Monday, June 16, 2008

Edwize Tries Smoke and Mirrors - Update

Edwize commenter JW raises questions about the rush to judgement on the part of the UFT to endorse Hillary. Note the disingenuous answer from Leo Casey.

See Leo run.

See Leo try to convince JW that the UFT couldn't discuss or vote on the primary because the AFT endorsed Clinton. As if the UFT must follow AFT policy, not the other way around. [Check our previous post "The Unity Caucus Tail Wags the AFT Dog".]

See Leo ignore the fact that the Chicago Teachers Union did endorse Obama. Oh, yeah, the UFT has an excuse for that - "we gave them permission" said Randi at a meeting because of Obama's favorite son status. Hillary had plenty of roots in Chicago too.

JW asks for the by-law that proves Casey's contention.

Suddenly, the thread ends.

Was anyone out there polled by the AFT as Leo contends? Gee, it's hard to believe Leo would actually out and out lie, so there must be a poll lurking somewhere. Maybe in a vault. Or in Warsaw.

I never read the Edwize unless someone is inserting burning splinters under my fingernails. In the comments on this post, Unity slugs Bill Stamatis and Casey wax unpoetic in praise of Hillary Clinton on education. I mean, hey, just check out what she says for public consumption on her web site and ignore her entire history of ed "reform" from Arkansas through NCLB and beyond – Lock step with the UFT which has done so well by NYC teachers. Ahh let's forget the days when Hillary defended retesting of veteran teachers or the Clintons laid out the basis of a lot of today's phony ed reform movement.

So, why did the UFT rush to Hillary? Tell me again, I forgot. - JW

Stamatis points to Clinton’s web site - and blah, blah, blah

JW comes back with:
Whether Hillary or Obama had the better ed platform this primary season matters less to me than the UFT making an endorsement without polling the membership. I’ll vote for any Democrat in the general election, of course, and the UFT could have done the same: endorse the Democratic choice, whichever candidate the party would eventually put forward by the end of the primary season. I don’t think they had to endorse one of the two candidates specifically. So, my question still holds. Why did the UFT think it was necessary to jump in on Hillary, especially without asking members which way they were leaning?

Now watch Leo "Obfuscate" Casey in action:
Your information is incorrect. First, in a national election, the endorsement is made by the national union, the AFT. [Like somehow the AFT is not run by the UFT.]

The AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton, and the UFT’s participation in the primary elections was based on that national endorsement. That is how we have always done national endorsements.

Secondly, the AFT commissioned extensive, scientific polling of the membership, and the decision to endorse was taken with the results of those polls in hand. The national membership supported the endorsement of Hillary over Obama by better than 2 to 1 and over Edwards by better than 3 to 1. In New York, those numbers were even more in favor of Hillary.

JW comes back with:
If endorsement by the national union is the way it’s always been done, is this procedure codified in the by-laws that it has to be done that way? If so, I’d like to know where I can see this text. Failing codification, it’s a question of custom, which doesn’t mean it’s actually the right way, or the most democratic way to endorse a candidate, or even that it should be continued to be done this way. As to the “extensive, scientific polling of the membership” done by the AFT : Neither I nor anyone I know in the most recent primary season or in any other primary season as long as I’ve been a teacher has ever been polled by the AFT. How scientific or extensive could it be? And what does that mean anyway? I’ve read that the UFT and AFT had ties with Clintons as far back as the 80s. Obviously, Weingarten had every intention to honor that bond, and maybe even to gain from the endorsement personally. It was not in her interest or anyone else’s at the national level to find out who the members really wanted, whether Obama, Clinton, Edwards or any of the others. The UFT is the largest member of the AFT, and I can’t imagine the AFT acting contrary to the wishes of the UFT. What the UFT says is the way the AFT goes, it seems to me, and not the other way around. The “scientific” polls could well have been manufactured, for all we’ve been told about them. On ed issues, I’m not a rabid Obama fan. I just believe this is all political and who the membership wants to endorse has little do with anything. If you stand by those “scientific” polls, then I’d like to know I can get a hold of the questions, the names of the participating locals, the percentages of members polled, and similar kinds of information.


  1. I'm kind of interested in how those scientific polls work. I wasn't polled, and I don't know anyone who was. As for the endorsement, it was indeed confusing. Someone from the UFT called me and said the UFT had endorsed Clinton. I said that couldn't possibly be true, as I read something Leo Casey the UFT did not make endorsements, and that only the AFT did. But she insisted.

    I guess she doesn't read Edwize either. Though it may have been he wrote it as a comment at PREA Prez. I can't really remember.

    The UFT did endorse Serphin Maltese, though, several times I believe. Maltese is a GOP politician who worked to successfully break two Catholic school teacher unions.

    No wonder Rod Paige adores Ms. Weingarten so.

  2. I strongly object of your portrayal of Unity hack Leo Casey. Just because he always gives us half-truths, omissions, and outright lies that doesn't mean you can question his articles.

    I also object to Norm's use of big words like obfuscate when describing Leo's motives. Leo would never confuse us with big words like that. Why would he do that? Leo's articles are already confusing and unreadable anyway. No need to for him to obfuscate the readers.

    Remember Leo Casey has been known to walk six miles uphill to and from his school in August. Shame on you for questioning the motives of the great Leo Casey.


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