Card Check Delusions


Around the internets some are taking issue with my assertion that a year ago some sort of HCR seemed inevitable. Perhaps it was just irrational exuberance at the time, but certainly everyone I talked to, from congressional staffers to people working for HCAN, seemed to think it was basically inevitable, the only question being how good it would be, specifically whether or not there would be a public option. At the time, such irrational exuberance also led people to think that we had a good chance of decent climate change legislation and EFCA. Obama was very popular at the time, and one assumed that popularity could translate into some quick results.

This is a little off topic at the moment, but it brings up something I’ve long been curious about. When Atrios says “EFCA,” I assume that he, like everyone else, means “EFCA with card check.” (Background here if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) That was always the holy grail for the labor movement, after all. And it’s true that a fair number of people were optimistic about passing this.

But where did that optimism come from? I’m in favor of card check myself, but that never blinded me to the fact that there was never anything close to 60 votes for it in the Senate. As near as I could tell, it was a pipe dream. But maybe I missed something. Can anyone tell me just why anyone thought EFCA was ever likely to pass?

(As for climate change, that was always going to be a harder sell than healthcare reform. It’s all spinach and no dessert. Still, at least it had — and still has — a small chance of passage in some form or another.)


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