A surprise this morning from SEIU as their president, Andy Stern, appears to be stepping down. While few details are known, Sam Stein of HuffPo reports:
SEIU President Andy Stern, one of labor's most powerful leaders, is set to step down from his post, sources with knowledge of his decision tell the Huffington Post.
Since his ascension to his current position, Stern was able to expand his union into a 2.2 million-member force. In the process, he became a major player on the political scene and a close ally of the Obama White House.
But those close to him say he wanted to tackle different, more personal activities at this stage in his career. The passage of health care reform presented a sound achievement from which to depart from his presidential post. And while he was currently in the process of launching a third-party initiative in North Carolina -- to challenge those House Democrats who voted against health care reform legislation -- he was also growing tired of the daily grind, a source close to Stern says.
The news of his retirement was first broken by Politico's Ben Smith, who obtained an email from the President of an SEIU local based in Seattle, Diane Sosne.
Allah at Hot Air gulps down some kool-ade and plunges ahead with some interesting speculation:
When Ruffini calls him the most powerful man in Democratic Washington, he's not kidding: Not only did Stern log more visits to the White House last year than anyone else but, as Ben Smith reminds us, he championed Craig Becker's NLRB appointment and was himself appointed to Obama's new deficit commission (which shows you how productive that'll be in cutting costs). I assume there's a scandal brewing and that he simply jumped before he was pushed, but I'm trying to talk myself into believing that this has something to do with the Supreme Court vacancy. I know that's insane - The One, by all accounts, is looking for a nominee who won't spark partisan outrage and Stern is the antithesis of that - but the prospect of a Borkian confirmation carnival in the Senate is simply too glorious to let go of the thought just yet. Even by the standards of Democratic presidents The One is a union crony par excellence, so maybe he'd give this a moment's thought.
Allah admits there's not much chance for Stern as a Justice of the Supreme Court, but stranger things have happened. Besides, if you believe the "official explanation" of why he is leaving, I have some SEIU land in New Orleans I'd like to interest you in.
The man who visited the White House more than anyone else is now stepping down. Somehow, I doubt we have seen the last of Obama's BFF.