Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This is not the way Barack Obama wants to begin his journey with a confrontation over union contracts and employee benefits, but if the republicans are crafty enough, they can plunk him right in the middle of that mess. Dollars to donuts before this week is over, some R in Congress is going to link a bail out for the auto industry with a demand that the UAW reopen its recently approved contract: No new contract, no bail out for Big Three. Then what with the new prez do? The union will remind Mr. Obama that it helped him get elected and it would be mighty un-neighborly of him to stiff Mr. Gettlefinger and friends at the opening bell especially after the union gave up so much in the new contract. On the other hand Mr. Obama ran on a platform of change. He claimed he would be different and the status quo would be no more. But if he stands with labor, he can kiss is sweet "change" image good-bye. You can hear the republicans now. "He said he was for change but when it came time to stand up to big labor, the only thing Mr. Obama changed was his mind. He's like every other democrat beholden to organized labor." What's the poor guy to do as he could find himself in a classic lose-lose situation? His best hope is that the republicans don't try to attach this string to the auto bail out. Ah yes, the audacity of hope.