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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | March 03, 2003

Teamsters have given up on GOP

Once you get past the usual right-wing spin, Bob Novak's latest column confirms what everyone suspected after Elaine Chao's disastrous meeting last week with Big Labor: the GOP has lost any chance to pick up any labor endorsements.

The Teamsters and Carpenters Unions had been flirting with Bush, giving the president hope he could split labor's ranks and deny Democrats one of their biggest election advantages. However, Chao (the secretary of labor) killed those efforts in one fell swoop, criticizing labor for corruption that the labor unions themselves exposed.

Teamsters officials grumbled that Chao's indiscretion undermined years of conciliation with the GOP. Republicans who had been engaged in that effort mourned that chances to win Hoffa's endorsement of George W. Bush in 2004 had just vanished. Instead of sending the secretary to Florida to chide labor, one Teamster official told me, the White House should have dispatched aides to brief conservative union leaders on the Iraq war as a counterweight to the movement's Sweeney-led dominant left wing.
Chao is apparently unperturbed, according to Novak. She believes that the Carpenters Union is the only one that has any chance of endorsing the president, and it endorsed every incumbent Senate Democrat in 2002. In other words, she thinks wooing labor is a waste of time.

Posted March 03, 2003 08:23 AM | Comments (18)


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