George McGovern

George McGovern

In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern published a fretful op-ed against the Employee Free Choice Act, extolling the ‘his’ Democratic Party to "respect" the current system to form unions.  The claims made by McGovern in the op-ed are the exact same as those made by corporate-funded front groups opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act.

The op-ed surprised some on the left, and conservatives and business groups seized the piece as supposed evidence of a split in the party on this key piece of legislation.  After all, as the former standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, doesn’t McGovern speak for Democrats?

Well, in case you were wondering why McGovern decided to go off the deep end on the Employee Free Choice Act, it turns out he’s already been swimming in it for some time.

It’s safe to say George McGovern is a patsy for anti-union lobbyist Rick Berman, the leader of a $30 million front group interfering in key Senate and House races this cycle.

McGovern sits on the board of FirstJobs, another pro-business Berman front group, alongside the likes of Bush Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, the editorial page director of the Washington Times, and the head of Sam’s Club.

And in 2006, around when Berman started his "Center for Union Facts," McGovern took to the LA Times op-ed page to bash both unions and the multiple anti-Wal-Mart intiatives in full swing at the time.  McGovern claimed at the time that paying Wal-Mart workers more would "eliminate jobs," but that the fairness of doing so "is a debate for another time." 

The current frenzy over Wal-Mart is instructive. Its size is unprecedented. Yet for all its billions in profit, it still amounts to less than four cents on the dollar. Raise the cost of employing people, and the company will eliminate jobs. Its business model only works on low prices, which require low labor costs. Whether that is fair or not is a debate for another time. It is instructive, however, that consumers continue to enjoy these low prices and that thousands of applicants continue to apply for those jobs. [...]

Liberals must never abandon their core principles of justice and equality. But union leaders who still see American businesses as the enemy must update that vision.

At what point do we cast off McGovern as representative of any current Democratic Party principles?  He’s just rolling around in corporate cash and happy to sully his name in the process.  Most Democrats in office support the Employee Free Choice Act, so McGovern is the one who’s out of step.  It’s he who no longer represents what even moderate Democrats believe and it’s time for him to stop trading on what he was yesterday, for cash today.