I went to a town hall meeting with Dick Cheney earlier today (about which more later) and the Kerry camp managed to bus in a few paid protesters from organized labor. Once again support for the President andVice-president was enthusiastic and the numbers quite large with a piddling few protesters carrying machine printed signs in the Kerry campaign colors. And the protesters were late (about which also more later) arriving. But on to my point. These protesters were “Steelworkers for Kerry” according to their professionaly printed signs. I seem to recall Mr. Bush abandoning conservative, free market principles early in his administration by imposing punitive (and illegal, as it turned out) tariffs on steel to placate these very people. And his repayment? “Steelworkers for Kerry.” There is no steelmill in or anywhere near Joplin, for what it’s worth.
In Springfield on the 30th, a big chunk of the protesters were “Teamsters for Kerry.” Which makes about as much sense as Christians for Satan or Wifebeaters for the ERA. Bush has three times presented, the Republican house has three times passed and the Democrats in the Senate have three times filibustered an energy policy that would lower diesel fuel prices, reduce dependence on foreign oil, produce jobs here and, bottom line, put more money in Teamsters pockets. Two Senators in particular voted against this energy policy and for a higher cost of business for truckers – Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards. Of course, the energy policy isn’t a compromise of conservative principles the way the steel tariffs were, but it simply illustrates the basic point that organized labor will not support Republicans no matter what they do unless a fundamental change happens in labor leadership. That change is actually long overdue, with the average union member making a lot of money, many of them being 401(k) millionaires, the vast majority of them being homeowners and a goodly portion of them being gun-owners, but until Republicans focus on eliminating the leftover socialist leadership in the unions, they should play no, zero, zip, role in Republican policy formulation.