AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is giving a speech to the Alaska AFL-CIO in Anchorage today, and he's got some strong words about the state's former governor in his prepared speech:
What is this crazy magnet that's pulling people to the right? I mean, look at your former governor....Who is she, anyway?Sarah Palin?She used to have a job, your governor.... You knew her.... Or thought you did.... I know I thought I did. She seemed like a decent person, an outdoorswoman. Her husband's a steelworker. She seemed to take some OK stands for working families.And then things got weird. After she tied herself to John McCain and they lost, she blew off Alaska. I guess she figured she'd trade up...shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight.I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house.I think Sarah Palin quit so she wouldn't have to be accountable... so she wouldn't have a record that could be scrutinized...Instead, she's hanging out on cable TV, almost a parody of herself, coming out with conspiracy theories about Obama and his "death panels...."Talking about "the real America." Talking about building schools in "our neighboring country of Afghanistan." Writing speech notes to herself on her hands.Sometimes - about Sarah Palin - you just have to laugh.... But it's not really funny. In this charged political environment, her kind of talk gets dangerous. "Don't retreat... reload" may seem clever, the kind of bull you hear all the time, but put it in context. She's using crosshairs to illustrate targeted legislators. She's on the wrong side of the line there. She's getting close to calling for violence. And some of her fans take that stuff seriously. We've got legislators in America who have been living with death threats since the health care votes.And down in Tyler, Texas, she's talking about--and I quote-- "union thugs."What? Her husband's a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are.Oh, she goes to great pains to talk differently about unions and the working people who belong to them, knowing full well we're one and the same.But using the term "union thug." That's poisonous. There's history behind that rhetoric.That's how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers....To me, it just doesn't seem OK to go where she's going.... It sits wrong with me.... The Mama Grizzlies, Sarah Palin says, just sense when something's not right. Well... I wonder if those Mama Grizzlies can sense something's just not right with her.Quite frankly, America works because lots of people contribute lots of ideas--that's good--even when some of them are just plain wrong. But people need to come to the table in good faith. That's not Sarah Palin.She'll go down in history like McCarthy. Palinism will become an uglyword.Who is this woman, anyway? What happened to her?
Palin, meanwhile, holds a curious relationship with the labor movement. Todd Palin worked as a union member before resigning from his oil-company job in October 2009, and in a recent Facebook note responding to President Obama's speech to the AFL-CIO this month, Sarah Palin mentioned "our good union brothers and sisters" in the same breath as "union bosses" and "hard working Americans who happen to be union members."