“Absolute idiots” who “flushed $10 million down the toilet” in a “pointless exercise” that may “cost us the House.” That’s what a “senior White House official” had to say about organized labor tonight after Blanche Lincoln pulled out a victory over challenger Bill Halter.
The core of the problem? The Obama administration apparently thinks labor and working families have got enough already and shouldn’t complain. Marc Ambinder spoke with a senior White House official and reported the following on Twitter:
WH anger at labor predates tonight. Pelosi/Reid/Obama did a lot for labor and labor repays them by wasting $10 million. That’s their [c]laim.
Working people have been thrown a few small bones in the first year and a half of Obama’s term, but it’s plain laughable to claim “Pelosi/Reid/Obama did a lot for labor.” Simply not true. You need only look to labor’s top priority, the Employee Free Choice Act, and see who stood in the way: Blanche Lincoln.
The AFL-CIO was quick to respond to the anonymous Senior White House Official with a stern declaration: “Labor isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party.”
“If that’s their take on this, then they severely misread how the electorate feels and how we’re running our political program. When we say we’re only going to support elected officials who support our issues,” said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. “When they say we should have targeted our money among some key house races among Blue Dog Democrats — that ain’t happening.”
“Labor isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party,” Vale said. “It exists to support working families. And that’s what we said tonight, and that’s what we’re gong to keep saying.”
This is a warning, or a threat, that labor could and would sit out the rest of the 2010 election, leaving behind its extensive field operation and independent expenditures.
A simple kiss-and-make up with the White House won’t be enough to make it up here, to be clear. If the White House has any expectation of labor lifting a finger in November and beyond, there are going to need big, significant lift from the President to prove that they “did a lot for labor.” Cause right now, there’s really nothing at all.