Cheapshot: John and John on John

Reprinted by permission of Ray Abernathy.  Ray's website is available at:

What a couple of downer days for John Edwards.  First, the union that has milked him mercilessly for years flips and endorses Barack Obama. Then his former running mate passes him over for the surging-now, slipping-then senator from Illinois .  Both backstabs take place just a few days before the Nevada and South Carolina primaries, where Edwards arguably is still in contention. But don’t despair, John: politicians usually transfer only their negatives, and when it comes to churning out delegates to caucuses, the culinary union in Nevada probably can’t deliver a bottle of buttermilk.

John Kerry first.  What kind of a jerk makes a man his vice presidential choice, drags him through the muck of one of the worst presidential campaigns in history, then turns on him when the erstwhile VP contender makes his own run for the top office? We all know the answer — a total jerk.  John Kerry was and is a deeply-flawed man, one who knew his many personal vulnerabilties even as he accepted our nomination. Makes you want to ask John Edwards, “What’s it like to carry a genuine stiff across 50 states, then have him drop YOU?”  Beware the boomerang, Obama:  John Kerry screwed up a free lunch,  trifled with our trust and failed to finish a slam-dunk on a weakened war-monger.  Some of us haven’t forgotten.

Now John Wilhelm.  John Edwards has been trampling out the vintage for Wilhelm, the co-president of UNITE HERE, for at least six years, busting his butt on picket lines,  leading rallies, championing the rights of casino workers to join unions, betting not just the farm, but his family fortune on a union that plays a cynical game of political Keno, all take and no payoff.  Again, it could backfire. The story goes that Wilhelm and co-president Bruce Raynor set up an Executive Board telephone vote last Tuesday evening in anticipation of Obama winning the New Hampshire primary, then couldn’t pull back their minions when Hillary trounced him.  And what does Obama really get?  The support of UNITE HERE’s culinary union in Nevada, a group of 60,000 casino workers with probably the lowest percentage of registered voters in the labor movement.  It’s a self-styled “organizing union” that traditionally turns its nose up at presidential politics. Hillary has the support of AFSCME, the union much-responsible for New Hampshire, and Edwards is backed by the steelworkers and the communications workers, big unions that know how to do politics as well as organizing.  Snake eyes for Obama?

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