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NBC’s Mark Whittaker: Obama Should Sistah Souljah Blogs, Unions

Mark Whittaker, the NBC News Washington Bureau Chief who replaced Tim Russert, on Chris Matthews this weekend:

MATTHEWS: OK. Who’s going to break it to the blogosphere? They don’t like anything that looks like a give to the right. Where are they going to be on this thing? Are they going to give him a break if he doesn’t go hard left, if he doesn’t do what they want?

Mr. WHITAKER: I think that Obama has to worry as much about the far left as he does about the far right. But, look, you know, I think that it could be a plus for him in some ways because I think they are going to give him what you might call Sister Souljah moments, when he can stand up to them.


Mr. WHITAKER: I’ve been talking to some veterans of those early Clinton wars who think that particularly this issue–the card check push by the labor unions to change the rules on organizing could be a moment for him, either by delaying that, standing up to the unions, of positioning himself more in the middle and making it harder for the far right to position him the way they tried to during the campaign. 

Right. Why doesn’t he tell the unions to forget about Employee Free Choice? It would make so many people who never liked Obama so very happy.

Well, there’s this, where Obama pledges repeatedly on the campaign trail that passage of the Employee Free Choice will be a priority:

And then there’s this, where Obama spent a day with union member and home health care worker Pauline Beck:

The Bush tax cuts have helped the nation’s top 1 percent increase their share of the wealth to levels unseen since 1928, just prior to the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the number of people living in poverty grew 26% from the time Bush took office through 2007.   The war on unions has been unrelenting, and as Krugman notes, unions are one of the strongest institutional forces for income equality.

I realize the issue of poverty and labor don’t generally affect the lives of the DC chattering class, but they really need to give the class war stuff a rest.

If Obama extends the Bush tax cuts and tells Pauline Beck to get stuffed, he really would become the soulless hack they’ve always accused him of being.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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