Breaking news from Business Week:

Howard Dean’s Presidential ambitions are poised to get a major lift on Nov. 6 when the AFL-CIO’s largest union, the 1.3 million member Service Employees International Union, is set to endorse him, BusinessWeek has learned. The SEIU’s action, coming shortly after Dean won pledges from two small unions, the International Union of Painters and the California Teachers Assn., goes a long way toward completing the transformation of the former Vermont governor from a niche candidate backed by limousine liberals, antiwar activists, and tech-savvy young people into a mainstream candidate who can also connect with blue-collar America. Says SEIU President Andy Stern: “It’s clear that Dean has gained the most support amongst our members and local leaders.”

For all my reservations about Dean, I do see truth in Jacob’s argument that

if anyone is going to win against Bush, that candidate needs to unite the foreign policy left wing of the party with the economic policy left wing of the party, and combine all that with a strategy that gets people riled up, donating money, and voting. I’d happly back anyone I thought could do that, from John Edwards to Al Sharpton. Kucinich tries to to the part where he unites the two important parts of the party, but fails at actually running a campaign. Gephardt was thought to have the unions but his wishy-washy politics on the war, combined with his proven record of failure (most recently in 2002) make him a poor candidate. Dean is the man to unite around, and now it seems that the biggest unions in the country agree

As I’ve probably said here before, Dean is the candidate who has had the most success so far in building a left “Contract with America” – mounting a (generally) coherent, passionate, and resonant critique of the current administration and articulating a vision of a more (if insufficiently) progressive alternative – and he knows better than many of the other eight how to organize around it. Shame that he has a record of prioritizing balanced budgets over social services.

One place where I agree with Jacob wholeheartedly:

…it’s nice to see SEIU, AFSCME, and CWA working together on something. If only SEIU can get AFSCME and CWA on board with the New Unity Partnership…

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