You would expect the liberal press to devote as much anger and attention toward any attempts to limit unions as it did during the battle over collective bargaining in Wisconsin earlier this year. Don’t count on it. The press is ignoring major moves to curtail union power, and the president is doing the same. President Obama did not fly to Massachusetts to campaign against a recent bill in the statehouse that limited public-sector unions’ ability to bargain with the state.
But then, Massachusetts is not a battleground state. And governor Deval Patrick, who will need political cover to sign the bill, is a very good friend of the president’s. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, on the other hand, is not. Massachusetts isn’t the only Democratic redoubt Mr. Obama has failed to visit to save union members from their elected leaders. Mayor Dave Bing in Detroit sent layoff notices to all of the city school district’s 5,466 union employees. The same thing happened in Providence, Rhode Island, where Democratic mayor Angel Tavares put all of the city’s teachers on notice.
So why isn’t the president visiting Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Michigan to decry the “assault on unions” he demonized in Wisconsin? The answer is that Mr. Obama’s commitment to his union brethren is more political than spiritual. Union support is great for the president at the polls, but he is certainly not going to bash his buddy, Governor Patrick, or fellow Democrats Mayor Bing and Mayor Tavares to stand up for union members. But using the unions as a weapon against political foe Scott Walker? Absolutely.