You may have heard about Politico’s gaffe of the year (at least so far), when a reporter confused the Wisconsin state flag, which has the year of the state’s founding, 1848, on it with the flag of the “Wisconsin local 1848″ union. There’s a Google cache of the old story, which was quickly changed.
Brian Beutler reports that this has now become a rallying cry within the labor movement, particularly as they head into recall elections in Wisconsin that could depose Scott Walker and give the state Senate back to Democrats.
“When national news blog Politico came to Milwaukee to cover Pres. Obama’s visit, they incorrectly identified the Wisconsin flag as the “flag for the local union, Wisconsin 1848.” Many people got a chuckle at the embarrassing mistake, but we think it really represents something larger,” reads a new AFSCME petition. “So let’s say it loud and say it proud! Join as a charter member of “Wisconsin Local 1848” today. We’ll share up-to-the-minute information on statewide issues that affect us all.”
And there’s a t-shirt to go along with it.
Points for creativity.
The labor movement has returned to the Democratic fold in many respects, but at least in Wisconsin, labor is driving the boat, with the politicians taking their cues from them, rather than the other way around. As we witnessed last year with the Wisconsin uprising, there was a synergy between party activities and the goals of the broader labor movement that made some sense, where it perhaps wouldn’t in other contexts (at the federal level, for example, Democrats just negotiated an FAA reauthorization bill that chipped away at labor rights, and they passed a payroll tax cut bill where practically the only group asked to pay for the measure were federal employees). In Wisconsin, at least, the success of labor and the success of the Democratic Party are mostly aligned.
Meanwhile, you have billionaire David Koch stating plainly that he will help Scott Walker in the upcoming recall, adding that “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.” So obviously the labor/youth/progressive/party synergy in Wisconsin is necessary to fight what will be just a flood of money on the other side.