During a recent meeting with The Oklahoman's editorial board, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe quipped, “I look back wistfully at the days when the financial backbone of the Democrats in Washington was the labor unions and the trial lawyers. Those are the good ol' days.”
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, made the comment to stress that environmental extremists and the fringe interests of “the Hollywood crowd” now drive much activity in the Democratic Party. We note Inhofe's comment for this reason: It appears labor union officials agree with him.
This month the Nevada State AFL-CIO passed a resolution savaging Obamacare as an attack on union benefits. The resolution noted that unions “originally offered strong political and moral support” for the so-called Affordable Care Act, but that support was thanks to the fact that President Barack Obama “said in no uncertain terms that we would be able to keep our current health care plans as currently managed.”
The union membership now appears shocked that Obama has no intention of keeping his transparently phony promise. The Nevada resolution declares the “unintended consequences of the ACA will lead to the destruction of the 40-hour workweek, higher taxes and force union members onto more costly plans.” In other words, union members may be treated just as shabbily as other Americans who aren't politically connected.
On the other hand, the union resolution notes Obama has handed out special exemptions (ones we suggest are legally dubious) to “big business and well-paid Congressional staff members.” The union demanded similar special treatment. Other unions have raised similar concerns, including the heads of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE-HERE.
Inhofe is hardly a union enthusiast, but he clearly understood the Democratic Party pecking order — and what that meant for union members' political clout — far better than union leaders did.