We might just have discovered why Andy Stern is resigning as president of the SIEU. Today’s story in The Washington Post says that in Raleigh, N.C. frustrated liberals and labor organizers are taking aim at three Democratic congressmen and are trying to gather enough signatures to start a third party.  They are justifiably pissed off. The North Carolina congressmen (Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre) all sided with Republicans against the health-care bill. McIntyre even wants to repeal it. With Dems like these, who needs enemies? And here’s where Andy Stern comes in.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), probably the nation’s most politically powerful labor union, and its subsidiary (State Employees Association of North Carolina or SEANC), are funding the effort to start a third party, North Carolina First, which they announced on April 8. The news that Stern will step down was announced on April 14th.

“Our whole agenda is to turn that apple cart around and say, ‘No more are we going to blindly support you because you’re a Democrat,’ ” said Dana S. Cope, executive director of the 55,000-member SEANC, which is leading the effort.”We’re going to support you because you’re right on the issues and if you’re not right on the issues, we’re going to remove you from office.”

Chuck Stone, a longtime SEANC leader who is chairman of North Carolina First, asked: “Does it really matter if you put a Democratic label or a Republican label on them when they go up there and support big companies and big insurance?”

Andy Stern says this is a top priority and considers it a way to hold Democratic lawmakers accountable for their health care votes. “It’s not a fly-by-night kind of thing,” said an SEIU spokesperson. “We’re making a very strong commitment to doing this. There is significant money behind it . . . There’s not a ceiling to what we’re willing to do.”

I have a hard time arguing with their frustration and anger, but this is not the way. Or is it? We have seen how much press the Tea Party has gotten– way out of proportion to their numbers . More important, they have swayed Republican lawmakers and even moved some so-called Democrats to the Right. In short, while they have yet to elect anyone but Scott Brown, they have become a force to be reckoned with—or at least it seems so far.

We don’t know how or if the Tea Baggers will influence the upcoming elections, but I cannot deny that they have made an impact. They have Republicans running scared, and running so far out there as to become unrecognizable as sentient beings. Who is to say it does not behoove those of us on the Left to form a counter-force? And I am not just recommending a force that is anti-Tea Party, but an actual political group, with its own platform.

But here’s where the Tea Baggers (or should I say FreedomWorks and Koch) are smart: They are running their candidates –up until now as Republicans—in primaries. That’s how to get in the game. Not by becoming a third Party.

I have been hoping that the Tea Party would form a third Party because I know what that will do in November—bleed votes from Republicans. The same would be true if the Left ran third Party candidates. But perhaps this threat of a third Party is just a way to get some attention, while the real goal is to move the Democratic Party back to Center-Left. That is something I want to see happen. We do not really have a huge Democratic majority, what with all the DLC and Blue Dog Democrats. Yeah, I know—big tent/big shment. But there is a point when the tent becomes so big as to lose one’s identity as a Democratic tent.

“Health reform legislation is the most important piece of legislation for the past 40 years, and when you are asked as a member of Congress to vote on something that critical and you pick little teeny excuses, that’s cowardly,” said Greg Rideout, spokesman for North Carolina First. “It’s time for us to create a third way.”

There is no way a Congressperson can call themselves a Democrat and vote against the central piece of Democratic legislation in generations—and a moderate one to boot. There must be a way to single those DINO’s out and to vote them out. Running a third party candidate is not the way. But threatening to do that just might be.

One last note: If you are interested in learning why Teddy Roosevelt was the ONLY candidate to win the Presidency in a third Party, you can read it here.

What was his platform?

“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” – 1912 Progressive Party Platform.

Teddy Roosevelt  connected trusts and monopolies  to Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft, and consequently to Republicans and Democrats. Sounds familiar.

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WLA
Member

Heath Schuler was a shitty quarterback too. I’m just sayin’.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Ain’t that the truth.

Pepe Lepew
Member

He was a HORRIBLE quarterback.

To quote Leonard Pinth Garnell, well, he was just … bad.

Kalima
Admin

I’m all set to vote in the U.K. May elections this year. Labour is dull and boring, the Tories are full of bs and helping their rich friends, the Liberal Dems are full of it, but full of what?

There will never be a break away party to satisfy any of us either local or abroad, we demand too much. Do we chose our life long partners on the colour of their hair or the choice of their music, no, we chose them because of their similarities and differences to us. The way I view politic now, a third party is not the answer for me right now but I intend to vote.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I understand people’s frustrations with conservadems because I’m just as frustrated with them. But c’mon ZERO Republicans voted for HCR and to weaken the Democratic coalition more is just empowering the GOP. That being said I think third parties should focus on the local level. However believe me don’t have the delusion that more progressive candidates could win in the districts Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre occupy. Further left leaning third parties will only pick off the most liberal districts.

My constant argument is that our legislator represents the political mood in this center right country until that political center changes. If you want to know what a center left country looks like then go no further than looking at British politics. They have three parties the Tories (right), Labour (center left) and Liberal Democrats (left) which are all polling around 30% now. Meanwhile back in the Ole USA the GOP is polling slightly ahead of the Dems.

dildenusa
Member

Our political leaders in Washington were caught napping while the Earth under them rumbled and trembled and they found themselves buried under an avalanche of anger across the entire political landscape. The Democratic representatives from center right districts who voted against health care reform for their own self preservation will probably get a kick in the butt anyway this November. I think they should have taken a GPS class before the vote on health care.

Teddy Roosevelt was a true conservationist. Even though he was an avid sport hunter he came to understand that the natural world wasn’t something to exploit for short term economic gain, and that stewardship while noble still falls short.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I think they would get their butts kicked either way which makes their cynical votes even more troubling.

nellie
Member

Very nice article, Cher.

I’m all for third parties as long as we have Instant Runoff Voting to ensure a reasonable election outcome. I wish SEIU would work on that aspect as well. The candidate is only part of the story. The election process plays a big part in the outcome.

SueInCa
Member

I think runoff voting would solve alot of problems for voters today. You could pick your 1, 2nd and 3rd choices and your vote is obviously going to go to one you endorse. Even though none of them may be in the final running, you still would know you had your own free choice. The idea of two candidates I think is becoming outdated.