I didn't get around to blogging about this earlier, given the 9/11 anniversary and such, but I was glad to see someone in the mainstream media took notice of the DLC/Labor event last week, highlighting the DLC endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act. David Broder devoted his Sunday column to the event, focusing on Gov. Tom Vilsack's role in making it happen:
When Vilsack became chairman of the DLC last year, it raised eyebrows because unions have been a backbone of his support in Iowa. But he said he wanted to try to heal the breach, and he quickly began a series of private conversations with labor leaders, followed by joint sessions of DLC staffers and union operatives.
The upshot was the news conference, where the DLC formally endorsed a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act that is high on labor's wish list.
Broder is often derided as fatally old-school. But sometimes having a long memory matters. He's right to suggest that this is an event that would have been hard to imagine not that long ago, and that exhibits Democratic unity across a divide that's as important as the more recent fissures over Iraq. As Broder put it in summarizing Vilsack's efforts:
It has a double significance. For Vilsack, a long-shot candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination, it is the strongest proof of his ability to be a successful power broker.
And for the Democrats, it holds important potential. For most of the past decade, the DLC and its adherents have supplied the best policy thinking for the party while the labor movement has supplied most of the grass-roots organization and effort.
For the first time, you can see mind and muscle working together, a healthy development for the Democrats.