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Sarah Palin Tries To Convert Union Members: Your Bosses 'Have Acted Like Thugs'

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/27/10 11:47 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:30 PM ET

Richard Trumka Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin continued a bristly squabble with AFL-CIO President Richard Thursday, defending her record with unions, bashing union bosses who she said "have acted like thugs," and encouraging members to join her "populist" movement.

In a Facebook post Thursday evening, Palin wrote of Trumka:

Trumka's even worried I'm going to get violent against him. It's kind of ironic that a union boss has the gall to accuse anyone of threatening violence. After all, we remember the violent attempts by SEIU to intimidate those who wanted to make their voices heard in last year's town halls. And unlike Trumka, I never threatened that any effort to break a picket line would lead to violence. Come to think of it, neither did I ever hide behind the Fifth Amendment during a federal investigation about union corruption. Then again, I was just an ordinary, card-carrying union member, not one of the big shots who ended up, unfortunately, giving unions a bad name.


[...]

Trumka purposely misquoted something I said in a speech I gave in Texas a few months ago. Let me clarify things for him: I never called union members "thugs." You lie. I called some union leaders "thugs." And I refuse to apologize for that because they have acted like thugs - at least in this day and age.

Palin later made a plea in an apparent attempt to convert members of labor unions to her cause:

To my hardworking, patriotic brothers and sisters in the labor movement: you don't have to put up with the scare tactics and the big government agenda of the union bosses. There is a different home for you: the commonsense conservative movement. It cares about the same things you and I care about: a government that doesn't spend beyond its means, an economy focused on creating good jobs with good wages, and a leadership that is proud of America's achievements and doesn't go around apologizing to everyone for who we are.


This November, you have a choice. You can go with the flow and merely pull the lever the way they tell you to. Or you can join millions of others, and take a stand for freedom and independence and dignity, while still being part of a greater working community.

Earlier Thursday, Trumka delivered a speech to the Alaskan chapter of the AFL-CIO, directed at Palin and supposedly "poisonous" and borderline violent use of terms such as "union thug" that he said were meant to disparage the group's members and incite their opponents.

Palin, Trumka also said will "go down in history like McCarthy," referring to the former Wisconsin Senator known for his rabid anti-communist crusade in the 1950s. The rest of Trumka's remarks can be seen below.

Sarah Palin jumped on the planned statements Thursday, before the AFL-CIO chief took to the stage, however, tweeting in two separate messages:

Know our hardworking union friends (esp from my days as an IBEW sister, Todd IBEW & USW brother) aren't sheep, they'll ask: Trumka's motive?


Think Trumka's frustrations r w/Obama, not me (high unemplymnt, deals w/Obama&his subsequent broken promises)so understandable Rich's ticked

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale quickly shot back, accusing Palin of trying to manipulate Trumka's message and make excuses for abandoning the governorship

"Basically, she's having a temper tantrum, putting her hands over her ears and yelling 'la la la la la, I can't hear you,' " Vale said, according to The Hill. "Because if she had actually read the speech the motivation and message are crystal clear. She left working families in Alaska behind when she tried to trade up to Fox News and the Tea Party. We understand that she wants to keep up her faux populism and image as caring about ordinary people but her actions, policies and candidates she supports speak way louder than her tweets."

Read Trumka's remarks from Thursday:

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 ugly word.

Who is this woman, anyway? What happened to her?


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