Saturday, June 03, 2006

Harris Miller and Yellow Dog Democrats

The first time I ever heard the expression “yellow dog Democrat” was while I was living in Jacksonville. A friend of mine with a North Florida drawl (yes, in Northern Florida, they do have Southern accents) told me what it meant. “Ah’d rathah vote for a yeller dawg than a Republican.”

Well, I’ve been a yellow dog Democrat since. So, what do I do about a possible Harris Miller victory in the primary?

As some may have mistakenly concluded from my last post, I do not intend to vote for George Allen. That would be going way too far. Yes I’d vote for Harris Miller rather than George Allen. Somehow a proto racist, who thinks the combination of a miniature noose and a confederate flag are cute office decorations, doesn’t inspire me to get out and vote for him. Even I know that’s worse than supporting off shoring.

But not much!

I could, of course, go out and find a big old yellow dog, asks its owner the dog’s name and write that in.

Or I could find a credible third party candidate and cast a protest vote for somebody I know won’t win. But at least that vote will register. If a Green Party candidate gets that vote, would a professional consultant, who later analyzes the election results, conclude that Miller was the wrong candidate? Would Democrats then get the message that they have to appeal to a wider centrist audience while not completely alienating their base?

I want a strong Democratic Party. But I want a Democratic Party that stands up for the interests of working Americans and the middle class. I don’t want a Democratic Party that panders to the greediest demands of big business. Nor do I want a Democratic Party that panders to the narrowest of organized labor’s interests either. I am pro-labor just as I am a pro-choice feminist. And I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. I don’t want to see the 10 commandments posted in every courtroom because I respect Buddhist and Hindu citizens as much as I do Christian, Jewish and Muslim citizens. And I believe the First Amendment should protect their rights too. But I also believe that the Democratic Party must attract independents and moderates to win elections.

So, what would Harris Miller have to do to get my vote and possibly the votes of many other Democrats who are profoundly disturbed by his past history as President of the ITAA?

I think he would have to at least acknowledge that he was wrong to support some of the legislation that he lobbied for. And he’d have to be big enough to admit that a lot of his efforts threw others out of well paying jobs and hurt them economically.

He could point out, in his defense, that in the early nineties, there was a huge IT bubble and well paying jobs were abundant. He might say that at the time he just didn’t realize the harm his efforts could cause since salaries were high and job growth was dazzling. The economy back then was sizzling and there appeared to be a shortage of workers in many fields.

He could also say that as a Senator, he would work hard to undo the damage that he helped cause and that he would strive to improve the situation for workers. He could say that because of his industry ties and his knowledge and understanding of big business, he was in the position to work with his former allies to convince them that it was in their greater self-interest to have a strong, well-paid American workforce that could afford to buy the products that they make. Miller could even promise to point out to his business allies that destroying the middle class also destroys their own markets.

But Miller would have to say all this sooner rather than later. After the primary, it will just appear that he is out for votes, not sincere. In fact, I’m not sure, even now, if he could pull it off or if there’s simply too much bitter water under the bridge. I’m not sure if even I would buy it.

But I’d be willing to listen should he be the actual nominee. Until then, I’m still strongly for Jim Webb. And I hope Webb wins so that I don’t ever have to choose between Harris Miller and a big ole yeller dog.


notgeorgeallen said...

Bravo. Excellent post.

Steve said...

a couple of spinned lies from harris would change your mind about this? Tell it to this guy's dad

'Many feel powerless. In 2003, Kevin Flanagan was laid off from Bank of America after training foreign workers. He shot and killed himself in the parking lot in Concord, Calif.

His death galvanized other information technology workers, who have staged protests against outsourcing. Members of Congress opposed to the practice also have used his case as a call to action.

"We were very saddened by the death of our associate," says Bank of America spokeswoman Mary Waller. '

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

No a couple of spinned lies would not change my mind. I'm struggling to find a way to not elect George Allen and further the threat that he could become the next president.

At the same time, to get my support, I would need Miller to disavow the work that he did that led to such terrible tragedy.

The one thing that scares me is for Miller to win and for Virginia Democrats to conclude that pandering to the worst excesses of business is a winning strategy.

If he at least disavows the outsourcing rather than defending it, and promises to work to reverse its harm, at least they can't say its a winning issue for them and continue to support globalization.

Having said that, the last time I looked, I continued to support Jim Webb not Harris Miller.

Howling Latina said...

Anonymous, in 2002 when no Democrat ran against John Warner, a Libertarian as well as a La Rouche candidate ran.

No doubt, they'll probably have someone from the LaRouche camp, I woulf think. Also, in other blogs, someone said something about a Green Party candidate.

steve said...


sorry, i didnt mean to be rude, and yes i do recognise that you are supporting webb

for that matter, i really dont know that much about webb or the republican

but miller has made my life hell since 1998

here's a web site i found today

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thanks Howling Latina.

I honestly don't see myself, in good conscience, voting for a LaRouche candidate - even in protest. Or a Libertarian. They'd be very pro free trade too. But I would look at a Green candidate. Or, I'd truly wait and see what Miller does. I don't expect him to disavow his work on behalf of outsourcing, but if he did, I'd consider him. I just don't think it's very likely.

First, though, let's work for Webb to win so the point is moot.

Anonymous said...



The following is an outline of some of the activities of Harris Miller announced Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Virginiain his former capacity as President of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)


His organization has been one of the loudest cheerleaders in support of the offshore outsourcing of American jobs. In this regard, here are just a few of ITAA's antics under Miller's leadership:

· During Congressional deliberations on the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act (the so-called FSC/ETI legislation), the ITAA opposed retention of a labor-backed Senate amendment by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CN) to prohibit off-shore outsourcing of federal contracts.

· Opposed an amendment by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to the FY 2005 Agriculture department appropriations bill to prohibit the offshore outsourcing of and all federal contracts related to the federal food stamp program;

· Fought AFL-CIO state efforts to restrict the off-shoring of state contract work in over a dozen states. A few examples include:

o The ITAA successfully lobbied CA Governor Schwarzenegger to veto a series of anti-off-shoring bills that would have: precluded the state from funding the employment training of individuals located outside the U.S. or from entering into contracts with contractors for services performed overseas; prohibited work involving information vital to homeland security from being performed outside the U.S.; and required the disclosure to patients of any personally identifiable medical information to be transferred outside of the U.S.

o In NJ, the ITAA opposed legislation to prohibit off-shore outsourcing of state contracts and blasted NJ governor James McGreevey for issuing Executive Order No.129 prohibiting state agencies from contracting with a vendor (or their subcontractors) which performs such services in a foreign country.

· Lobbied for Congressional passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and is one of the lead business groups affiliated with the American Business Coalition for Doha (ABCD), one of the major pro-free trade, business lobbying coalitions.

· Opposed a Buy American amendment added to the 2005 Homeland Security Authorization Act by Rep Don Manzullo (R-IL) that would require 50 percent or more of components in products acquired by the DHS be made in the U.S. The ITAA described such "Buy America" provisions as "a lose-lose proposition for the nation".

· On 10/20/03 Miller testified before the House Small Business Committee on the off-shoring of white collar jobs. The Atlanta Journal Constitution 10/21/03 edition described his remarks this way:

As U.S. companies send more high-tech work overseas, they are creating a ''downward pressure on salaries'' that may help slow American job losses, a technology industry leader told Congress on Monday. Indeed, U.S. workers may have to get used to lower wages, said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America.


Unlike the late 1990s, when the tech sector was booming, U.S. workers no longer can expect employers to offer ''six-figure incomes to technical people with little or no actual on-the-job training,'' Miller told the House Committee on Small Business.


Americans must face the ''hard truth'' that offshore companies not only offer information technology services for ''a fraction of the cost,'' but they can ''compete for increasingly more sophisticated and complex IT work,'' he said. The silver lining of this wage pressure, Miller said, is that ''a more competitive payroll picture may undercut [U.S. employers'] need to move jobs offshore.''


The ITAA has supported business led efforts to eliminate overtime protections for U.S. workers:

The ITAA supported of H.R. 1119, legislation in 2003 to allow workers to "choose" flex time instead of overtime pay (Source: 6/4/03 news release by House Committee on Education and the Workforce) ;
In 2000 they partnered with the notorious union busting firm of Seyfarth-Shaw (Chicago) to co-sponsor a forum on (overtime) exempt and non-exempt employees in the IT industry.
Miller's reaction in a 5/17/05 article by C/NET NEWS Â that the new Bush overtime regulations could produce a spate of lawsuits to protect worker rights, were described this way:
But Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America trade group, has a grimmer view. Moving to more of a 9-to-5, clock-punching culture will hurt the country's computer sector, he argues. "One of the strengths of the tech industry has been that there has not been a lot of we-against-they mentality regarding labor and management," Miller said. "You run the risk of losing the collaborative relationship that has been so productive."



· The ITAA is the lead lobby urging Congress to allow in hundreds of thousands professional guest worker under the H-1B visa program that allow foreign workers to come in a take American jobs from highly skilled workers here in the U.S. (a.k.a. in-sourcing);

· They have opposed DPE/AFL-CIO recommended pro-worker reforms in both the H-1B and L-1 (intra-company transfer visa) programs to stop abuse of the program particularly replacement of U. S. workers. (Source: Q and A at hearings before the House International Relations Committee on the L-1 visa, 2/4/04).



Under Miller, the ITAA has opposed efforts by labor's congressional allies to prevent the privatization of federal jobs. Most recently the ITAA sought elimination of an amendment by Senators. Kit Bond, (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski, (D-MD)., to FY 2006 Transportation/Treasury/Housing appropriations bill to requires: a public-private competition before any work performed by 10 or more government employees can be awarded to a private company, and; that private contractor bids must be lower by either 10 percent of personnel-related costs or $10 million - whichever is lower.


ITAA supports making permanent the temporary congressional ban prohibiting the states from applying state sales taxes to commodity sales over the internet. If allowed to tax these transactions, states could raise nearly $16 billion dollars annually in needed fiscal resources for vital public services such as education, roads, health care such as Medicaid, law enforcement, social services etc.


A 11/20/03 article in Tech Worker News entitled "IT Industry: Race to the Bottom", summed up Miller's work:

By pumping up the number of technologically skilled immigrants allowed into the country and outsourcing growing numbers of tech jobs abroad, these firms [U.S. technology companies] are well on their way to guaranteeing that whatever jobs of the future remain in America pay as little as possible. Worse, in the process, theyÂ’re discouraging more and more young Americans from studying science and technology, and thus encouraging a dangerous dumbing-down of the nation's future workforce. Try preserving superpower status after a generation or two of that.

This year, technology and other white-collar outsourcing has become so widespread, and the economy's job-creating powers have become so feeble, that the issue has become front-page news and the public is revolting. Like their counterparts in the rest of the economy, the multinational tech-outsourcers and their apologists have begun to react with a combination of almost refreshingly honest arrogance and insultingly incoherent deception.

In the former category, tech industry spokesman Harris Miller takes first prize. President of the Information Technology Association of America, Miller spent the late 1990s insisting that America faced a tech worker shortage so enormous that only a flood of immigrant techies could fill the gap. He also warned that, without such tech worker imports, these firms would send the jobs overseas.

Now, as unemployment in technology still tops 8 percent despite months of better economic growth, Miller has shifted toward defending outsourcing as a "hard truth" that Americans must face. The nation's main hope for stemming this job flight? As Miller told Congress, "downward pressure on salaries." In other words, U.S. technology workers should plunge deeper into the global race to the bottom.

More funding for technology education would help, too, he added. But Miller was surely relieved that no Congressmen asked him how this would improve America's competitiveness with foreign workers who he argued can "compete for increasingly more sophisticated and complex IT work" at "a fraction" of U.S. costs.

Prepared by: Â Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIOÂ 2/6/06

Sources: Except where otherwise indicated, all references are derived from documents

published on the ITAA website as of 2/1/06.


Arturo said...

You can write in Jim Webb. That is exactly what I will do if Jim does not win on June 13. No way I can vote for an anti-worker candidate. Miller is not a real Democrat.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you Anonymous from Department of Professionals at AFL-CIO. Great fact sheet. And you, and anyone in labor, are always welcome at my website.

And Arturo, you have a good point. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anonymous, but not from Department of Professionals at AFL-CIO. I found that from ourtsourcecongress website - they attribute that fact sheet from D of P at afl-cio

Actually, my background is more management oriented

But Miller is an anti-labor extremist, so extreme that he actually harms business interests.

Here's an atricle to that effect

The H-1B Is A Barrier To The IT Industry's Recovery
Even Milton Friedman Says "there is no doubt" H-1B Is A Subsidy
by Paul Donnelly,0816-Donnelly.shtm

As a candidate for a party that claims to be for working people, that's bazzarre

Anonymous said...

an exerpt from that article:

When even MILTON FRIEDMAN says "there is no doubt" that the H-1B program is a subsidy, that ought to end the argument. What can the ITAA's Harris Miller say? Or CATO's Steve Moore?

Anonymous said...

Aside from the central points of your post, there is an interesting irony of a "Reagan Democrat" relying upon labor for a Democratic primary. Another interesting twist of this election.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's that ironic if you understand that both parties have sold out the working citizen long ago

How can you reach any other conclusion, if you really understand Harris Miller's background?

Info_Tech_Guy said...

I find no irony in Jim Webb adopting a position of opposition to the wholesale outsourcing of good-paying middle class jobs and the loss of high technology and industrial capabilities in the U.S. Webb isn't pandering after union votes; he's noting the problems which afflict this country and attempting to offer a fresh, honest approach.

I would note that the architect of the Reagan era "Supply Side Revolution" legislation, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, has long written scathing denunciations of offshore outsourcing and H-1b worker replacement programs (supported by Harris Miller). Is Roberts wrong now because of whatever he said and did 20 years ago? Is supply side economics even relevant to the discussion of offshore outsourcing and H-1b? I think NOT!

Similarly, Jim Webb's previous limited association with the Reagan administration was based on national defense, foreign policy and Vietnam veterans issues.

I welcome the movement of disenchanted Reagan Democrats and Reagan Republicans into the ranks of Webb Democrats.