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Huckabee Crosses the Picket Line

Mike Huckabee wants it both ways. He says he wants to support striking television writers—right before he crosses their picket line.

Huckabee became one of the first to cross the picket line after late night talk show host Jay Leno went back on the "Tonight Show" yesterday.

On his way to cross the picket line yesterday, Huckabee

professed his support for the striking television writers’ union.

Uh, sorry. Expressing support for striking workers means not crossing the picket line. Not. Ever.

As Michael from American Rights at Work pointed out here, unlike Leno and Conan O’Brien, David Letterman went back on the air last night after his company, Worldwide Pants, negotiated a deal with striking writers. Letterman’s show offers candidates—like Hillary Rodham Clinton, who joined him last night—the opportunity for nationwide coverage without crossing a picket line.

Huckabee isn’t the first Republican president wannabe to cross the picket line. Texas Rep. Ronald Paul in December crossed the writers’ picket line to appear on ABC’s "The View." Paul also voted against the Employee Free Choice Act, which we in the union movement have been pushing hard to pass in Congress to fix our nation’s broken labor laws.

Other 2008 presidential candidates have taken a different approach: They’ve honored the writers’ picket line, and some have walked with workers on strike. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and his wife Elizabeth canceled appearances on “The View” to honor the picket line, as did Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was scheduled to appear on the show today. The Democratic National Committee canceled a planned Dec. 10 debate due to a potential strike by ABC News writers and staff. Both Barack Obama and John Edwards marched alongside striking hotel workers in Chicago earlier this year, and all Democratic candidates, except Mike Gravel, issued statements in support of the 73,000 striking workers at General Motors Corp. in September.

Last week, there was a great discussion on my post in this spot about the value of unions.

One way a strong and growing union membership helps not just union members, but the entire nation, is through our massive get-out-the-vote campaigns. In 2006, we mobilized 205,000 volunteers, knocked on more than 8 million doors, made 30 million phone calls and delivered 20 million mailers and 14 million worksite fliers. In 2007, union members’ efforts helped elect pro-worker leaders in Virginia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Thousands of union volunteers delivered presidential levels of turnout for state and local races.

Jane was the first to report how quickly Huckabee was to have anti-war protestors arrested when they entered one of his local Iowa campaign offices with "Who Would Jesus Bomb" signs.

Arresting peaceful protestors and crossing picket lines is not what our nation needs in our next president. And one of the union movement’s major contributions is to mobilize as many people as possible who can see beneath the surface of an electric guitar and preacher persona.

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Tula Connell

Tula Connell