A top union leader unleashed some tough-talking rhetoric in an interview with ABC News Tuesday. Perhaps a bit more tough-talking than what one usually hears from a labor representative normally friendly to Democrats.
David Chalian — co-host of ABC News’ “Top Line” — reports that, President Obama ally Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, the 2.2 million strong Service Employees International Union “charged that the reason Senate Democrats find themselves in their current predicament on health care is because some senators (read: Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman) ‘acted like terrorists.’”
I think we saw in the Senate you know, death to change. And I think the Senate has huge responsibilities here. They were given a gift, particularly in the fall, by the American people of 60 votes. The ability to debate every issue and what did they do? They squandered it. And when I call them terrorists, they’re not — they’re good Americans — but they acted like terrorists and there’s a reason why America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.
Although Stern didn’t mention any senator’s names specifically to ABC News, he has complained in the past about Sen. Ben Nelson (D-FLA), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
“Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, everybody held up their vote for the purpose of gaining personal leverage,” Stern told blogger Susie Madrak in December.
Stern added, “All you hear is about the Democrats fighting with each other. They’re negotiating with Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and the Blue Dogs, and here are the Republicans with no intention of solving any problems, and Democrats can’t even set up that contrast because how can you blame the Republicans if the Democrats cant act together?”
It was revealed earlier today that Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a liberal strategy group in August that a plan to run advertisements against conservative Democrats who were “balking at Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul” was grossly unwise.
“F—ing retarded,” Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to participants cited by the Wall Street Journal.
He warned them not to alienate lawmakers whose votes would be needed on health care and other top legislative items,” the reporter said.
Claiming senators “acted like terrorists” most probably will not be warmly received by the White House.