Dear Big Daddy,
I’m a state political expert and this morning I got my weekly question for CW’s Experts Expound about Brown. So organized labor gets Brown elected governor and Brown smacks them in the face (vetoes of child-care unionizing, card check, etc). Disloyalty or good politics?
--Unnamed in Gardena
I’m delighted to give a fellow expert a hand. Who on that list is a bigger expert than me? And don’t say Steve Maviglio. I hear he eats tofu.
So, to answer the question you have so wisely sent to me (well, after some cajoling), “disloyalty or politics” isn’t an either/or. Sometimes disloyalty is good politics. Sometimes it isn’t.
And the is/isn’t is defined by the ability of the wronged party to take revenge. To take the most obvious example, look at Pres. Obama’s reelection bid. Liberals have been complaining about him worse than a Florida retiree who got served the wrong early bird special (like, say, the Pat Buchanan Scramble). Though where they got the idea that Obama was the second coming of Eugene Debs just because he likes to say “hope” and other four-letter words, I have no idea. Redder-than-a-lobster guys don’t get to have billion dollar reelection campaigns (or to get elected to anything in the first place).
Anyway, all I’m saying is, take a 2010 midterm, then pile crazier-than-Palin and dumber-than-Dubya onto the news for a few weeks, and these malcontents are now willing to take Obama’s drunken electoral booty call at 3 a.m. and make him breakfast the next morning. It’s kinda pathetic, actually. I should know. I like my eggs over easy.
If this were a romantic comedy, best-friend-who-wants-to-be-more Dennis Kucinich would stand by our poor deluded progressive voting block through thick and thin, then somehow get himself elected president in the last five minutes of the movie. But, being politics, it’s a tragic farce. These folks have college degrees, mostly. Slap ‘em hard enough and they’ll remember how to do math - and realize that they don’t have a plan B.
Now just substitute in “Jerry Brown,” “labor unions” and “corgi” (ok, that last one was just trying to up my stats on the Google) and you have the situation in Sacramento. For a few months they were just so happy that seven years of Republican horseshoe were over that it didn’t occur to them to wonder what it was they now had instead. I could have told them they didn’t necessarily have the labor-smooching guy they thought. But I’m dead, and they had to learn at veto time.
And I take issue with your contention that labor unions “got Brown elected,” Mr. Howard. You know that old saying that behind every successful man is a determined woman? In this case, Brown had three: Meg Whitman, Gloria Allred and Nicky Diaz. Most people casting votes had only the vaguest idea of what the unions were actually up to, but they understood “rich lady mean” and “poor lady cry.”
Not to mention that fact the Whitman (R-Corporate America) never really had a chance anyway. Her biceps are uninspiring. All her bulging accounts really did was throw the unions behind Brown before they could extract many promises from him. Which, from her perspective, might actually count as a major victory.
Anyway, Brown had this thing won the moment Gavin Newsom stopped trying to fight him and started arguing with Garry South instead. When Kamala Harris didn’t have the right office to jump off from yet (she does now). When Tony V. bought yet another pair of pants with a malfunctioning zipper. When generations of Californians remembered the handsome face of a much-younger Jerry Brown and said, “Hey, that’s kinda familiar.”
In short, Brown vetoing union bills is much ado about something we all should have seen coming. Though there may be one thing to read out of this - a few union bill vetoes could play really well in a certain septuagenarian’s reelection campaign.
Hope you like corgis.