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A Democratic Cattle Call

The crowded presidential field on the Democratic side will gather this weekend for the first real cattle call of the 2008 election -- a gathering of the Service Employees International Union executive board at Gallaudet University.

The 60-member board will spend an hour with the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination on Saturday in a question-and-answer session aimed at probing the aspirants' stances on issues important to organized labor. Unfortunately for The Fix (and all of you), the event is not open to the press.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), Sen. Joe Biden (Del.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) will appear in person. Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (Iowa) and Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) will appear via video feed. Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), who is expected to announce his intentions within the next few weeks, is sending in a video to the board. Requests to appear have also been made to Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and retired Gen. Wesley Clark (Ark.)

The turnout speaks to the importance that SEIU -- and organized labor more generally -- plays in the Democratic nominating process. With nearly 2 million members nationwide, SEIU is the largest and fastest growing union in the country. It is also a leading part of Change to Win, a rump group of unions that split from the AFL-CIO in 2005.

SEIU has considerable influence in several of the early voting states -- Iowa and Nevada in particular. Edwards in particular has been assiduously courting the unions in hopes of winning their endorsement in 2008. Clinton as well as Obama should enjoy significant support from organized labor and will likely challenge Edwards for their backing.

Some Democratic strategists have begun to question the power of labor unions as endorsers, however, pointing to the 2004 election as evidence of their diminished influence.

In that race SEIU and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) issued a joint endorsement of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean prior to the Iowa caucuses. Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) also enjoyed a bevy of endorsements from labor groups. Neither man placed in the top two in Iowa and their campaigns soon ended.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 22, 2007; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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qahv zxutiyh tqhsd trgvo oqmrunv nkwy uiepjtc

Posted by: ymenxikbz efquika | February 15, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

tkeanh srxn rsgn fzdelva jromylptn wbyux qniegj

Posted by: yutso vnly | February 15, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris M-

You are right on. Governor Richardson has a wonderful background and experience that should make him a front runner. He just 'suffers' from not being inside the Beltway. He is out solving problems rather than standing behind pointless non-binding resolutions. Once people get to know him (he's a funny guy!) and he starts to raise some money, he'll jump to the top tier.

If you are in/around DC, we've got our own Richardson blog that might be worth your time -

See you there. :-)

Posted by: Expat Teacher | January 24, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Any International Union worth its salt would fight trade deals designed expedite the movement of living wage jobs to the lowest wage location where labor and environmental considerations do not exist. Trade deals protect intellectual property and the unbridled flow of capital----until they protect worker rights and environmental standards the should be resisted.

Posted by: maupin | January 24, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Clark get in the race. He's got the leadership record we need right now.

Posted by: Jeff Davidson | January 24, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

what the heck is a "rump group" of unions?

Posted by: Jester | January 23, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to say first of all, I don't believe the NEA can be considered a union or even tries to call themselves one. They are an education organization, they do not protect the rights of the employees through collective bargaining agreements.

Second, I wanted to say that an inernational union opposing trade agreements is not a conflict of interest. Unions are about protecting the rights of workers. They want all countries to adhere to the international core labor standards and for all workers to have the freedom of association and expression. The labor movement in the US generally does not believe that these trade agreements protect the rights of workers in the US or the other countries taking part. Generally, the free trade agreements open it up for international corporations to exploit workers in developing countries.

Posted by: Erin | January 23, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I use to like McCaine, just like I used to like Powell. As far as I am concerned, they have both DEEPLY betrayed the American people. We held them in high esteem, Powell lied to support Bush's war, and McCaine ACTED like the "hold out" against the Military Commission know...the one that took AWAY our rights to a fair trial..Habeus Corpus...ring a bell? Well, he sold out and as far as I'm concerned, on that day...he sold his soul to the highest bidder...Shame on them both!If we get stuck with McCain as a President, we'll be in Iraq until every last kid of ours is DEAD!

Posted by: Liz | January 22, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I saw Richardson made a formal announcement and got some face time today. His bona fides are impressive.

Maybe he starts to get some traction now.

Posted by: dweeb | January 22, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Drindl - In opposing those agreements, for the reasons we normally hear (protecting American workers and jobs), an International union would be putting the interests of their members in one country above the interests of their members in another country.

A true Conflict of Interest.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 22, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

You R's seem to have some kind of obssession about Al and Jesse. racism, is guess it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

How come the Rev. Al and Jesse were not invited?

Posted by: Billy | January 22, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

'Can an International union ethically oppose NAFTA and CAFTA?'

Why couldn't they? What is unethical about it?

Posted by: drindl | January 22, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

As an "International" union, theoretically representing the interests of its members in all countries, I wonder what SEIU's positions are on NAFTA and CAFTA?

And, will those be on the agenda?

Can an International union ethically oppose NAFTA and CAFTA?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 22, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Chris M -

I am a huge Richardson supporter - I thought he should have been a candidate a long time ago. I can't imagine a better candidate. There are some here who think that he has too many skeletons in his closet (apparently related to women) for him to be elected. I don't know if these people think it is abuse or chasing. Somehow I remember a Governor from Arkansas who had women problems being elected not
too long ago. Granted - Clinton is far more charismatic (thus the woman problem. Personally, don't see it, but apparently it is there).

On paper, there isn't a better announced candidate - Democrat or Republican. As you noted, only Gore could be better. He has accomplished a great deal - serving in the Clinton admin as well his Governorship. He does not have the flash of Obama, but he certainly has a great more substance - now if we could only get most of the public to understand the (important) difference between the two. Therein lies the trick.

Posted by: star11 | January 22, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Dan Quayle just announced that he will not be running for POTUS in 2008 - who is he kidding?

Posted by: star11 | January 22, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

What's the deal with Bill Richardson?

Governor Richardson has the best resume of any candidate on either side of the aisle, unless Al Gore or George H. W. Bush decides to run. Better than McCain or Guiliani, better than HRClinton or Barack Obama, better than Newt Gingrich or John Edwards.

He's also the Latino Governor of a Southwestern swing-state.

So on paper, at least, he seems like the best possible Democratic candidate. If I were making up a Democratic candidate, that candidate would look an awful lot like Bill Richardson. For some reason, though, I barely hear about him.

What's wrong with the guy? Is 2008 just not his year, with HRClinton and Barack Obama sucking up all the oxygen? Is there some skeleton in his closet that makes him unpalatable to other Democrats? Does the Wen Ho Lee imprisonment make him unelectable, or un-"nominateable", or unworthy of being president?

I'm looking for input from some of the other posters on this board.

Posted by: Chris M. | January 22, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the SEIU and Change to Win will have a chance to talk, chat, start a dialogue with Hillary regarding her past ties with Walmart;
(Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company's legal affairs.

Clinton had kind words for Wal-Mart as recently as 2004, when she told an audience at the convention of the National Retail Federation that her time on the board "was a great experience in every respect." )

However, the powerful SEIU sees things a little differently:

"Wal-Mart has earned a place of dishonor in our Corporate Hall of Shame.

Read more about Wal-Mart's abuse of its employees in a worker's own words..
Read about the Change to Win's support of the global campaign against Wal-Mart:

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 22, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I believe that SEIU is the second largest union in the country, not the largest. The NEA is larger. SEIU used to be the largest union in the AFL-CIO, before the split.

Posted by: Chris M. | January 22, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I believe that SEIU is the second largest union in the country. The NEA is larger. SEIU used to be the largest union in the AFL-CIO, since the NEA isn't part of any labor federation.

Posted by: Chris M. | January 22, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you should be a vegetarian then KOZ.

And by the way that isn't true. The majority of Methane comes from livestock (ie cattle), not greenhouse gases.

Posted by: Andy R | January 22, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

whelming majority of lies and espionage in the form of obscurations and dishonest postings come from people that contribute nothing...

hunt them downand turn them in for a refund...

take spin miesters out of the system by exposing them...

who needs dishonesty representing them?

dishonest people, get rid of them..

thanks, just say no.

Posted by: and where do the over | January 22, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

'did you know that the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gases come from actual cattle'

really? i thought they came from rightwing bloviators.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I hear John Edwards will be chanelling messages of love and hope from ghosts passed onto the "other side"


Posted by: Independent Woman | January 22, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

snarky blarg... if only!

now where is the republican cattle call? [i'm sure actual cattle would have more ideas-- not to mention morality]

Posted by: drindl | January 22, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Blarg is right, why do I care about HRC's inner circle when there are other people who have thrown in their hat. Richardson's announcement should get as much time as Hillary's. As should Sam Brownback for that matter. We have twenty months to talk about her inner circle and the cattle call etc. etc.

Posted by: Andy R | January 22, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

did you know that the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gases come from actual cattle. What will Al gore do?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 22, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, freeDom. I hadn't heard any news of Richardson entering the race. If only there were some sort of politics blog that could report on such events...

Posted by: Blarg | January 22, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

seen you out on Route 1 lately zouk? security cameras?

Posted by: I havent | January 22, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Richardson declared yesterday 1/21.

Posted by: check again | January 22, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, Richardson formed a committee yesterday ( Gore has shown no interest in running.

Posted by: freeDom | January 22, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Actual cattle woudl be more interesting and have more ideas.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 22, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Think about this...George W. really really stupid, comes into office and puts, SOMEHOW FORTUITOUSLY, puts together two agencies that just happen to redirect billions of dollars and give him final sayso on what counts as intelligence...

How remarkable is that?

and it just so happens that the two people appointed to head the agencies are his friends... former CIA director Porter Goss, appointed to lead that agency immediately after lucky, incase anyone started leaking the truthNegroponte had the ability to jerk their pension w/o review by congressional mandate....

how lucky was that? Not as lucky as Marvin Bush being head of security for World Trade Center....

He has his offices in Sterling Virgina, paid for by the lucky is that? doubt me look it up...

do a search on Bush Crime Family...pages... its your country, know whos leading you.

Posted by: a little interesting chatter... | January 22, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

thing of it is...

it is a little hard to put the crackers back in the box, once you have taken them out and played with them...

Congress, _will_be_held_responsible_ , no matter what happens or how the president did an end run...

Posted by: the | January 22, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

the democratic congress would be interested in this...

back doored again...

..... William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security The Surge Begins!! Shhh! The first of 3,200 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division began arriving in Baghdad last week, an event that somehow the Washington Post and New York Times thought not worthy of reporting until this morning and even then, no headline, no lead. I hardly ever comment on what the media writes, being a member of the mainstream media myself and too intent on actually figuring out what the government is up to than in taking the easy and narcissistic path of media analysis or bashing. But when a friend sent me the military statement that the first troops had begun arriving, I found it curious that the only weekend mention I could find - and even here it was buried - was in the Los Angeles Times. Of course the statement was issued on Friday and there was no parade to commemorate the fabulous surge. But it was news, and its absence from the two top U.S. papers seemed strange.

Posted by: I think | January 22, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Al Gore is NOT matter how much we might wish he were :( Kind of a moot point to speculate at this point on that.

Posted by: Stephanie | January 22, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

"Congressional approval" and other Democratic Party deceptions

By Larry Chin

Washington's top Democrats, led by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, issued a "warning" to President Bush "not to start a war with Iran without the approval of Congress."

Study the wording carefully: "not to start a war without the approval of Congress." The Dems are not warning the Bush administration not to start the war. Far from it. They are only asking Bush-Cheney-Rice to start it after giving Congress a piece of the action, and going through the (allegedly legitimizing) process of collusion and "consensus."

We can, therefore, assume that what the Democrats want is to be presented with another round of cooked intelligence and lies, and "closed door" backroom deals; to be informed, the same way they were informed prior to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq -- both of which the Democrats overwhelmingly approved. Perhaps the Dems want to presented with another thick pile of documents, as they were with the USAPATRIOT Act, which they also overwhelmingly approved.

The fact is, virtually every single criminal action taken by the Bush administration since 2001 has come with the approval of Congress, and the spineless Democrats. Every "war on terrrorism" atrocity. Every malodorous federal appointment. Every deathblow dealt to the Constitution. Every act of war.

The Bush administration is in the process of provoking and setting up Iran for an attack. The White House press office is lying, claiming that there is no plan to attack Iran. (But that is the job of the White House press office.) Condoleeza Rice has already admitted that Bush personally gave orders for the Iran operations "several months ago." The Dem leadership has not questioned any of these latest criminal acts.

Meanwhile, Pelosi and Reid have refused to cut or cap funding for Bush's "surge," thereby ensuring that more young Americans are sent to the Middle East meat grinder to die. They refuse to entertain the idea of impeaching any members of the Bush administration, despite the fact that impeachable offenses have occurred on a daily basis for years.

The Democrats have even done the Bush administration proud by pushing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission into law, pushing America one more step towards a full police state. Not one of the insipid legislative motions made during their first "100 Hours" means a thing next to this.
It is the Democrats, Washington's supreme enablers, who must be "held accountable," for their duplicity, and for their refusal to fulfill the only two demands Americans voters made upon them in November: stop the war, and remove the Bush administration from power.

Posted by: che | January 22, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the candidate selection does seem a little strange. They aren't limiting themselves to people who have actually announced or formed committees. I'm not sure what Richardson has done to show interest in running for president. He's talked about as being a candidate, but so is Gore.

Posted by: Blarg | January 22, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Al Gore going to be there I wonder...isn't he considered one of the "leading candidates for the Democratic nomination"? Surely his poll numbers are higher than Kucinich's or Kerry's.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 22, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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