brettjoshpe.thumbnail.jpgThere are a lot of creepy "legal consultants" writing anti-Employee Free Choice op-eds these days as a way to peddle their services to companies fearful of unionization. But attorney Brett Joshpe, the author of "Why You’re Wrong About the Right: Behind the Myths: The Surprising Truth About Conservatives," (which he describes as "probing and hilarious" in his biography) appears to be motivated purely by concern for working people:

Killing EFCA would not only benefit the American economy, it would benefit workers as well. It should be increasingly clear that the interests of labor align with neither.

I want you to know, I’m touched by the depth of his compassion. Really, I am. I can’t seem to find any other articles by Mr. Joshpe fighting for the rights and dignity of working people, but in his bio he does drop the "H" bomb—lets us know he went to Harvard Law and that "his practice focused on wide range of corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity, securities and real estate"—so I’m sure his identification with the struggles of working people at this time of economic hardship is both profound and sincere.

Writing in Politico, he says:

The legislation is the big payback to unions who showered Barack Obama and Democrats with campaign cash this past election season.

Or could it just be a part of Obama’s plan to restore the economy and strengthen the middle class?

President Barack Obama, in arguing for passage of the EFCA, might say that “we won” and that Americans voted for this sort of change when they went to the polls in November.

He "might say." As opposed to maybe what Obama did say?

We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement. When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper.

Details, details. Brett Joshpe whips out the statistics:

In fact, Americans overwhelmingly — approximately 70 percent — favor preserving the right to vote by secret ballot and oppose card check, meaning Democrats who cater to the Big Labor constituency and defy the will of the voters risk paying a political price.

Funny, no link! Why would that be? Why I think we’ve been down this road before. Republican pollsters McLaughlin & Associates, working for GOP political operative Mike Murphy, who runs an anti-labor lobbying group called Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (because they, too, care so very much about workers’ rights), posed the question for this particular poll like this:

There is a bill in Congress called the Employee Free Choice Act which would effectively replace a federally supervised secret ballot election with a process that requires a majority of workers to simply sign a card to authorize organizing a union and the workers’ signatures would be made public to their employer, the union organizers and their co-workers. Do you support or oppose Congress passing this legislation.

You would think someone smart enough to get through Harvard Law could figure out that the Employee Free Choice Act doesn’t replace "secret ballot," it offers workers (instead of employers) the choice to use either majority sign-up ("card check") or secret ballot. And at no point would "workers’ signatures be made public." Workers have to sign the exact same cards under majority sign-up or secret ballot — having a "secret ballot" election on company property, in front of their supervisors, is just another step.

So guess what that means? Seventy-four percent of Americans oppose a bill nobody’s proposing. Woo hoo! Such are the joys of Brett Joshpe’s link-free journalism.

One grass-roots organization, SOS Ballot, or Save Our Secret Ballot, realizes how unpopular the EFCA measure is with voters, and it is taking its case directly to the people.

When corporate-funded efforts of the Heritage Foundation and the Goldwater Institute are considered "grass roots," you let me know.

Rather than trying to talk over Democrats who are compromised by special interests or spread the message through big business, opponents of the EFCA are bringing their case directly to the people on the grass-roots level.

At moments like these, I must admit — snark fails me.

Perhaps some moderate Democrats will come to their senses…. All they need to do is look at public opinion polls back home to realize the political risk of not doing so.

Yeah they can probably read. When Americans were polled about provisions of the real bill instead of the black helicopter wingnut fantasy bill conducted by GOP lobbyists, they are overwhelmingly supportive (73%). More importantly, 78% say they favor legislation "that makes it easier for workers to bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions." That’s a pretty unambiguous statistic, which makes it clear why the bill’s corporate opponents — like Brett Joshpe — feel compelled to lie like bastards and paint themselves as wrapped up in concern for poor workers they’ve never spent a dime to defend over anything else.

And I’m not afraid to link to my source.

Brett Joshpe’s a bit late to the party, but if he’d been paying attention — oh, I don’t know, say last November, he’d remember that nobody’s afraid of da big bad wolf. As Art Levine notes, anti-Employee Free Choice groups spent tons o’ cash in the last election advertising against Democratic challengers Jeff Merkeley, Jeanne Shaheen, Al Franken and Tom Udall. Despite the fact that McCain added it as an all-purpose bogeyman in his stump speech, it didn’t move the public opinion needle squat. John Ensign noted that it was a big fundraiser for the GOP, though. So good luck with that one.

As a student, Joshpe got media attention for a campus group he formed "called Students for Protecting America, which garnered national media attention for its support of the war in Iraq." These days, however, he’s peddling advice to Barack Obama on how to "restore America’s goodwill throughout the world after the damage inflicted by the Bush administration." Party of personal responsibility? No time! Not when there’s such a high demand for right-wing celebrity scolds.

He may not have much of a track record, but I think we can all agree that the concern Brett Joshpe shows for the little people in quite touching. Maybe if things get really tough he can go tell "probing and hilarious" jokes at the food bank.

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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