A bit groggy this morning, I scrolled through my email and reader for a good analysis of what happened in yesterday’s election. If I drank coffee, I would’ve spit it all over my screen when I came across some hilarious spin about the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Bob McDonnell made EFCA a central issue in his campaign and as a result, small businesses and workers from across the state decided to stand with him.
WFI fed the same BS to Amanda Carpenter at the Washington Times blog. Carpenter’s studious stenography:
46 percent of Virginia voters said the economy and jobs were their number one voting issue, according to exit polls the anti-EFCA Workforce Fairness Institute said in post-election memo obtained by the Washington Times that Mr. McDonnell’s willingness to speak out against EFCA was a key factor in convincing Virginia voters he’d be able to create more jobs than Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Yeah, almost. Forget the exit polls that show 71% of voters named health care or the economy as their number one issue – and that there’s no way voters thought “unions” when they said “jobs” – and WFI is right on the money. (Please also ignore that the Employee Free Choice Act wasn’t an issue in any 2008 race, either.)
But let’s consider the source: WFI is an outfit of ex-staffers of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, funded by corporate donors and conservative activists – their idea of “Workforce Freedom” is best described as the Wild West of Labor Law: shoot first, ask questions later, never pay for breaking the law.
Indeed, one ex-Romney and WFI staffer was actually on the ballot in Virginia. Barbara Comstock – previously a spokeswoman for WFI – ran for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates and just barely squeaked by with a 316-vote victory. When it comes to anti-Employee Free Choice Act demogoguery, no one does it better than Comstock. If WFI’s spin was close to true, Comstock would’ve sailed past the finish line, instead of ending up in a nail-biter. So where was WFI’s breathless email for Comstock?
Seriously, folks. While McDonnell tried to bring in national issues to a state election, he fell flat trying to make it an issue anyone cared about. Indeed, McDonnell attracted early ire from state papers one month before the Democratic primary:
Every time Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is criticized for his position on jobless benefits, members of his campaign seem to retort with two words: “card check!” [...]
In any case, there is no evidence – none – that expanding federal jobless aid would somehow unleash unions on the commonwealth. McDonnell’s campaign can’t even provide a lucid explanation of how one leads to the other.
Why Deeds didn’t seize an opportunity to make a campaign issue out of jobs and garner support from unions is anyone’s guess. But McDonnell’s harping on national issues succeeded in causing Deeds to fall on his face and depress the base. McDonnell brought up energy legislation, Deeds ran away from cap and trade. McDonnell wouldn’t stop talking about “card check,” Deeds decried the Employee Free Choice Act and distanced himself from unions. And then Deeds, unprovoked, said he’d opt out Virginians from the public health insurance option.
Think Progress has a good summary of how Deeds utterly failed on labor issues:
At the end of day, Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and any other Democratic candidate needs to learn this from yesterday’s election: the Employee Free Choice Act isn’t an election issue for voters. But if you want to win, consider not depressing your base and running away from key constituencies. Maybe then you won’t lose by 18 points.