Monday, November 24, 2008

Is labor being squeezed out?

Ezra Klein,

You have to imagine that organized labor, which spent $100 million to elect Obama, is getting worried. Secretary of Labor, which is where their ally traditionally sits, is not going to be a top economic job. The folks who have been selected for top economic jobs are associated with Robert Rubin, who unions generally considered an impediment to their priorities during the Clinton administration. And when Rahm Emanuel went before business leaders, he pointedly refused to make a case for the Employee Free Choice Act.

Isn't there a strategic calculation possibly at play here?

I mean what does Obama gain by sending Rahmbo in front of business leaders to hammer on EFCA? He's not going to change anyone's mind and he's going to unnecessarily antagonize people, many of whom he may need to get us out of this financial maelstrom. EFCA is going to be the first major battle of the administration, there's no reason to provoke a fight on it right now.

As for Secy of Labor, who says it's not going to be a top economic job? Ben Smith? Please. Yes, as far as optics go it would have been nice to see Anna Burger or some other Labor nominee out there today. That's all it would be though - optics. Drawing definnitive conclusions about the role of a Cabinet member (one who has not even yet been nominated) in late November is a game played by pundits who have little of interest to write about.

I would add that I haven't seen any of the prominent liberal bloggers (save for a brief mention by Yglesias) discuss what the appointment of Patrick Gaspard as WH Director of Political Affairs. It seems as though appointing a young, Haitian labor organizer from Brooklyn to be the new Karl Rove is kind of a big deal.

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