LaborFest 2014 (Update!)

The President is coming! The President is coming! I had planned to meet a girlfriend downtown on Labor Day – guess we’d best stay out in the suburbs. Nothing like a Presidential entourage to mess with getting to one’s favorite restaurant. (BTW, Honeypie Cafe in Bay View is my new favorite restaurant. Do yourself a favor and try to go some day other than Labor Day.)

What a difference a year makes. Last year Milwaukee Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO) canceled the event. The organization was rearranging leadership following a steep drop in membership numbers in Wisconsin after the implementation of Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 legislation.

The President was last here for LaborFest in 2010. I took a minute to rethink that year. Act 10 wasn’t even a twinkle in Wisconsin’s eye yet. In fact, Tom Barrett was planning to win for Democrats in this state as the 2010 gubernatorial race was heating up.

Another race of importance was Feingold v. Johnson. Remember Feingold losing that incumbency? I certainly do. And the writing must have been on the labor wall in 2010 because Feingold wouldn’t campaign with Obama. There’s a reason. Look at the polling numbers post Obama’s visit that year:

Here’s a quick catch from the President’s 2010 remarks.

And I want everybody to give it up for people who are at the forefront of every fight for Wisconsin’s working men and women — Senator Herb Kohl; Congresswoman Gwen Moore. (Applause.) Your outstanding mayor and I believe soon to be outstanding governor Tom Barrett is in the house. (Applause.) And I know — I know your other great senator, Russ Feingold, was here earlier standing with you and your families just like he always has. Now he’s in his hometown of Janesville to participate in their Labor Day parade.

A couple of months later, President Obama repeatedly used the word “shellacking” to describe Dem losses in the 2010 midterm elections. It was ugly. (Or beautiful. After all, political results are in the eye of the engaged voter.)

Why the brief history lesson? To let you know that other than interrupting my restaurant plans, I’m fine with President Obama coming to town. Let him hang out on stage with Mary Burke. Remind Wisconsin voters that a Burke vote is an organized labor vote, even if her family’s business Trek Bicycle is fond of shunning unions and sending to China for labor.

It makes for a great photo op, don’t you think?

—Hey. I’m well aware no one reads me, but I can’t help but gloat a bit that Burke won’t be seen with POTUS.

Yesterday’s report said she would.

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