Hasta la Vista, Lou. Good Luck on Saving Organized Labor

By November 12, 2009General, Labor Unions, Trade

From The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz, “Anchor Lou Dobbs resigns from CNN“:

Lou Dobbs, the most opinionated and divisive anchor at a cable network that bills itself as a straight-news oasis, resigned from CNN on Wednesday night, saying in his final broadcast that he wants “to go beyond the role” of a television journalist in tackling the country’s problems.

Framing his move as a response to the urging of “some leaders in media, politics and business,” Dobbs struck a populist tone, attempting to position himself as a political leader who would mount a campaign “to overcome the lack of true representation in Washington, D.C.” He said that public debate was now defined by “partisanship and ideology” and that he would continue to speak out “in the most honest and direct language possible.”

The speculation turns to Dobbs running for office. He’s a resident of New Jersey; Sen. Frank Lautenberg was just elected in 2008, and Sen. Robert Menendez is not up until 2012 and thus a Senate race is out.

That leaves President as the only office equal to his self-exaltedness. Indeed, a populist campaign for the top spot seems quite possible, with immigration opponents forming his political base. It could be a third party campaign — see Know Nothing Party, 1856 — or as previously bruited, a campaign as an insurgent Democrat.

Along with immigration, anti-globalization and protectionism have also been Dobbs’ core table-pounding issues. And you know whom he’d appeal to with that? Organized labor, especially those union men and women who object to the labor movement being hijacked by leaders who want to turn labor into just another arm of the activist left. As Stephen Sprueill of National Review notes, “The past three decades have seen unions embrace left-wing positions on everything from affirmative action to gay marriage to the war in Iraq.”

Stern’s obsession with size has embroiled the labor movement in some of the nastiest fights it has ever seen. Old-school union guys like Sal Rosselli, a former Stern lieutenant whose National Union of Healthcare Workers split from SEIU earlier this year in a bitter divorce, told [The New Republic’s] Bradford Plumer that “Stern’s drive for growth at all costs” had caused him to ignore what was in the best interest of his members. But Andrew Stern was a liberal before he was a union organizer, just as Obama was a liberal before he was a community organizer. Unions may have existed to serve workers’ interests at one time. These days, they exist to serve liberalism.

Lou Dobbs versus Andy Stern for the heart and soul of the labor movement. May the best man win…a Pyrrhic victory, that is.

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