Not a whole lot of good has come the way to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) these days. The only organization I can think of that gets more right wing scorn has been ACORN, who I think mostly get picked on because they don’t fight back. Another ally, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), is seeing similar problems getting its legislative priorities passed.
While you could point out any number of mistakes these organizations have made in the last few months, perhaps the most glaring is their belief that they could use the momentum from the 2008 election to push their dream bills through to passage. Their sometimes misplaced tactics haven’t helped their cause either, pulling silly publicity stunts and waging a terribly mismanaged media push. The real meat of it was their misconstrued overall strategy of shoving this legislation through, over the opposition of nearly all republicans and a good chunk of moderate Democrats.
This was just plain foolish. They had to know that they would have a hard time getting moderate Dems to vote their way on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, or card check if you prefer). They couldn’t have been so blind as to think the Blue Dogs would just roll over on their health care plan, with it costing so much… right?
Some polling has shown a bit of a shift, but numbers have been relatively steady on the issue of the secret ballot being favored over card check, and how wary the public is when it comes to expansion of government into health care. With the debt rocketing into the sky at an historic pace, and promised cost savings being debunked by the CBO, rather than work with the swing votes in the Senate to find a compromise these groups, and liberal organizations like them, have chosen perhaps the most ineffective strategy they could take.
Demonize the moderates.
There is a reason why politicians tone down the partisan their rhetoric after winning primaries, and why many are now saying that 2010 might not be so bad for Republicans after all. Attacking representatives who speak for those of us who worry about liberal overreach and a need for fiscal sanity helps nobody but the Republican party. Democrats may have the majority, and 60 votes in the Senate, but liberals do not… and this will not change any time soon.
Realizing this and working with the center, rather than attacking us, will allow these organizations to make progress on their legislative goals, keep their solid majority and stem the tide of independents that are now beginning to peel their support off. The silver lining of all of this, from my more centrist perspective, is this is leading to even more people leaving both parties. With over 40% of the population now identifying as independents, it is just a matter of time before something happens that turns the independent groundswell into a movement.