Honestly, I don’t really even care all that much about Jack Lew being tapped for Treasury: I had a pretty target-rich environment already. But who the heck is doing the background checks, over at the White House? – Because they aren’t doing their job properly.
With President Obama poised to tap current chief of staff Jack Lew as his next treasury secretary, Republicans are already attacking Lew for supposed slights during budget talks. Some progressives may bring renewed scrutiny to his time at CitiGroup. But if history is any guide, there will be little talk about another line on Lew’s résumé: The key role he played in New York University’s campaign to rid itself of a graduate student workers’ union.
Lew, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton, joined NYU as chief operating officer and executive vice president in 2004. At the time, NYU was the only private university in the United States whose graduate students had a union contract. By the time Lew left two years later, NYU graduate students had lost their collective bargaining rights. In between, picketers hoisted “Wanted” posters with his face on them.
Now, you’re probably saying that you don’t care that Jack Lew busted a grad student union*; fair enough, it’s not keeping me up nights, either. The question is: shouldn’t the White House taken into account the thought that the Left might care? Apparently not. I actually keep getting surprised at the way that the Obama administration treats its base: if the GOP acted this way towards us, we’d rip it to shreds. Which the GOP knows very well**.
Ach, well, really not my problem. Just one more thing to laugh at about the Left, really. Oops, did I just type that out? My bad.
*You may want to avoid doing that around actual grad students, many of whom are firmly of the opinion, not without cause, that they are treated like animate property by their professors (although that does not quite extend to concubinage, anymore). But that’s another post.
**Possibly too well: I suspect that it’s a little gun-shy right now. But that’s another post, too.