Obama Silent as Organized Labor Roars
(Wall Street Journal) — President Barack Obama, after initially lending his support to organized labor, has stepped back from the fights spreading in state capitals from Wisconsin to Tennessee, leaving union officials divided about his tactics. Democratic officials said that with Mr. Obama heading into battles over the federal budget, a plunge into the fray over public-sector collective bargaining could weaken his position as a deal-maker in Washington.
Mr. Obama is eager to occupy the political center, Democratic officials said, to help him forge a bipartisan deal on the nation’s long-term finances that could strengthen his position heading into the 2012 election. Mr. Obama has already tacked to the center on taxes, on trade and by working to forge stronger ties with business leaders. For their part, many union leaders worry that White House involvement could harm their case that the protests and political actions in the capitals of Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are grassroots, organic movements.