear Mr. President:

  1. When President Obama makes a predictable pro labor statement, it is not reported in the news. Its not only about where he positions himself, but how it is covered. He spoke forcefully against Governor Scott Walker, but it was hardly reported. This repeats a well established pattern in Wisconsin and beyond, http://www.deliberatelyconsidered.com/2010/09/why-obamas-uw-speech-should-have-made-the-news/

  2. woodelf says:

    At least the speech I can find, he spoke obliquely, didn’t use Walker’s name, and I don’t even think said the word “Wisconsin”. Even had he called Walker out directly, that would still be missing the real point. He only addressed the problem of Republicans and governors attacking unions, without saying, explicitly and without caveat, that this is playing into corporate hands.

    He needs to reframe this debate, make it clear that it’s not GOP vs. Dems–that it’s corporations vs. people, with the GOP just as pawns.

    Failing that, at the very least he should be willing and able to say “you’re wrong”, not just “we disagree”. To say “you are doing [this bad thing]” not “[this bad thing] is bad”. In short, to stake out a moral position that is distinct, and which counters the moral logic that the GOP and corporations are using to justify their arguments and tactics. In a democracy, control of the words is as important as control of policy. Little changes in how people see things make all the difference. It’s the difference, in this case, between “generous benefits paid for by the taxpayers” (at obfuscating half truth) and “total compensation (including wages and benefits) that are [well] below the private sector”. Simply insisting on talking about “compensation”, rather than emphasizing “benefits” and ignoring wages, totally changes the conversation.

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