Ben Smith writes that “the campaign against [EFCA] is also taking its toll on moderate Democrats in the House and Senate, as this Arkansas News column vividly illustrates.” What the column illustrates is that Blue Dogs like Rep. Marion Berry who supported EFCA in the last congress are now telling business leaders that they did so only because they knew the bill couldn’t pass, and now they’re going to the House leadership and whining that they can’t support the bill.
It’s extremely naive to see this dynamic as anything “taking its toll” on moderate Democrats. What’s happening is that even though the Republican Party lost the last election, the wealthy business interests who’d been financing the Republican Party can’t be defeated at the ballot box. And they hate the Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA would make it easier to form unions. And the evidence indicates that unions flatten the compensation structure at unionized firms—more money for folks at the low end, less for folks at the top. If I were a corporate manager, I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. And if, as a manager, I was able to use the company’s resources to advance my interests by fighting EFCA, I would want to do that. And that’s what they’re doing. And they have a lot of money to spend on that cause. Which means that if you can be the guy who blocks this legislation, you’ll be a hero to a lot of rich people prepared to spend a lot of money rewarding their hero. It’s a great opportunity for a moderate House Democrat. In the last congress, WalMart didn’t really need to care what Rep. Berry thought or did. The bill wasn’t going to pass anyway. Now it really might. Which means Berry might get to be a pivotal player in stopping it from happening. Which is great news for him.