Someone in the White House went overboard last night, celebrating Sen. Blanche Lincoln's primary win over union-backed challenger Bill Halter and saying, "Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise." Really?
The White House has not had much success recently in closely-watched contests where they, expectedly, supported the boring old incumbent — most notably with Sen. Arlen Specter's recent loss in a Pennsylvania primary. So perhaps they were a bit off their guard last night after finally fending off an upstart union-and-Internet-supported jackal, when a "senior White House official" ran to tell Ben Smith this:
A senior White House official just called me with a very pointed message for the administration's sometime allies in organized labor, who invested heavily in beating Blanche Lincoln, Obama's candidate, in Arkansas.
"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the official said. "If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."
Nice, piss off the base and your biggest organizational allies, labor, whom you will need in November — not the other way around. Let's chalk this one up to a sugar high, because it doesn't make much sense in the World of Facts. Labor's number-one legislative interest in this Congress was getting the Employee Free Choice Act passed, and Blanche Lincoln flipped her crucial support on it and blocked it from reaching a final floor vote. For now it is dead. The political arm of labor obviously would be interested in challenging Blanche Lincoln.
It's also interesting to see the White House assuming, publicly, that the role of labor is to raise lots and lots of money and then simply dump it all on Rahm Emanuel's desk, for whatever he wants.