President Obama Remains Distant from Wisconsin Labor Fight

It’s very disappointing to me that the President is keeping the Wisconsin labor movement at arms length.

Ever since the recall wars erupted in this battleground state, the Obama campaign has been faced with a dilemma: How involved does the president get in a polarizing fight with huge national overtones?

Less than two weeks to go before the June 5 election, the answer seems pretty clear.

President Barack Obama’s forces are pitching in with voter turnout and fundraising appeals. But the president has avoided taking a vocal role in the conflict, and there is little expectation of an Obama visit to Wisconsin in the homestretch of the campaign.

Whether Obama will be speaking out about the race in the coming days or sending top surrogates here is still unknown.

I wonder if the President remembers this campaign promise?

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

Couldn’t you find your comfortable shoes, sir?


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16 thoughts on “President Obama Remains Distant from Wisconsin Labor Fight

  1. The entire Obama campaign machine in Wisconsin is working full-time on the recall. The impact of that is being underestimated. That would not happen without the President’s knowledge and blessing.

    1. Kristin, that’s great, but President Obama has the bully pulpit, and he hasn’t used it once to stand with us here in Wisconsin. President Obama speaking on the steps of the Wisconsin Capitol to a throng of 100,000 people would have a tremendous emotional impact to get folks fired up before the election.

    2. I wrote checks to the various groups and organizations collecting signatures, but I also put on my comfortable shoes and walked in the rain and snow to collect them myself. It’s easy to help at a distance, a general in the headquarters who’s never seen a trench, but that doesn’t inspire people the way a general who’s first up the ladder and over the sandbags.

      Sorry, but President Obama is a smart man who is making a very, very stupid decision.

      1. Phil, thanks for chiming in. Obama is toast in WI. I publicly stuck my neck out, literally, for him in ’08, unfortunately I bought into parts of his line of crap. McInsane could never have accomplished what sorryO has done to damage progressives and independents towards repression of freedom and human rights, not even getting into the further denigration of constitutional rights.

      2. Right on, Phil! So right. An inspiring leader leads from the front. Hannibal comes to mind as one such inspiring leader, always leading his troops into every affray. After crossing the Alps with a contingent of elephants he spent fifteen years battling the Roman Empire on Roman soil no less. He lost an eye, but he never lost a battle. When he had the city of Rome surrounded he called to Carthage for supplies, reinforcements, and siege equipment but Carthage hemmed and hawed, and they left Hannibal there at the cusp of victory, sending him nothing but indecision and cold feet. Hannibal was forced to flee. That was the Second Punic War. In the Third Punic War, Rome mercilessly obliterated Carthage.

        1. It is probably worth noting that Hannibal didn’t conquer the better part of Italy by military means alone. He acquired a great deal of Italian ground through diplomatic skill and conversion to his cause of defeating Roman imperialism.

  2. The president’s GOTV operation is impressive, there’s no disputing that. If it proves its worth in the recall remains to be seen. GOTV is, not to put too fine a point on it, a lame response. I think it’s pretty clear that the DNC has decided that voters’ minds are set at this point. If that is so, then the Democratic establishment bears the brunt of the responsibility for not offering an early, frequent, clear, and genuine alternative to the conservative agenda. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the protests and ensuing recall effort were an historic, game-changing moment that Democrats squandered.

    Whether or not President Obama makes an appearance prior to June 5 isn’t relevant anymore. He didn’t put on his comfortable shoes during the protests – that is what counts. Not doing so speaks to his campaign promise – “because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” Obama is not a strong labor advocate. Apparently that is sufficient counterpoise against the forces that seek to flat out destroy unionism and unionization. I do not concur. Robert Kraig’s insistence that rank and file activists haven’t queried “Where’s Obama?” is as preposterous as it is offensive.

    If Democrats find themselves behind the eight ball on June 5 or in November it will be entirely of their own doing.

  3. I don’t think that the efforts of Obama’s campaign staff have anywhere near the impact of Obama making a personal appearance in Milwaukee and telling his supporters to get out and vote for Barrett. Half a dozen big name Republicans have made an appearance for Walker and I haven’t see anyone come to Wisconsin to oppose him, and damn little in the way of direct monetary donations either with the exception of the Democratic Governors. It stinks of fear and failure to me. The Democratic party, and Obama in particular, are giving my vote to a third party in November with this behavior. If enough people vote third party, undervote or just stay home in November, Wisconsin’s electoral votes are going to Romney and Obama needs to recognize that in the next few days.

  4. I’m having trouble recognizing who or what or where this (mythical?) GOTV organization is operating in the state. Maybe someone could help me with that. Is that the same GOTV effort that got Barrett elected or gave us a state Democratic legislative majority in 2010? Seems that way to me.

    People I’ve seen working the hardest and longest hours here are not necessarily D party members.

    1. I’m no expert on the logistics of Obama’s GOTV. I’ve read only a little about the sophisticated integration methods they’ve improved upon since 2008. I too am curious about the actual workings, especially since the inundation of DCCC emails have been flooding in, frantically asking for small dollar donations to support GOTV. They need 2000 donations in the next 24 hours, they need $80,000 in the next 24 hours etc. etc. to set up field offices across the state. This – to get field organizers on the ground to contact Democratic voters – especially those who voted in 2008 but not 2010. There seems to be a demographic emphasis on urban and on Northern Wisconsin. That’s just my sense of things. The following is a listing of GOTV field offices that I received from the DCCC, found on the WisDems webpage: I don’t see any field offices in my area on that list, perhaps that is why I have yet to hear a peep from the operation. It’s a ridiculously thin list if you ask me.

      I find the whole effort infuriating. The tone is always the same – frenzied, fearful, insistence upon the need to move quickly and to combat Koch Ad buys et cetera, et cetera. My response is: Uh, yeah. So, the effort begins now? Uh, yeah. Didn’t see this coming, eh? That’s about as disingenuous as Walker claiming his campaign staff didn’t have enough time to verify a million recall signatures – uh, yeah. No time to prepare, huh?

      The GOTV push might work well enough to squeeze out the few votes needed for Tom Barrett to squeak by with a victory. And what if Tom Barrett narrowly wins? Maybe we’ll see a recount.

      My umbrage is this: GOTV is tactical not strategical. If there’s a purposeful, long term plan behind it, it’s an elusive plan and one that doesn’t seem to incorporate the need for abandoning the status quo.

      1. Thanks PJ,

        As a non-party joiner, I have invested nearly 300 hours since Nov last, staffing the local county Dem’s office, doing extensive data base and phone banking work toward recalling what’s his name. The state isn’t even getting us the freaking Barrett lawn signs being demanded here by voters and I heard there was a raft of them stocked in Stevens Point that were not being distributed yet as of two days ago.

        I heard our county or maybe our state assembly district is getting an intern two days before the June 5 election and I am guessing, this person is being supported by the state and national dems to continue here for November election efforts.

        Off to continue phone banks in a bit.

    1. I wanted to simply call you a blog whore, but I don’t know you that well and you don’t have many details in your resume’.

    1. Big government is good government. It’s how the founding fathers designed it. Small minds conceive small governments.

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