If nothing else, this news about the Obama - Oprah magical mystery tour should serve as a wake-up call to organized labor in this country. I won't even bother quoting any of the article - you can make the jump and read it for yourself. The upshot is that Senator Obama and Oprah Winfrey will kick off their big media blitz to support Obama's campaign in a non-union hall. There is a fairly good defense for the decision based on the sizes of the available venue choices, but I would hope that it provides a little "irish" in their coffee on one very clear point: Organized Labor has become the Evangelical Christians of the Democratic party.
What does this mean? Stop and think about the GOP and their base for a moment. They rely heavily on the hard line, Evangelical Christian conservatives as a dependable voting block. They praise them highly in public, seek out their endorsements, and on some occasions will even push for legislation they favor. But when the chips are down and the needs of that block become inconvenient - or perhaps even an impediment - they are quickly thrown under the bus without so much as a by your leave.
It's time for Organized Labor to wake up, smell the coffee, and understand that they have no real friends in either party. Certainly the Republicans aren't going to take them under their wing at the expense of pushing legislation which would help workers at the cost of corporate profits. But the Democrats aren't doing anything for you either beyond lip service. Bill Clinton was no supporter of labor. He helped bring in the age of so called "free trade" that has been gutting the employment opportunities of the middle class for over a decade, and of course the Bush Administration has gleefully piled on to continue the trend.
It's time for Labor to stop automatically endorsing the Democratic front-runners and take a hard look at either third party candidates or lower tier Democrats and independents who might actually go back to working in the interests of the middle class rather than just blowing hot air about it. Until they do that, their votes will be taken for granted by Democratic candidates just like the Republicans take the evangelical Christian conservatives for granted. Enough is enough.