Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caveat Lectores on Political Reality

It’s raining outside. We could not go to Rock by the Sea on St. George Island, and I am listening to NC style oldies R&R music. Why am I in such a mood to Rant?

The Rant earlier today got me worked up about external union politics. So, here is some more. Surely, my off the wall opinions will irritate someone. They must be off the wall because so many unions approach politics so differently than I suggest.

• Stop being so open and obvious about political involvement. The only people who need to know who you are… are on the inside. The outsiders do not matter, and they will be the source of trouble. Publicity makes you a target. Media hype needs to be about what you do for the public not the politicians.
• Learn how to lobby elected officials. Good lobbyists are effective and not all that well known to the public.
• Keep your name out of the news unless it is something that will help the members. Don’t try to be a rock star. Become invisible except to those who matter. Now is not a good time to be perceived as militant.
• Keep the union out of the news. The public does not care about what happens in a local union unless it is controversial. Now is not a good time to be perceived as anything other than by the book.
• Find valuable ways to help those you support. Money is important but so is real assistance in getting elected. You must spend money, but you do not have enough of it to get as close as you need to be. Sweat hours are the best way to get close to a local candidate. Make them know your name, not just your signature on a check.
• Quit making flashy endorsements. The public usually does not care whom you support and may not approve of the reason why.
• Stop trying to become kingmakers. The politicians will use your good name only so long as it benefits them.
• Start making better decisions about whom to support. Become more pragmatic and not so idealistic that you encourage political failure.
• Stop applying a quid pro quo scrutiny to how those you supported perform.
• Organize and energize the members to become a part of the process. You need the whole band not just a combo.

Maybe there are a couple of more things that need addressing, but this is a start.

And Oh yes, have a nice Day?

wjc
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