AFL-CIO President Will Slam Palin in Union Speech

Posted August 26, 2010 at 5:35pm

Updated: 10:54 p.m.

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, is unloading on Sarah Palin in her own backyard, suggesting that the former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor is crazy, a hypocrite and on the verge of advocating violence.

In an address he is scheduled to deliver Thursday evening in Anchorage to the Alaska AFL-CIO convention, Trumka slams Palin for her incendiary rhetoric, including phrases such as “don’t retreat … reload” and “union thugs.”

“She’s getting close to calling for violence,” he plans to say, according to prepared remarks released by the union. “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.”

Trumka also plans to say that Palin’s use of the term “union thugs” is “poisonous.”

“There’s history behind that rhetoric,” the prepared remarks say. “That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers.”

Palin responded Thursday evening with a note on her Facebook page, saying the reference was to union leaders. “And I refuse to apologize for that because they have acted like thugs — at least in this day and age,” she wrote.

The union leader’s speech also mocks Palin for quitting her job as governor after campaigning on a platform of appealing to working families. It says Palin “blew off Alaska” after she and John McCain lost the 2008 presidential election.

“I guess she figured she’d trade up … shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the Fox TV spotlight,” Trumka’s speech says. “I bet most of you on a clear day can see hypocrisy from your house.”

The speech also says that Palin will “go down in history like McCarthy. Palinism will become an ugly word.” Former Sen. Joseph McCarthy conducted a witch hunt in the 1950s against alleged Communists in government and elsewhere before he was discredited.

Palin fought back against Trumka in her Facebook post. “Trumka’s attempts to put himself on the side of the working man and woman would be more convincing if he weren’t a career union boss who’s spent most of his life in DC,” she wrote. “No surprise then that his priorities aren’t the priorities of the average working man or woman, but of the Beltway power player.”

Since the 2008 race, Palin has become a major figure in the national conservative movement and has helped boost candidates such as Joe Miller, whose primary election against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) this week was too close to call. Murkowski had been the favorite of the party establishment, but Miller was endorsed by Palin.

Trumka, however, will say Murkowski’s problem was that she was being pulled too far to the right by her party leadership, including Palin.

“What is this crazy magnet that’s pulling people to the right?” the prepared speech asks. “I mean look at your former governor.”

The AFL-CIO, along with other unions, will spend the fall trying to defeat many of the conservative candidates supported by Palin. The union is expected to detail its election strategy for after Labor Day next week.