I was running through the news this afternoon, just wondering what it was that I was going to write a short article about. Tons of topics available, but most of them were going to take more time than I had available to work on an article. I saw a particular story and chuckled to myself that what I read wasn’t really “news” so much as it was “business as usual.” The article was chronicling the news that, and I know this will stun many of you into wandering the streets and muttering “there’s no place like home”, the nation’s largest teacher’s union has officially endorsed Barack Obama in his bid for President in 2012. First, isn’t it a little early to be endorsing a candidate? And second, does an endorsement actually mean anything anymore?
Let’s face it. A union endorsing the King of the Union Kiss Asses isn’t really news, is it? I mean, couldn’t the NEA just go ahead and announce that, going forward, they will officially endorse every Democrat running for President for the next several elections? And when it comes to kissing union ass, not only do Democrats do it well, but Barack Obama is the absolute best at feeding the union the lines they want to hear. Then again, Obama is the best at feeding just about everyone the lines they want to hear, which has led to several here at SUFA and also at the national level claiming that this President is the biggest liar we have had in office to date. That happens to be a statement that I agree with, for the record, although I am sure that it is because deep in my psychi, I am still unable to accept a black man as the President (because let’s face it if you are white in America, you are either overtly racist, or you are a racist deep inside in parts of you that you don’t want to admit to, but there are no non-racist white people, just ask the NAACP).
I was well aware that the NEA, which is based in, wait for it….. Chicago (I know, shocking, right? ) would be endorsing Obama long before this announcement. But doesn’t an announcement this early really tip their hand in a way that was perhaps foolish and certainly limited the credibility of the endorsement? We are still a year and a half away from the election. We are still a year away from the convention that will reveal the GOP nominee! The NEA doesn’t have any idea who the GOP candidate will be and they certainly don’t have any idea what the position of that candidate will be on the issues that may be important to the NEA union members. How can the NEA say that Obama is the best candidate when they don’t even know who the other candidate might be?
But doesn’t this really point out one of the ridiculous premises of the overwhelmingly ridiculous political spectrum in a poignant way? For the most part, don’t we already know that each group is going to endorse whatever candidate represents a specific party regardless of anything else? Is the Christian establishment going to suddenly endorse a Democrat for President? I think not. And the unions will endorse the Democrats. It just is what it is.
But it begs the question: Does a political endorsement these days have any purpose? I know that it used to. There was a time when that endorsement made the difference between winning and losing. But it seems that today, the only thing that an endorsement means is that there is yet another group of people who you owe a favor to. Because that’s how endorsements work in today’s political world. They are not earned based on your positions. They are bought based on what you have to offer for that particular group. In other words, politicians are bribing the political groups, or conversely, political groups are blackmailing the politicians. Either way, it isn’t what the average American thinks that it is.
And for the most part, aren’t any of the people who may choose to vote for a candidate based on the recommendation of a group they are affiliated with already going to vote for that candidate because they share the ideals and beliefs of the group? Realistically, aren’t the majority of teachers in the NEA going to vote for Obama regardless of whether the NEA endorses him? And realistically, do you believe that any of the teachers in the NEA who wouldn’t vote for Obama are going to change their vote because of this endorsement?
This isn’t the past, where the average voter not only didn’t know a lot about the candidates, but they would struggle to even find the information that they are looking for. Today, everyone has access to the internet. Information about a candidate is right at the fingertips of anyone who wants to search for it. So is anyone really relying on the endorsement of the NEA to help them make the choice? And as mentioned above, if someone was relying on the NEA to help them decide, doesn’t declaring your allegiance a year before you know the name or political positions of the opposition clearly state that it is an agenda driven decision rather than a thought out endorsement of the candidate most in line with the beliefs of the membership?
So I ask the readers at SUFA to offer up their thoughts. Do political endorsements from these big groups mean anything? Do you think that there is anyone out there making their choice for the Presidency based on the endorsement of their union or the National Christian Association? If you do think there are some out there making their decisions this way, do you think that the numbers are substantial enough to warrant candidates actually courting the big groups? Or has the time come, much like the unions themselves, where endorsements should go the way of the do-do?