- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 28, 2005

Big Labor and the GOP

Like the pesky periodic cicadas that swarmed the Washington region last spring, getting in everyone’s face, Inside-the-Beltway Republican “strategists” who drone on about Republican candidates’ need to “form alliances” with labor union officials keep coming back.

But the cicadas, if the scientists got it right, will at least have the good grace not to bother our metropolitan area again until 2021. Rich Bond, who after helping formulate George H.W. Bush’s losing re-election campaign strategy in 1992 went on to a career in which union officials pay him to advise Republican politicians to appease Big Labor, periodically re-emerges with his never-changing message much more frequently.

As reported by Donald Lambro on May 20 (“Labor union rift opening; GOP sees opportunity,” Nation), Mr. Bond is now predicting that, as a result of the ongoing power struggle in the AFL-CIO, “More and more [union political] money will go to Republicans …”

The fact is, for more than a decade Mr. Bond has been coming out with different theories about why Big Labor bosses are about to become less partisan in the way they do politics, and, time and again, he has turned out to be wrong.

When you take into account the $94 million that union officials poured into uniformly pro-Kerry/Democrat 527 groups in 2003-2004, 95 percent of organized labor’s reported federal PAC and “soft” campaign contributions went to Democrats.

That’s a steeper tilt toward Democratic and against Republican candidates than in 2002, 2000, 1998 or 1996. Of course, union officials’ attempts to recapture Congress for the Democrats have repeatedly failed. That’s another reason to take Mr. Bond’s implicit claim that Republicans will benefit politically by selling out to the union bosses with a mountain of salt.

MARK A. MIX

President

National Right to Work Committee

Springfield

A blessed breakfast

Thank you for your coverage of our second annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (“Bush praises pope at prayer meeting,” Nation, May 21). It is exciting, yet humbling, to see more than 1,600 people from all walks of life so enthusiastic about their faith.

We were very fortunate to have President Bush, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio and Sister Margaret Mary Jerousek address our gathering. A host of other dignitaries, including bishops, priests, nuns and members of Congress also attended.

However, your article stated that the breakfast “rallied local faithful.” An honest mistake. We were blessed to have attracted hundreds of laypeople from all across America, from as far away as Florida, Texas and California. With 25 states represented, the event truly had a national scope, and we pray that it will continue to grow.

JOSEPH J. CELLA

President

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Washington

War of the vines

K. Lloyd Billingsley lauded the Supreme Court decision on the interstate shipments of wine and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (“Toast to the Supreme Court,” Commentary, Sunday). Columnist George Will argues more convincingly that the celebration is unfounded as the plain wording of the 21st Amendment constitutionally limits the Commerce Clause.

And while those of us who enjoy the grape want to applaud the decision, we are reminded by the philosopher Sidney Hook that there is a right way to correct a wrong, and a wrong way to secure a right.

And the late Sen. Sam Ervin of Watergate fame averred that he could read English as it was his native tongue, and he needed no aid to determine the plain meaning of words.

The 21st Amendment, passed and validated long after the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, expressly amended that clause and limited its previous effects and holdings. The phrase, “in violation of the laws thereof” incontestably refers to the laws of the several states, and if we are to read it as it was clearly intended, no other interpretation can be permitted.

Now, I would like to agree with the effect of the court’s decision, but it matters very much that the court came to its decision via an abject disregard of the plain intent of the wording of the 21st Amendment. Patriots of all stripes should reject the usurpation of legislation and laws by a capricious, whimsical and anti-democratic judiciary

There have been many cavalier interpretations of the Constitution’s First and Second Amendments that have been mangled by groups inimical to democracy who seek to alter meanings and traditional coinage to color the meaning of words and definitions to their selfish ends.

No patriot should condone such mischief.

The 21st Amendment was overwhelming validated and it limited the Commerce Clause and expressly empowered “the several states” to handle this matter.

The only honest way to alter the 21st Amendment is with another constitutional amendment; otherwise we invite further judicial caprice and condone judicial usurpation of the rights of the legislatures, the several states, and the people

A constitutional amendment is the right way to correct this “wrong.”

John Shepard

Herndon

A sex-ed message for Fairfax

Stuart D. Gibson, a Fairfax County School Board member, is an amazing guy. Although he did not attend the meeting where the school board approved two pamphlets for 10th-graders that they knew and acknowledged contained errors, he told The Washington Times (“Diocese rejects sex-ed leaflets,” Metropolitan, Thursday), that “those who testified against the pamphlets were ‘part of an organized campaign’ against the materials.”

Oh, really. Mr. Gibson’s paranoia had earlier caused him to insult concerned citizens who complained about the pamphlets with a lengthy diatribe that never refuted the documented errors that are contained in the pamphlets. No doubt, they are all part of the vast right-wing conspiracy of which the media is complicit. One woman who testified learned of the problem while in the hospital reading the newspaper. Perhaps because Mr. Gibson knew that parents didn’t hear about these pamphlets from the Fairfax County school system, there must be some sinister force out there.

Mr. Gibson was right, however, when he told The Times: “My dad always told me that the truth is not always determined by a show of hands.” Stephen M. Hunt was the only school board member who did not cover up for the errors of Fairfax Public School staff. The others passed the erroneous “birth control pamphlet” and added an “abstinence pamphlet” to counter the pro-sexual activity message of the “birth control pamphlet.” Then, when it was documented that the “abstinence pamphlet” was in fact anti-abstinence (even their student representative informed the board of that fact), they passed the “anti-abstinence pamphlet” with a directive to the staff to find a “pro-abstinence” pamphlet to counter the anti-abstinence pamphlet. So, now instead of paying for one pamphlet, the taxpayers of Fairfax will be paying for two faulty pamphlets and one (hopefully) accurate pamphlet, and students will be receiving conflicting messages.

MARY BETH STYLE

Centreville

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