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Big Ag Plays Hardball, Why Shouldn't Progressives?

The last thing we need in advocating for GMO labeling is the kind of boneheaded advocacy strategy of political softball that several activists were invited to play Wednesday morning.  

We must play hardball. Here is what we are up against: food manufacturers are against GMO labeling and they provide ample funding to Democratic Party leaders like House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who then block the popular progressive legislation.  

DeLeo and the lobbyist donors fully understand the game of political hardball.  DeLeo wants their money and he knows the money is conditioned.

Against this backdrop is a ludicrous game of softball being played by the venerable progressives at MoveOn.org

MoveOn this morning actually asked supporters of the GMO labeling bill to call Speaker DeLeo's office and 'politely' read off the following script:

"Dear Speaker DeLeo:  I know you are not my representative but as the Speaker of the House I hope you will make sure the GMO bill comes up for a vote before you break for the session. We're all counting on you."

Cough.  Cough.

Let us suggest an alternate script more befitting of a political opposition instead. One that attacks the source of Speaker DeLeo's power – the discipline within the ranks of the Democratic Party legislators. Those who unanimously confirmed him in the House Speaker position and who fear challenging him.

My script:

"Dear Speaker DeLeo  (cc State Rep): You are not my representative, but my representative [insert rep name here] voted to confirm you as the Speaker of the House. I want you to allow the GMO bill to come up for a vote before the session breaks. You have blocked a number of good pieces of progressive legislation like the GMO bill [insert as appropriate such as bottle bill, municipal energy bill, single payer health care bill, progressive taxation bill, budget for all bill]. I will hold my representative accountable for his/her votes to confirm you until these undemocratic practices are stopped."

If our legislators are really interested in advancing progressive legislation, which is what they will routinely tell their progressive constituents, why is it that they confirm a speaker whose record over the years is one of thwarting.

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