SEIU To Seek Primary Challenger To Health Bill No Vote Arcuri

I personally think that part of this is a great development in terms of legitimizing all primary challenges:

It appears SEIU is dead serious about this business about yanking support for House Dems who vote No on the health bill. The SEIU bluntly informed Dem Rep Michael Arcuri of New York yesterday that its pulling support for him in the wake of the news that hes an all-but-certain No, Im told. And the search for a primary [. . .] challenger is underway.

I ellipsed the part that is clearly wrong - SEIU is promising to back a 3rd party challenger if Arcuri wins the Dem primary:

This guy won by two percent with our support and 1199s support against a moderate Republican last time, [SEIU's] Nerzig continues. Itll be very difficult for him to win reelection next time without us. Arcuri won with 52% of the vote in 2008.

That is Naderism. It is unacceptable. Imagine if progressives made such a threat? They would be rightly pilloried. Bad on the SEIU.

Speaking for me only

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  • I disagree (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:03:45 AM EST
    If the two parties do not represent your interests you have a right to seek out an option that does represent you and your interests. You can call it Naderism, I call it functional democracy.

    I agree with Cawaltz (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by msaroff on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:24:58 PM EST
    First, the union is not a partisan Democratic institution, and second, the Blue Dogs, and Michael Arcuri is a Blue Dog, are a at least threat to Labor's legislative agenda than the Republicans, but they can be moved in a cooperative direction with the judicious application of consequences.

    Backing a 3rd party candidate may not be the right thing for the Democratic party, but it is the right thing for a labor union like the SEIU.

    I'm stunned by this though, normally, this sort of treatment is reserved for progressives, see Kucinich and Kos a few days back.


    Party identification (none / 0) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 08:33:05 PM EST
    can get in the way of creating issue driven policy IMO. If you are a default vote then you don't have much to bargain with. Clinton attempted to explain that to bloggers from what I understand. He told them in order to be effective they have to focus on issues, not party identity.

    I do agree, cawaltz (none / 0) (#27)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:47:02 AM EST
    But with a caveat.  Unions certainly have the right to support a candidate who best reflects their own interests, and they also have the right, if they dislike both the Democrat and Republican running, to go for a third party candidate.  However, I think they are also obligated to poll their membership first and see what the majority thinks.  Sometimes union leaders may be ahead of their membership, and sometimes behind, but I think they have an obligation to find out what the membership wants, and to educate the membership on things the members may be misinformed about or not have a clear understanding of.

    Polling should (none / 0) (#30)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:54:06 AM EST
    have already been done IMO. At this late stage of the game sending out ballots would take time the unions simply don't have. Hopefully local chapters have been weighing in on the debate in real time.

    I do understand what you are saying about leadership not always seeing it the same as the feet on the ground though. My husband is an active UTU member. He's got into many a vehement discussion on polling.


    Oh, you're right that it's too late now (none / 0) (#42)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:14:29 PM EST
    I just hope they got at least a sense of what the membership wanted, earlier in the process.

    I can't actually imagine "progressives" (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:07:44 AM EST
    making any kind of threat at all. At least not ones that aren't basically empty.

    Anyway, Arcuri is most likely going to lose no matter what the SEIU does.

    Why are unions and progressives (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:40:38 PM EST
    considered two different groups?  Labor has been on the liberal/progressive side of things since forever.  

    But progressives (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:29:31 PM EST
    Haven't always been on labor's side....

    That's no $hit (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:40:26 PM EST
    They will likely yank their fusion slot (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:34:56 AM EST
    from him (i.e, Working Families Party). That's a real threat.

    Relatedly, more from that PPP poll here:

    On our last national poll folks who supported Barack Obama for President in 2008 but are now undecided on how to vote for Congress this year said they supported the health care bill by a 59-17 margin.

    Only 59%? (none / 0) (#13)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:37:14 AM EST
    That's very low.  Supports BTD's post yesterday.

    Not really (none / 0) (#17)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:39:36 AM EST
    Allocate the unallocated evenly, and you approach 80%. This is how minorities groups who always vote D tend to register in polls.

    There are a lot (none / 0) (#19)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:42:10 AM EST
    of contingencies in your analysis.  Looking at the numbers as they are, though, seems more realistic to the extent that this poll means anything anyway.

    Polls and polling analysis is always highly (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:44:29 AM EST
    contingent. I have my reading, and you can have yours.

    And Nader used the Green Party (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:37:41 AM EST
    This is different how exactly?

    Well, the WFP line has actually (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:41:30 AM EST
    provided the margin of victory for several Democrats in NY over the last few years. I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it's a real threat. They're drawing their line in the sand, so other NY Dems (Michael McMahon, for ex.) will take notice.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:42:22 AM EST
    I thought the argument about Nader was he cost Gore the election? Which was true BTW.

    You are not making much sense to me.


    There's no "huh" (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:43:53 AM EST
    I agree that Naderism is bad. But I can't tell the unions what to do, and in this instance I think it's an effective threat.

    So would be any 3rd party challenge (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:51:05 AM EST
    in a close district.

    Not sure I follow your point.

    Who doubted its effectiveness in terms of threats to Acuri?

    I doubt its effectiveness as a strategy for getting policies you want.

    What the SEIU is doing is something that I have a problem with - to wit, deciding that electing Republicans is a valid way to advance progressive positions.

    It isn't.


    As opposed to what though? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:03:18 PM EST
    Re electing the guy who won't promote  progressive policy?

    I disagree with the notion that it is a good idea to believe you get effective progressive policy by pursuing and re electing the same people who refused to implement progressive policy in the first place.


    I think they've decided (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:56:28 AM EST
    to "execute" Arcuri as an example to the rest. I don't agree with the strategy (losing the House would be BAD), but I think it will work as far as it goes.

    Where is it going? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:58:43 AM EST
    IMO, through Sunday's vote (none / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:16:10 PM EST
    I think there is somewhat less risk in Naderizing a House member than a Presidential candidate, so maybe to November if they want to be taken seriously in the future.

    And when Arcuri votes No (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:24:46 PM EST
    Then where is it going?

    Well, what you can't easily quantify (none / 0) (#47)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:32:38 PM EST
    is which members will vote yes because of this move.

    My view (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:38:38 PM EST
    is zero effect.

    If that's true (none / 0) (#50)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:43:48 PM EST
    then I have to wonder why any of the various interest groups are relevant to anyone at all.

    I think that (none / 0) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:55:00 PM EST
    no one really believes that labor would do this crazy thing.

    Indeed, SEIU is the only union that even has said something like this.

    There is a reason for that - it's nuts and will not be a real strategy.


    Madman bargaining, no? (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:57:07 PM EST
    Which you seem to have (none / 0) (#58)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:16:59 PM EST
    Heh (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by mcjoan on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:32:24 PM EST
    Sellout PUMA troll (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 02:20:23 PM EST
    You've been called worse. Probably are being called right now.

    Bargaining with who? (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:31:25 PM EST
    Acuri? Well, it seems almost impossible now.

    But hell, wishes and horses . . .


    Narrowly, other NY Democrats (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:34:16 PM EST
    Scalpel v shotgun (none / 0) (#65)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:41:17 PM EST
    It seems your view (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:46:44 PM EST
    is that primaries are the place to challenge and punish wavering democrats.  But after the primary, the blood letting should stop.

    I think that makes sense most of the time.  There could be exceptions....I don't think a serious (e.g., a non-Dennis Kucinich) primary is good where we have a sitting President.....1968 and 1980 show where that leads....


    NY is different (none / 0) (#52)
    by souvarine on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:47:57 PM EST
    I think BTD is missing the point. There are alternative, competitive parties on the ballot in NY. Party shopping to pick the best way to challenge an incumbent isn't as destructive, you have a good chance of winning and not being a spoiler.

    NO, not really (none / 0) (#53)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:48:32 PM EST
    3rd party candidates don't win--not even in New York.

    This is simply wrong (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:53:53 PM EST
    No non-Dem or GOP has a chance in NY.

    This is Naderism.


    WFP (none / 0) (#70)
    by souvarine on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 12:34:17 PM EST
    I overstated my point, the WFP has a slim chance of winning NY-24 but would be an effective spoiler. The WFP has yet to win a federal office, but they have won large local elections in NY against Democratic candidates.

    Given how popular the WFP is in the Albany area and the role they played in Arcuri's 2006 and 2008 wins the threat of a WFP general election challenge should concentrate Arcuri's and other Democratic officials minds. The WFP made up Arcuri's margin of victory in 2008, almost 10% of his votes.

    This is how NY conservatives have forced ideological discipline on Republican candidates in NY, though it cost them seats like Arcuri's. Health care reform is a central issue to WFP and especially to SEIU and its members. It is also a central issue to the Democratic party and our President, so unlike a Nader challenge this kind of challenge enforces party discipline in states with NY's peculiar party system.


    I love how (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by BDB on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:02:12 PM EST
    progressives and unions are willing to drum up primary challengers for "no" votes on Bob Dole's healthcare plan.  On war funding or TARP or Gitmo or the dismantling of America's public school system, eh?  But this bill - which even supporters admit is more or less awful - is the line that all Democrats must toe.  

    They have their heads so far up their a$$e$ they could nibble on their own lungs.

    Bob Dole is the Father of Modern Progressivism (none / 0) (#44)
    by Dan the Man on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:19:21 PM EST
    Just like Ronald Reagan is the Father of Modern Conservatism.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 10:57:01 AM EST
    They don't mention a primary challenger to Lynch, who is also going to vote no.  Could it be more grandstanding on the part of the SEIU, since Lynch is a former union president?

    What the MA special (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:00:03 AM EST
    election showed is there is a pretty large disconnect between union leadership and rank and file right now on the bill.  A lot of the rank and file oppose the health care bill (rightly, IMO).  So, while a threat from union leadership to withhold financial support for a campaign is always pretty powerful, I'm not sure if it's quite as effective a threat in this particular case.

    From what I saw (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:06:49 AM EST
    And I don't live in MA - there were a lot of people with purple and gold SEIU shirts holding signs for Brown and attending rallies for him.  Were they legit?  I don't know - but it looked bad.

    It was legit (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:42:12 AM EST
    Unions vote for unions, in that context it does not look bad for them.  Besides the fact that MA has healthcare reforms in place now that some residents fear Federal legislation on healthcare reform is going to screw up royally now.  MA wasn't waiting for D.C. to fix their healthcare problems any longer.

    That, or, they saw (none / 0) (#22)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:43:40 AM EST
    how the MA system hasn't been successful, and saw an extension of it on the federal level in the form of the federal bill, and weren't happy.

    This is what MA has (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:49:33 AM EST
    NOW, and they've had for a few years....and they got this without an excise tax.  So why would any MA union member want an excise tax in order for them to have what they already have.  Who would be upset with having this level uninsured and having such a slush fund that paid for the indigent?

    I agree with you on that. (none / 0) (#32)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:56:41 AM EST
    Obviously the excise tax is a big issue for union rank and file.

    I think I was also thinking about the larger issue, though.  The problem with the MA plan in general, which is the same problem as Obama's plan, is that it does not control costs.  Thus, unless you are poor enough to qualify for the subsidies (and even then, the quality of care you will receive will be questionable and will probably decrease over time or drain the budget so much that assistance you receive in other areas will be cut), you are stuck with a system in which cost of health care continues to go up (and/or quality goes down).  While union members are more protected than most from this, they are not completely protected, and know much they could lose if they ever were to lose their hard fought union privileges.


    I think the MA plan (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by CST on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:03:32 PM EST
    is a great example that exchanges do not work at cutting costs.

    I disagree about quality of care though, it's actually fairly standard even on the subsidized plans.  And the subsidies kick in at a fairly high income level.


    Well, perhaps it has to do (none / 0) (#45)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:22:00 PM EST
    with expectations of what the level of quality should be.  I know a lot of doctors in MA who won't even treat medicaid patients because the payments they get are so low (that's partly out of greed of course, but on the other hand doctors, like everyone else, have to earn a living).

    And they wanted Brown in (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:01:08 PM EST
    because he was going to control costs?  Yeah he was, he wasn't going to make things worse for them.  Everyone is going to be poor enough for the subsidies very soon.....and before you know it we will all be on some sort of "government plan" :)

    Well, I think a lot of it (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by dk on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:05:55 PM EST
    was more anti-health care bill rather than pro-Brown.  Brown was a virtual unknown, so it's not like people really knew where he stood on things other than that he opposed the health care bill.

    In other words, it's not that MA suddenly became a Republican state.  It's that MA voters were p*ssed off enough at this health care bill (and the national Democratic party's track record over the past year on the economy in general) to give the party the finger.


    On that I think you are correct (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:10:08 PM EST
    Obama doesn't provide any way to deal with the insurance companies on what they charge or what they will cover.  MA were the first Americans allowed to show Congress and the President exactly what they thought of the B.S. going down, and they did.  And as usual Congress and the President pretended to "misread" that statement that was made :)

    There is no system in which (none / 0) (#54)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:49:52 PM EST
    the cost of Healthcare is not rapidly increasing- its why NICE is coming under ever more fire in Britain, why Canada has recently started allowing people to buy healthcare outside of the que, etc.- Rising cost is a reality.

    probably (none / 0) (#12)
    by CST on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:35:19 AM EST
    legit.  No reason to believe they weren't.

    from what I remember (none / 0) (#10)
    by CST on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:34:43 AM EST
    about the MA election, even the Union leadership was pretty ticked off about the bill.  Don't get me wrong, they were still firmly in the Coakley camp, but they were NOT happy about it.  It makes it a lot harder to round up the troops when you can't really get behind someone yourself.

    Could they round them up (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:37:53 AM EST
    for a primary challenger?

    probably not (none / 0) (#26)
    by CST on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:46:49 AM EST
    Lynch has no challenger as of right now.  And he probably won't unless this vote inspires someone to think they can take him down.  They probably can't - one annoying thing about MA is that we almost never kick out incumbents.

    I think this may be the opening salvo (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:23:47 AM EST
    of the third way this election.  and while I agree with you about Naderism it hard for me to make the case against what they are doing.

    I think the indies are coming.

    I don't think it will be this cycle (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:38:44 AM EST
    I think the two parties may have a cycle or two to either a) do something bold or meaningful for the majority of the country or b) be exposed as out of touch and ineffectual tools.

    It's sad the Democrats are blowing their shot. The health care bill would have been a great opportunity for them to show they understand Americans wants and needs.


    you could be right (none / 0) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:44:53 AM EST
    I have not seen as many as I expected.
    I sure think there will be by 12 though.
    I think we may see the first serious third party presidential run in a long time.

    think Bayh and corporations now allowed to spend anything.


    I see it (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:04:14 PM EST
    coming in 2012 with this fall being just the beginning. It's not just the D's that have a problem with this, the GOP does too as evidenced by what happened in 2008.

    Both parties have played their bases (none / 0) (#41)
    by cawaltz on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:11:10 PM EST
    for fools and figured they'd get away with it ad nauseaum. Indies are at 40%. I think the numbers need to be a higher percent to achieve success as a threat to the legacy parties. Particularly since as you pointed out that 40% comprises two very different ideologies.

    Isn't this sort of weird (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:24:14 AM EST
    Was this part of the deal they cut?  That they would be the fall guy pit bulls for anyone who now won't vote for the existing legislation?

    as you say they represent the little guy (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:29:20 AM EST
    is it possible the believe this bill is good for their members?

    hard to imagine I guess but I think it should be considered.


    Then they are afraid? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:33:59 AM EST
    They are afraid if this doesn't go through exactly what is going to happen to them that is REALLY BAD?  If this doesn't go through will it boomerang immediately into an excise tax and that legislation will then pass immediately?  Did I miss something vital as to why they would go to these lengths? Doesn't make sense to me, and I don't want to sit here and reason it out and end up making my own facts....because then I'll write up nonsense out of my own head :)

    Bargaining power going forward (none / 0) (#66)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:53:25 PM EST
    After proving they're willing to dump Arcuri on this bill, no-one will call to find out if they're bluffing when card-check reaches the floor.

    I don't know Ben (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 02:06:54 PM EST
    There is a big audience watching, maybe so....I would have found something more specific though...an issue directly related to labor.  And then I would have keyed in on that.  They haven't presented such a distinct issue.  They got concessions on this legislation and now this literally reminds me of watching the K-9 soldiers on post turn loose one of their dogs on the padded guy.  They seem to have the same sense of service to self as the dog (none)and Arcuri isn't padded.