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The left is getting feisty lately. Democrats have been on the attack on Medicare all across the country. They’re taking the fight to the Republicans. A new fund-raising group is out with an ad attacking Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney says that he wants to essentially end Medicare. You have to wonder, which page is he on today?
That ad comes from Priorities USA, a political action committee formed to support Democrats against the likes of Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and the other big-sized PACs.
That’s obviously a very large sum, and another $200 million in last term’s midyear election. 50 of that came from the AFL-CIO, but not the AFL-CIO has threatened to pull that money out. That’s a huge development. Why? It’s pretty simple, because the Democrats didn’t step up to help them. They’re rightly asking, why should we help you? On keep issues like the card check bill and the public options, the Obama administration did almost nothing to help the unions. Those were their two priorities. Obama’s noticeable absence didn’t help, either.
If American workers are being denied their rights to organize, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes, and walk with you as –
Oops, well, he definitely didn’t follow through on that one. I didn’t notice any comfortable shoes being put on in Wisconsin. Unions are totally fed up. The International Association of Firefighters announced last month they’re pulling back federal funds, and focusing their resources on grass-roots organizing.
Remember at places like Wisconsin they — and the AFL-CIO will be — check out what –
It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or — the outcome is the same I way to us. If leaders are blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, then working people will not support them.
We’re talking $50 million or more here. With so much on the line, is it the right move? To help us discuss that, Damon Silvers is the policy director of the AFL-CIO; he was with Richard Trumpka today for that big speech.
Pleasure to be here.
Is this as big a change as it appears? Might you be pulling back?
Well, I think what’s happening here is as President Trumpka laid out this afternoon is we see working people under profound assault in America. That profound assault is actually an attack on America’s moral values. We’re looking for politicians to stand up and fight for the American dream and the American middle class. We’re simply being clear that our support depends on how much vigor you bring to it.
And if there are politicians, and if there are politicians standing against us or absent or can’t be found, then building workers voice will probably not help them much.
You guys are between a rock and hard place, honestly, because you think the Democrats haven’t delivered for you, and I think honestly you have a very good point. On the other hand, the Republicans are a disaster. Look at what happens in Wisconsin, and all across the country. What do you do with a problem like that?
The point that the president’s speech made today at the press club goes sort of like this. We’ll look at what different politicians do around the great poor challenge, which is the American dream going to survive? If all the politicians stand up and fight for the American dream, then we’ll be with them. If only some politicians in one party do that, we’ll be with those politicians that do that. If it sometimes the case with Republicans, if none of the politicians in a party are prepared to stand up for the American dream, then we’re not going to be with any of them. I’ll tell you, the results are different from place to place. There are Republicans in the state senate in Ohio who stood up and fought for workers’ rights. And as Trumpka said today, we’ll be with them.
On some cases I get it, like Blanch Lincoln, even though she called herself a Democrat, to me that made all the sense in a world. You would be ceding to work for her if she doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t make any sense, right?
Again that’s very sensible. The problem is the middle.
Where do you think he stands in that spectrum?
The president actually addressed this directly this afternoon. What he said is President Obama is definitely trying to go in the right direction. He’s in favor of creating jobs or putting people back to work, restoring fairness to our tax system. The issue is vigor and volume. Is the scale of the vision right? And we continue to look for the kind of scale of vision and moral courage that’s necessary to fight the truly destructive forces at work. Forces that would essentially close schools, close universities and deny literally clothing that foster kids in order to give rich people tax cuts. We’re looking for President Obama to stand up and fight those forces boldly, as he essentially said he would in the 2007- 2008 campaign.
I’m getting from you; you think he’s not doing that right now?
Every day is a test.
I know what you’re saying.
We will be very much involved, but what we’ll do is build a working people’s world. Or be blindly loyal to any particular candidate. And we’re going to make sure that power stands for the values that made this country great thank you for joining us tonight.