The Cycle | December 10, 2012
>>> today the president injected himself in to one of the nation's most heated debates coming out against right to work laws in the labor capital of michigan . those laws are deemed by critics as union killers.
>> right to work laws, they don't have to do with economics. they have everything to do with politics. what they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money. what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions .
>> hey, it only took him four years in office to say it. here's candidate obama back in 2007 .
>> understand this. if american workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when i'm in the white house i'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. i'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the united states .
>> why did the president pick now to so voluntary valley insert himself in this issue? let's put it splu the spthrough the spin cycle. i think it's about politics. like wisconsin, which he completely ignored. again, for political reasons. so, the way i sigh it is right now he's focusing on the fiscal cliff. he will have to give in on entitlement issues and up to him to focus on how to make the left happy and do something with labor. a natural constituency. it will come after him if he doesn't do something about it. i think right now good politics on the issue.
>> yeah, no. i tend to agree with that. he just has to show up. he wasn't as in the speech today as sort as explicit as i was led to believe this morning and the white house made it clear where he stands on this. i'm fascinated, also, by the politics of this within michigan and when's happening in michigan because this law which, you know, the final vote in the legislature will be tomorrow and the expectation is the republican governor will sign it and changes the political culture and just the working culture of michigan . talk about the right to work laws used to be just south carolina , used to be the old confederacy. to have it spread to the rust belt is dramatic. the story is governor rick snyder, republican governor, hard to believe now but when he was elected he was celebrated by the national media as the anti- tea party republican. campaign as a nerd, not so much ideological. he wasn't going to do the kinds of things in michigan that john kay sich was doing in ohio and the turning point when labor in michigan tried to put a constitutional amendment -- put a constitutional amendment on the ballot out there he took as an affront and he snider in response is receptive to this legislation but i think what's interesting to watch here just quickly in the next day is this. a group of democratic congressmen and leaders of michigan met to meet with snyder. the approval rating is not high. facing re-election in what's a blue state in 2014 and basically said, look, this is a huge political mess for you. you are taking incredible flack from supporters like the detroit news, newspapers. here's the way out for you. one of two things. this bill's going to pass the legislature tody legislature tomorrow and they put in appropriation to be exempt from referendum. they said line item veto and let the voters decide or there will be an amendment offered yesterday for a referendum. get behind the amendment. sign sit but you're out on this to keep from the fight maybe that you had with scott walker in wisconsin is let the voters decide this.
>> what's interesting is the governor said, please, to the republican party , please do not put this bill on my desk. he really didn't want to be in this position to start off with so tomorrow will be very interesting.
>> well, sort of bigger national political story behind the anti- union , anti- labor movement is also fascinating because, yes, republicans tend to have an ideological anti- union , anti-labor stance, but there's also more cynical political motive here. putting up the top ten list of donors of 2012 , see the top ones there. all corporations. not giving to democrats. and in the next group you can see the national education association , the uaw, the seiu, a couple of unions breaking in there. they're the only groups with money to compete at all with the corporation givers who give largely to republicans. so when republicans are taking on the unions, when they're forcing decline in membership and what right to worker as the president puts it right to work for less, i happen to like that phrasing, it causes union membership to decline and less money for political action and there's a cynical political motive and i just want to put this all in perspective. if we could put the chart back up that was just on the screen. as union membership declined in this country, right along with it, middle class share of the income has declined. and i know the story is not that simple. but the decline of labor in this country has been a very important piece of the story of the decline of the middle class and rising inequality in the country. paul krugman has an article talking about profits as a share of national economy surging while the share of national income going to labor through wages and other composition is declining so union rights major major part of that story.
>> nomenclature issue is important here. typical republican naming of things. right to work please. this is the right to not join the union that made the workplace better. when you join a workplace, the union made improvements to the situation you may not even realize or notice at that point. they'll protect you in the future from things you don't know are forthcoming in the future so i mean to allow people to join a workplace where they don't have to pay to join the union but they get the benefits of being in that workplace is totally sort of backwards. i mean, look. this is happening i think partly because we're after the election. right? and the unions were huge in helping obama get elected. he owes them something. i don't totally look at it sin cli for the future but once again the party of the wealthy is against the regular man. things that regular working class people need laying the groundwork for defeat in 2016 . party i.d., a long-term sorts of thing that is will just remind people, hey, they're not for us. they're not working for us. 2016 is already begun and not too cool to not -- i'm not too cool to talk about it already. it's begun and the republicans are working toward losing it.
>> i don't know if it's working toward losing it but there's an image problem coming out of the 2012 . no doubt about it but same time people rather have a job than losing the job outsourcing overseas.
>>> straight ahead --
>> people have to want to invite you in for dinner and right now you and your wife are in the doorway three feet apart letting in the cold air. that's why you lost iowa. it's why you'll lose new hampshire.
>> you are?
>> olivia. pope.
>> damage control olivia pope does it on "scandal." we have chris lahane who worked for the clintons and got to be good or at least really experienced.