Friday, December 21, 2007

"...definitely hypocritical, absolutely."

That's former Iowa AFSCME secretary-treasurer Carter Woodruff on his own union's new hit piece on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

It's a doozy, attacking Obama for opposing health insurance mandates - which happens to be position of the union itself - and invoking John Edwards' name in a pull quote without ever mentioning Hillary herself. It's a "let's you and him fight" piece which has managed to confuse and infuriate campaigns, voters and AFSCME members all at once.

AFSCME's supposed to be a politically smart union, but this looks like a dumb move. It puts the union on the attack against its own principles on behalf of a endorsed candidate it actually disagrees with. Since people tend to misunderstand the restrictions that affect independent expenditures, it carries a downside for the Clinton campaign proper, too. The campaign will be seen by many to have been somehow involved in a clumsy smear against both of her principal opponents. It was enough to put a panel of AFSCME members on a conference call supporting Obama and it's hardly the kind of thing you expect from a candidate who has depended so much on a veneer of inevitability.

In fact, it's the kind of thing that might put Hillary on a fast track to fourth place in Iowa. That might change everything.

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