April 12, 2007

Hoffa: We'll "Blow Up" Denver For Dem Convention (Updated)

The Democrats may stage an homage to Chicago 1968 in Denver for their 2008 convention. The AP reports that the party's union base objects strongly to the selection of the right-to-work city for the convention and are threatening to disrupt the proceedings if Denver doesn't start using closed shops:

The Democrats' choice of Denver to anoint their presidential nominee in 2008 has stirred up angst among unions, one of the party's core groups, because of Colorado's reputation as an unfriendly place for organized labor. ...

Last month, the AFL-CIO threatened to force Democrats to abandon Denver after Colorado's Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed a bill making it easier to set up all-union workplaces. "Unless we can be assured that the governor will support our values and priorities, we will strongly urge the Democratic Party to relocate the convention," said the AFL-CIO's executive council.

Teamsters President James Hoffa chimed in last week, injecting himself into a conversation between Ritter and Sweeney at a Washington, D.C., dinner to say they would "blow up" Denver with picketing and protests if union issues didn't get worked out.

Howard Dean has his work cut out for him. Ritter vetoed the bill last February, long after Dean and the DNC selected Denver for their convention. The bill would have made it easier to set up closed shops in Colorado by eliminating the need for a second vote on how dues get imposed after a workplace votes for union representation. It takes 75% to vote in a closed shop on the second ballot, which the bill would have eliminated.

That would have addressed the concerns the unions expressed last year, when the two parties announced their selections for the 2008 venues. Both parties gave much consideration to the Twin Cities, which does have decent union penetration and a protective political climate. The Republicans closed the deal first, and while the Democrats could also have staged theirs here, they also still had union-friendly New York City as a finalist. Instead, the DNC made the unusual choice to ignore its base and attempt to expand its reach to moderates in the interior West.

Now they may wind up alienating both constituencies. The unions feel betrayed by Colorado's Democratic governor and want to start strong-arming both the DNC and Colorado into forcing the state to accept liberalized union policies. Western moderates, who don't cotton to getting strong-armed by outsiders at all, will most likely react poorly to the effort. That leaves the party, its base, and its selected city on a collision course for 2008.

This has all the makings of a fiasco. If the unions follow through on Hoffa's threat, any hope of winning the general election may dissipate the same way it did forty years earlier, and they could frighten off moderates not just for the presidential contest but all the way down the ticket.

UPDATE and BUMP: Will these threats have the effect of bolstering opposition to the proposed changes in labor laws? I'm betting that James Hoffa will have done the Republicans' work in underscoring the potential damage to Colorado's business climate.


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Comments (16)

Posted by Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:01 AM


December 31, 1967: Activists partying at Abbie Hoffman's New York loft resolve to hold a Festival of Life during the Democrats' "Convention of Death." Paul Krassner christens the group "Yippies."

January 30, 1968:The Tet offensive begins in South Vietnam; Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops strike at targets across South Vietnam, reaching even the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Often cited as a turning point in public support for the war. American troops will peak at 542,000 during 1968.

February 27, 1968: CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite concludes a special report on Vietnam and the Tet offensive with an editorial, in which he says: "It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." President Johnson is said to have responded: "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

April 27, 1968: An antiwar march in Chicago draws 8,000 people. When the march ends, Chicago police order the crowd to disperse, then wade in with clubs. The unofficial Sparling report criticizes the police and the Daley administration.

July 15, 1968: The Yippies apply for permits to camp in Lincoln Park (about two miles north of the Chicago Loop) and to rally at Soldier Field (on the lakefront south of the Loop)

August 23, 1968: At the Civic Center plaza (located in the Loop and now known as the Daley Center) the Yippies nominate their presidential contender—Pigasus the pig. Seven Yippies and the pig are arrested.

Can we draw any potential parallels to this upcoming convention ?

Posted by Andy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:27 AM

As a resident of Thornton, Colorado, I'm really happy Bill Ritter vetoed the bill. I thought for sure that bill was as good as signed when Ritter beat Beauprez. Glad I was wrong. Now we just have to keep him from working to raise our taxes...and maybe I'm wrong about him again.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:29 AM

Closed shops are just so wrong. Why shouldn't there be a choice of whether or not to join a union when you decide to work for some business -- make the union have to provide some benefit to joining.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:33 AM

Will this event be on pay-per-view?

Seeing Democrats getting the stuffing kicked out of them in the streets is a dream of mine. I might just fly out there and join in on the fun. Sort of a working vacation.

Alas, there is hope for Howie Dean. Has MoveOn.org been alerted? Maybe their angry lunatics can scare off the Teamsters by sending them nasty E-mails.

Posted by Gwedd [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:45 AM


Wouldn't it be just ducky to see all the anarchists and anti-WTO folks going to blows with the union thugs? man.. I'd actually PAY to see that. Imagine all the emotional and metal trauma the MSM would be in trying to report on that stuff.. heh.

As to closed shops, tell me about it. Actor's Equity, the union for stage actors, demands that only union members be allowed to audition for union productions. However, you can't join the union until you've been cast in a union play. Go figure. they get around this catch-22 situation by allowing a certain percentage of parts and staff to be given out as "internships" which basically means very little pay. In return for this "priviledge, you are given an "Equity Eligible" card which allows you to audition for union plays, which, if you get a part, then lets you join the union.


Posted by pilsener [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 7:53 AM

I live in Denver, and the sense here is that this is just political posturing by the Unions.

Colorado politics has just recently switched from Republican to Democrat - the Governor and both houses are now Democratic. Denver is a solidly Democratic voting base with a Mayor that leans to the Democrats.
As of this moment, the 2008 Presidential election would go to the Dems, giving them a state that went for Bush twice.

A Union eruption could quickly switch Colorado back to a Red state. I just can't see it happening here.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 8:13 AM

Typical threats from union hoodlums. Given that their membership continues to decline, the only hope they have of survival is the election of filthy democrats who will force American workers to pay protection money to the unions in exchange for the priviledge of being allowed to work. The dems, in turn, depend on the union thugs for money and muscle at election time.

So, while I think the unions will posture, I'd be surprised if they actually bite the hand that feeds them and stage anything more than symbolic protests in Denver (assuming the dems don't chicken out and hold their convention in Detroit. I understand that housing is very affordable there these days).

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 9:40 AM

James Hoffa needs to come to grips with the realization that his organization is as relevant to this Country's economy and its people as a Ford Model T.

If union members were true shareholders and they saw this archaeic strategy being used for their very survival, they would certainly send Hoffa packing - just like a group of shareholders would do at a major company who's CEO was sticking to his guns to reinvest all of the company's resources in to 8 Track Player research.

Knock Knock, Hoffa. Time to wake up and figure out what milennium you are in.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 10:01 AM

"James Hoffa needs to come to grips with the realization that his organization is as relevant to this Country's economy and its people as a Ford Model T."

But unions will be able to become very relevant again, if the Democrats manage to ram through check-card elections through Congress and get it signed by a future President.

Not to mention the organized crime union heavies, who will doubtlessly threaten and intimidate workers into checking a card to authorize a union in their workplace.

Hoffa should be looking at the long-term and doing everything he can to help the Democrats. But thugs generally aren't good at long-term thinking.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 10:12 AM

Re: Rovin at April 12, 2007 07:01 AM

As Michael Medved (liberal in the late '60s, former Vietnam War protester, now conservative) points out, the size of the "Anti-War" protests, by young people, was always directly proportional to their risk of getting drafted. After that risk was largely gone, with the move to "Vietnamization" of the war, the interest in protesting greatly diminished. It seems, it wasn't so much "war" they opposed. They opposed having to leave the good times at home and risk getting killed or injured. Other people dying--not a big concern. The communists' "Killing Fields" of the Late '70s didn't rate any big national protests. That's a significant fact that gets lost in all the Baby Boomer protest nostalgia. Theirs was a selfish protest, in most cases, and really nothing to be nostalgic about.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 11:52 AM

Oh, well.

In 2004, to amuse myself; I kept thinking IF ONLY the podium would leave the building. And, fall into Boston Harbor, I'd be happy.

But I had to make do with the site of jimmy carter running around the stage, tryong to get teddy kennedy to shake his hand.

The donks are not without an ability to provide humorous interludes. In what would otherwise be totally humorless events.

So, now its Denver getting threatened.

I guess we're getting a taste of what's gonna be up in 2010 or 2012, when London "hosts" the olympics.

It's as if all the old venues of entertainment are turning into vaudeville. And, you know where vaudeville went? (Pepsodent's still around.)

Of course, "threats" that should have the people making them hosed; due to the fact that theyre ILLEGAL, instead meets with these American fears. Where people tumble under their beds. And, shake like centrifuges.

Why are so many AMericans supposed to be spooked by this nonsense?

Take me, here. I could care less.

If Denver caves? There are many other states looking at "right-to-work" laws. Because those that have 'em, thrive. Those that don't are like Michigan.

And, if you didn't hear? Michigan is gonna begin to fight to pass right-to-work laws, just to survive. Well, it's attracting a lot of arabs.

So? Welfare's not the only game in town.

There once was an auto industry that filled the tax coffers. GONE.

And, money talks.

When I first read the word "HOFFA" I had to remind myself that JIMMY'S DEAD. In other words? Let's say Jimmy Hoffa had a hand in JFK's assassination. Could that have led to Hoffa being buried in a parking lot?

Ya know what's really odd about Denver? NO GLOBAL WARMING!

And, believe it or not, the left's religion is wrapped up in the witchcraft of trying to fool you. You mean, you're not scared enough, yet?

Who was in charge of picking Denver?

Should'a picked South Florida. They have hotels. Maybe, this means there are enough idiots inside the "decision circle," for the donks, who really believe Southern Florida will all be underwater, in 2008?

Heck, they're not even going to New Orleans. Not enough pork fell their way, over there? Not enough "chocolate people?"

You know? I don't care. But if I had to guess? Theresa has a mansion in Denver. ANd, she wants to cut back on her "flying time." That's HOW Denver got picked! And, why it's a haven for the elite. Well, Hoffa goes to bed with them, too. And, no matter what Denver does, it's still got 49 other states with which to compete for the tourists' dollars. $$$

Posted by Hartley [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 12:00 PM

Hi Ed,

Can someone explain to me the difference between a Union leader threatening to "blow up" Denver because the Democrats refuse to kowtow to Union strong-arm demands and radical Muslims threatening violent protest over "insults" to their religion?


Posted by Barbara Skolaut [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 1:14 PM

"Instead, the DNC made the unusual choice to ignore its base and attempt to expand its reach to moderates in the interior West. Now they may wind up alienating both constituencies."

What's the downside?

Posted by krm [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 8:20 PM

I hope the unions follow through and the MoveOn.org crew joins them to turn Denver into a full replay of Chicago 1968. The public should have a good infomercial about the ones who "own" the Democratic Party.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 9:23 PM

Non story. Because the gop's fortunes are so downtrodden they look for any little glint of hope where they can beat up dems.With Bushie its what screwup will happen this week? This story will deflect the imploding Bush admin for maybe 10 minutes. As far as todays news cycle I bet this story never cracked the top ten......ho hum.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 11:52 PM

Conservative Democrat,

Most people here can walk and chew gum at the same time. Sounds like you don't think the rest of America can.

I'm not sure whether that says volumes about America or volumes about you.