Which side are you on?

Bill Clinton still has the reflexes:

Bill Clinton on Tuesday canceled a commencement speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, because of a lingering labor dispute. . . .

“Due to the ongoing labor dispute, he regrets that he will be unable to participate in commencement this year and he wishes the UCLA graduates the best of luck,” Clinton’s office said a statement.

Being a Democrat still means, evidently, not caring about the merits of a “dispute.” Picket lines are not crossed because “labor” is presumptively on the side of the angels when it institutes an “action” against “management.”

How exactly is that “New Democrat”? True, here “management” is a publicly-funded university, which, unlike the auto industry, can be bled indefinitely for concessions. So I suppose there is, from a welfare-state point of view, no tipping point in this case: More is always available for the next contract, the public trough being bottomless.

But as a general proposition, when do Democrats, or anyone else, move past the concept that the mere declaration by union management leadership that a “labor dispute” exists establishes an irrebuttable presumption that labor is on the right side of that “dispute,” and is entitled to total deference — even to the extent of broaching a prior commitment? For we know how particular President Clinton is about his commitments.

Answer: This Old Left presumption will be challenged when union gelt and manpower, especially public employee union gelt and manpower, cease to be the single most important component of the Democratic Party coalition. In other words, not any time. Ever.

Originally posted on Likelihood of Success.

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