- I watched the President, but did not watch Boehner -- really couldn't bear the thought of it. The President was fine I suppose -- sober, reasonable, and thoughtful -- the qualities that may well allow him to be re-elected despite the awful economic climate. But I am not sure that this sort of thing moves the needle at all at this point in time. It's all been said before and one can easily switch the channel, which I suspect is what all of the low information voters -- the ones who will probably decide the 2012 contest -- did.
- There has been a lot of back and forth in liberal circles about how Obama is not FDR or even LBJ when it comes to the art of getting things accomplished. I suspect, as our friend KN posits in comments below, that this reflects an absence of or dimming of memory in many respects -- even when they were racking up historical victories, both FDR and LBJ were found wanting by the the left wing of the Democratic Party (which, in economic terms, was far more of a left wing than anything we have today). I would, however, suggest that there is a major temperamental difference between Obama and his predecessors with respect to the art of political battle. One gets the sense that Roosevelt and Johnson relished the fight and took great pleasure in besting their opponents. They both enjoyed politics -- I think from opposite ends of the socio-economic divide -- FDR enjoyed slumming it and being better at it than even the most notorious ward heelers, while Johnson liked to outdo those who had been his social betters. I am pretty confident that both Roosevelt and Johnson would have found the notion of taking politics out of politics to be absurd, a self-definitional impossibility, whereas one gets the sense that Obama, in many respects, longs to govern in a world without petty politics. One can understand this impulse given the nature of his opposition, but for someone who enjoys being the "adult" in the room, he ought to be the first to see that this is never going to happen.
- I was pleased to see the addition of a dedicated labor page to daily kos. I am also enjoying the writing of Erik Loomis over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, who is focusing a lot on labor issues as well. It's great to have additional voices focusing on a topic that continues to be neglected outright by the mainstream press.
- Interestingly, Loomis, who, like me, is a frequent critic of Yglesias's forays into neo-liberal contrarianism, linked approvingly to Matt's sober message on how to move politics to the left in this country. I concur as well -- it's difficult work that will require an enormous amount of energy and patience, two forces that often work in opposition to one another.
- I probably write less about labor stuff than I should -- in large part because I get enough of it at work. But I am in the midst of a battle with a small employer looking to bust his union and I remain amazed at the brazenness of the employer class in this country and their legal lackeys. In this case, the employer has fired all of his employees who were union members -- one guy he fired twice when he continued to support the union after being rehired -- and hired hand-picked non-union guys. (There is no strike ongoing and the union just settled with other employers in the same industry for a wage freeze for one year, and two years where the wages will be re-opened for bargaining.) An NLRB election was held at the employer's the other day -- for complicated reasons we need to get the union certified by them even though the union has been recognized by the company for decades -- and the rule is that the union and employer representatives need to vacate the voting area. My guys complied, but the employer and his attorneys just stayed there, daring an impotent NLRB to do anything about it. That is what labor law is like now in this country -- lawlessness by employers is virtually a given and there are almost no remedies available for such intransigence.
Alright, time to head off to the office -- God bless the five minute commute -- and see what you all have to say.