The AFL-CIO is once again playing the role of campaign aggressor in the lead-up to the 2010 midterm elections, sending out more than two million mailers targeting gubernatorial and congressional candidates and prominent political players such as Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Rand Paul.
The group has tailored the mailers for individual races. But the general gist is to attack vulnerable or high-profile Republican candidates for their various takes on economic policy. The mailer being sent throughout Nevada reminds recipients that Republican candidate Angle once said that a senator's business is not job creation.
In terms of salvos fired in this campaign season, the AFL-CIO's heightened initiative is a significant one. The sheer magnitude of the effort suggests a major financial investment. Spokesman Eddie Vale, moreover, relays that the union will be following up each mailer with phone calls and additional fliers.
There is an additional macro element to what the AFL-CIO is doing. While most Democratic candidates find themselves on the defensive, the union federation has chosen a more aggressive posture -- putting to test the theory that an unabashed defense of the legislation passed and unrelenting criticism of the GOP's governing platforms makes for smart politics.
On Monday, for instance, the AFL-CIO's President Richard Trumka is scheduled to speak at the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, during which he will tout the president's stimulus for saving the country from a "full-blown depression" and call out some of the more eccentric Republican Senate candidates for arcane world views:
Tea Party Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who's running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid right here in Nevada, said she thinks unemployment insurance makes laid-off workers soft, spoiled. Just like Social Security and Medicare -- phase it all out, she says.
In Kentucky, Senate candidate and Tea Party darling Rand Paul says mining accidents just happen sometimes. Investigations to prevent them are - quote - just a "blame game" and "un-American."
And look at Sarah Palin and her "union thug" comments. She "does too" like American workers, she says. Only she'd just like us more, if we earned less.
Republicans say they want to protect America, but they don't want to pay for it. They don't want banking rules, only bailouts and tax cuts.
Now that is one ugly vision of America! It is a bleak vision of a weak nation in decline.
Politico's Morning Score, which scored the first look at the AFL-CIO mailers, has a good rundown on the targets.