Tributes to politicos written by their children don’t have a special place in literary hell, but they probably deserve one. Most are warm and fuzzy reminisces from kids who seem to know little more about their fathers—and it almost always is fathers—than their dads’ press secretaries. And, like the handiwork of a press secretary, their books often present a version of events so thin and sanitized that they make the History Channel look like PBS. Not so with Mark Shriver’s A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.
United Auto Workers President Bob King (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Last August, just two months after he became president of the United Auto Workers, Bob King drove upstate to a conference that the Center for Automotive Research was hosting in Traverse City, Michigan, and proposed to redefine the role that American unions play in the economy.
Leo Gerard is central casting's idea of a labor leader: tough and big. Really big -- 6 feet 2 inches tall and barrel-chested. He's just the kind of guy you'd expect to be the president of the United Steelworkers. So what's he doing palling around with Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope?
In a June, 2004, speech John Kerry brought a New Jersey crowd to its feet when he declared: "It's time once and for all we change the laws so workers can organize when a majority of them wants to, without intimidation and interference from management." Memorable words. But if you don't recall them, you're not alone: this kind of talk was generally reserved for union audiences only.