They are, by conservative estimate, the two most goddamn tenacious unions in the United States. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE), which Thursday announced their intention to merge, are each known for two of the most remarkable long-term campaigns in American labor history.
Harold Meyerson: Nader has no friends on the left.
Blasting "the liberal intelligentsia" and The Nation for resisting the siren call of his campaign, Ralph Nader unveiled his candidacy on Sunday in a performance that foreshadows a presidential bid of mind-boggling irrelevance -- but with a potential for catastrophic mischief.
Nader didn't exactly draw a line in the sand between himself and his Democratic rivals on Meet the Press. Asked what he'd do in Iraq if he were president, Nader said, "We need to get the [United Nations] in there with properly funded and trained peacekeeping troops from a whole variety of countries, No. 1."
That is, he articulated the position common to the Democratic candidates for president.
Things are going unusually well for the Democrats right now, in large part because they've found their voice again. Whether that voice ultimately is John Kerry's (and a bit circumlocutory) or John Edwards's (and trial-lawyer smooth), the message that they and their fellow Democrats have been delivering on the campaign trail sounds more classic Democratic themes than the party has heard in a long time.
Though it's not listed on the agenda as such, on Feb. 18 the Federal Election Commission plans to rule on the suspension of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.
Not all speech, of course, just effective political speech. On that day, the FEC will take up an advisory opinion from its general counsel, Lawrence Norton, which argues that any communication that "promotes, supports, attacks or opposes" any candidate for federal office must be paid for by "hard money" -- that is, by small-dollar donations.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- John Kerry and John Edwards will be duking it out for a little while yet, which means there will be populist rhetoric aplenty on the campaign trail. "At the heart of this campaign," Kerry said at his Seattle victory rally on Tuesday night, "is a commitment to fairness for all, not privilege for the few." Speaking earlier that evening in South Carolina, Edwards decried, as he always does, the division of the nation into "two Americas," one that receives tax breaks and has access to doctors, the other that sees its wages stagnating and has to wait in emergency rooms to get medical care.