be his support for free trade. The very issue that has driven labor and the environmentalists together may be the wedge that drives the Democratic Party apart. In the aftermath of the House China trade vote, both the U.A.W. and the Teamsters flirted with an endorsement of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. \(The U.A.W. has since come out for Free trade was officially off the table at the convention, yet the presence of thousands of protestors the largest contingent organized by anti-W.T.O. outfits like Global Exchange and Public Citizen made the subject difficult to ignore. “Let us not forget that we [progressives] are on the popular side on globalization,” Barney Frank reminded the Tuesday afternoon gathering, citing statistics that show a majority of Americans oppose free trade with China. That is the New Democrats’ weakness, according to Borosage, who refers to them as the party’s “corporate caucus.” “They don’t have a base in the party,” he said. “They’ve always been brilliant at spinning, very brilliant at fundraising but everything else is smoke and mirrors.” There may not be a solid constituency clamoring for free trade and deficit reduction, but the New Democrats have money, and money talks. Since 1996, two-thirds of Democrats elected to the House have joined the New Democrat Coalition. “We are building support in the business sector,” he said. And how. In just two election cycles, their PAC has raised almost $7 million; their goal for this year is $5.5 million. In the buildup to the China trade vote, as organized labor called in all its chips, the N.D.N. held a series of pro-trade fundraisers, raising $275,000 for New Democrats, just to demonstrate that fundraising would not be impossible after the knife was stuck in labor’s back. They have particularly reached out to the tech industry, hosting an annual retreat in California where industry C.E.O.s from biotech to microchips can meet with members of Congress, as well as sympathetic state and local leaders, for four days of face time. While Dooley and company held court in the belly of the Staples bunker, relegated to the relatively unprotected downtown Hyatt Regency were representativeg of the “traditional constituencies,” who met at a Tuesday afternoon forum convened by the Campaign for America’s Future, a progressive organization headed by liberal intellectual Robert Borosage. Despite Cal Dooley’s affirmations, some of those present were looking pretty alienated. Gore’s choice of Lieberman had not helped matters. By Tuesday, a mini-revolt led by South-Central L.A. Congresswoman Maxine Waters was in progress within the African-American Caucus, which voiced “uneasiness” with Senator Lieberman’s previous posievent as scripted as a twenty-first century national political convention, success is measured by how little “off-message” news is generated in the daily papers. This type of open dissension, mild though it may be, is considered a failure. Such uneasiness was not confined to the African-American Caucus. Addressing Tuesday’s panel \(composed of liberal congressional leaders Barney Frank and Jesse Jackson, Jr. on one side of Borosage, and the national presidents of the something member of the Screen Actors Guild nearly broke down during the Q&A, begging someone to tell him why he should remain in a party that had done so little to support his fellow union members. After a strained pause, Steelworker President Walter Becker said he sympathized. “I’ll tell you what we’ve done. In 1992 we gave five million [in Democratic campaign contributions] and we got NAFTA,” Becker said. “We know our money was used by the D.N.C. to go to people who didn’t support us. So we’ve cut off the money no more soft money,” he said. It was an unusual applause line in a crowd of Democratic delegates, but there was scattered clapping. In the current boom, Becker pointed out, every sector is expanding except manufacturing. Despite the oft-repeated mantra at the convention 22 million new jobs in eight years there were 336,000 manufacturing jobs lost in 1998, and the Department of Labor conservatively projects that 400,000 more will be lost per year for the foreseeable future. Most will be replaced by non-union, low-wage service industry jobs. It’s a crisis that is ignored by both parties, Becker said. Many of those jobs have gone south of the border thanks to NAP 1A, and many more will go to China, if Permanent Normal Trade Relations passes the Senate. “These are the kind of jobs, you can buy a home, a car, educate your children, and support the tax-base in the community. You never had to talk about social security at risk when you were protecting the middle class. We are undermining fifty years of social progress,” Becker said. Clinton’s most enduring legacy may ultimately SEPTEMBER 8, 2000 erhaps the only protestor to make it through Riordan’s in credible display of police power to actually engage in a dialogue with delegates was Lydia Lester, a guest of Borosage on Tuesday’s panel. Lester, a college student active in A State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos and Texas Democratic Party Chair Molly Beth Malcolm THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9
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