Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

In Arkansas, Unions find the strength to call searing loss a “tremendous victory”

In what is being described by CNN as a landslide by women, Blanche Lincoln managed to hold off labor-backed Bill Halter in the hotly (and nastily) contested Democratic primary race in Arkansas. The AFL-CIO called the loss a “tremendous victory” for working families, and SEIU stood by their man as well. If this is what a “tremendous victory” looks like and feels like, I hope that labor unions get “tremendous victories” more often. Reminds me of how they called losing to Scott Brown a “victory”. I see a pattern.

Labor groups poured about $10 million dollars into the primary run off after the May primary results. They spent the last few weeks hemorrhaging cash. The Hill ran through cash and boots by numbers yesterday:

“The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has spent more than $3 million on the race, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, while the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has spent more than $1.5 million. Labor groups are also putting activists in the field for what is expected to be a close election. The AFL-CIO has sent staff from its Washington office to help Halter supporters get to the polls, as has Working America, its community affiliate.

Working America‚Äôs 41 paid organizers in Arkansas have made 315,000 phone calls and knocked on 120,000 doors, canvassing voters in 27 cities and 17 counties in the state, according to spokeswoman Alison Omens. The group has also spent more than $1.3 million on ads…”

Politico’s Ben Smith got the most damning quote of ’em all from the Lincoln-backing White House:

“Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,” the official said. “If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.”

Sorry. No matter how many times these unions burn through their coffers, lose, and call it a “victory,” I don’t think that Lenin’s “A lie told often enough becomes the truth” applies. If I want to see some real victory, I think I’ll just watch the World Cup.

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