Saturday, February 07, 2004

AFSCME Union to Withdraw Support for Dean

AFSCME Union to Withdraw Support for Dean. Gerald McEntee, head of AFSCME, grumbled last week that if Dean was unable to score a win in the Super 7, he was going to start looking for another candidate. It seems that he has persuaded the rest of AFSCME to follow his lead in dis-endorsing Dean. With AFSCME and other union support key in the getting out the vote efforts in WI, especially internet votes, this is a serious blow for our campaign.

I have to say that I am terribly disappointed by this weak-kneed retreat. I have always considered endorsements, even institutional endorsements, to be a vote of confidence in the candidate's message and ability, not an investment in the campaign's electoral success. An endorser should go down fighting with the candidate to the bitter end. If Dean fails to take the nomination, his endorsers will be free to move on when he declares his withdrawl, not before. I have to worry what the worth of labor's endorsements are if their leaders cut and run when the going gets tough. This is a sad day for organized labor, and may signal a turn toward the cynical by AFSCME, which mirrors the worst tendencies within our party.

This failure of AFSCME's leadership to stand by their word reflects a desire to put their resources at the service of Kerry's front-running campaign, and stop 'wasting' time and money on Dean. McEntee and others in the union leadership have clearly decided that they have to get their chips into Kerry's pot, so that they won't be coming to the table when the game is already moot. Otherwise, Kerry may feel no compunction to heed the call when the time comes to cash those chip in.

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