Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?
by Matt Stoller, Wed May 09, 2007 at 01:18:28 PM EDT
Ari Berman kicked off the conversation about Mark Penn with a great article on his career as executive in a company with a union-busting division. Ezra Klein is calling labor leaders to see what they think about Hillary Clinton's chief strategist having this kind of history, and I'm curious how they respond. Typically union leaders hate criticizing Democratic officials, and do not want to be forced to potentially get into a spat over something like this.
Mark Schmitt also points out that Penn isn't particularly ethical in his polling practices.
And that fact proves Ari Berman's conclusion that Penn's choice of categories has little to do with the actual data and everything to do with his presumptions going in -- populism doesn't work, don't criticize corporations -- which in turn have a delightfully precise correspondence with the interests of the clients of the firm of which Penn is Worldwide President and CEO. And that's why neither Senator Clinton, the people with good sense in her campaign, labor leaders or other Democrats should accept lobbyist Howard Paster's explanation to Berman that Penn's corporate and anti-union clientele is "part of a whole 'nother life we lead."
This is a dilemma for labor leaders. For my part, I hope they put pressure on Clinton to distance herself from Penn. He's a seriously bad Democrat, and they would be letting their members down if they handled this problem any other way.