Policy: Labor

Hope and change: Rich liberals turn over leadership of group to teacher union honcho

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Michael Barone,Labor unions,Labor,Liberalism,Teachers Unions

It's a good man-bites-dog story: Liberal writer Matt Bai on Yahoo takes a jaundiced view of the decision of the Democracy Alliance to appoint the National Education Association's executive director to be chairman of its board. Bai's story is headlined, “Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it.” Bai describes the Democracy Alliance as a “group of superrich Democrats who have funneled more than half a billion dollars into liberal groups over the past decade” and is regarded as “the main bank for big money on the left.”

But, he reports, “the Silicon Valley and Wall Street contributors who were most focused on modernization started to drift away,” leaving mostly “aging boomers who clung to 1960s orthodoxies.” This sounds like what I once called, in a 2005 column that drew yelps of anger from commenters, “the trustfunder left.” These folks have decided, in old-fashioned no-enemies-to-the-left style, to make common cause with public employee unions -- a move institutionalized by the choice of the NEA executive director as their chairman. “If you were going to sit down and make a list of political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change,” Bai wrotes, “you'd have a hard time finding a better example than the country's largest teachers union.”

Yup. So much for hope and change.

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