Obama's new White House communications director
Ellen Moran is no bland, disinterested policy wonk. She's best known for her work with Democratic special interest groups, including the AFL-CIO, whose anti-Wal-Mart campaign she once spearheaded.
That effort, launched in several state legislatures, aimed to enact state laws to force the discount retailer to pay higher wages and assume more health-care expenses for its employees. The AFL-CIO, in effect, wanted to impose by law on Wal-Mart's non-unionized workforce wage and benefit commitments of the sort now breaking the back of Detroit's auto makers -- something the union had failed to achieve through its own organizing efforts at Wal-Mart. The campaign even gained a big success in Maryland, though the health care mandate enacted by the state legislature was ultimately struck down by a court on federalism grounds.
Ms. Moran's next big project was a more successful effort to elect pro-choice Democrats to Congress for EMILY's List. This year Democrats picked up a net gain of at least 13 pro-choice members in the House and two in the Senate (and perhaps as many as four, depending on the recount in Minnesota and run-off election in Georgia). The group's biggest success was defeat of Colorado Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, the founder of the Pro-Life Caucus in Congress who had the misfortune of representing a swing-district that included Colorado Springs and parts of the Denver suburbs.
By tapping Ms. Moran to be his communications director, Mr. Obama is signaling something about his agenda and about the interest groups he will be relying on to run his administration, strengthen his Congressional majority in 2010 and win his own reelection fight in 2012. . . .