The Corner

United for Hillary

Greetings from Philadelphia, where Barack Obama won yesterday’s primary vote, 65-35. Unfortunately for him, the rest of Pennsylvania also voted, and he lost by ten points. I went to Hillary Clinton’s victory celebration at the Park Hyatt Hotel last night, where a number of unions — AFSCME, AFT, OPEIU, SMART, and others — seemed to be fighting over who could hand out the most signs and T-shirts. The unions guaranteed a lot of support for Clinton, of course. But loyalty? Not always. From my story:

Union membership, especially in this Democratic race where organized labor is deeply divided, can sometimes be tough on your loyalties. Certainly most of the union members here — everyone I meet seems to be a teacher — are true Hillary supporters. But not all. I talk to a man who goes by the name G.P., who is here on behalf of the OPEIU — the Office & Professional Employees International Union. OPEIU endorsed Clinton last November, and G.P., who is from Georgia, is here to hand out Hillary T-shirts. We start talking — I have to admit I approach him because he’s black, and there are very few black faces in this crowd — and it becomes clear he’s doing his job, he’s loyal to his union’s position, but his heart isn’t quite in it.

“Do you personally support Hillary?”

“Yes, I think Hillary is a great candidate, and I also think Barack Obama is a great candidate,” G.P. says. “I think both of them would do great things for the Democratic Party.”

“Would it be OK with you if either one wins?”

“With me? Like I said, I would support either Democratic candidate — anybody who gets elected to run, that would be the person I would support.”

“Did you vote in the Georgia primary?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Who’d you vote for?”

“Like I said — ” We both begin to laugh, because it seems pretty clear who he voted for. “In Georgia, the primary was decided overwhelmingly for Obama, and, once again, you’ve got two great candidates, two great people, and whichever person wins, I’ll be really happy with that. My union, OPEIU, really supports Hillary, and we’re all behind her 100 percent.”