I spent Friday and Saturday at the state Democratic Convention, whipping my district for Don Berwick’s run for governor. Berwick’s an impressive guy, thoughtful and convincing, and he’s built a remarkable campaign organization.
Late in the day, I was standing in the aisle and an older fellow in a gray IBEW t-shirt stormed up to me, pointed at my Berwick Whip jersey, and said, “Your guy is anti-union! If he gets this, my people are working for the Republicans!”
It turns out he works at Suffolk Downs, which wants a casino, and of course that’s lots of jobs. Berwick’s against casinos; they do bring some jobs but they often blight their surroundings and the impose lots of social costs. And this guy was furious. At me.
Part of the fury, of course, is that he’s strong and bald and has the right accent, and I’m shaggy and still a bit wiry and I don’t. I’m a Barney, and I’m not from ’round here. And the big picture I tried desperately to reach for – the thousands of great, unionized healthcare jobs we could have instead of a few hundred casino workers — wasn’t really going to cut it, because those healthcare workers were going to be in a union but they weren’t going to be in his union, and they weren’t going to be his guys.
I reached for my father-in-law, who worked at Garden State and Bowie and Hialeah. I reached for my grandfather, who worked for Gompers and voted for Debs. He wasn’t having any of it, in spades.
Wish I’d gotten his name. I ought to buy him a beer.