- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Too much

“I have been reminded of legendary union leader John L. Lewis, who was once asked what his miners were after. His answer? ‘More.’

“It was a funny answer, and perhaps it was honest, too. But these days, it’s not a very effective strategy, and we are seeing some unfortunate and unintended consequences of Lewis’ ‘more’ philosophy.

“Delphi Corp., the biggest auto-parts supplier in the country and the employer of 34,000 hourly workers, is bankrupt. One big reason is that the company’s unionized workers earn $64 an hour in wages and benefits — more than twice what some of its competitors pay.

“General Motors and Ford — the companies that have epitomized high-paying unionized jobs over the last several decades — have stated that they will lay off 30,000 workers each.

“The bankruptcy stories … are driven in large part by the compensation packages and work rules that unions have won for their members, which are too expensive compared to more recent entrants such as Southwest. ‘More’ has, unfortunately, become ‘too much’ in a global and far more competitive economy.

“Many of my friends will consider this view heretical. But it is based on stark reality.”

— Former Sen. George McGovern, South Dakota Democrat and 1972 presidential candidate, writing on “The end of ‘more,’” Monday in the Los Angeles Times

Two coalitions

“The conservative movement today is constructed from a ‘coalition of the willing.’ … What induces them to join and remain in the same coalition is a single, self-evident truth: Hillary Clinton. Liberalism is the glue that cements the conservative movement, and if liberalism were to disappear tomorrow, the conservative movement as we know it would begin to disintegrate on the next day. …

“Liberalism, too, is a kind of coalition. … But of the two coalitions, conservatism is the more heterogeneous, consisting of parts that do not even pretend to be guided by the same principles.”

— University of Virginia professor James W. Ceaser, writing on “True Blue vs. Deep Red,” for the 2006 Bradley Symposium today at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington

‘Bama bound

“‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is not really a paean to the place, though it is a little of that. It is absolutely not a boast about the racist Southern past, though that is where most rock critics prefer to begin and end.

“‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is in fact a Great Equalizer — a hacked-off taunt at anyone who thinks he’s better’n me: Down here, ‘we all did what we could do,’ and since most folks talk more than do, ‘does your conscience bother you?’ That goes for Neil Young, the Canadian singer who sneered his way through ‘Southern Man’ and ‘Alabama,’ as well as post-Watergate poseurs above the Mason-Dixon Line. You look down on us, but what did you ever do besides gripe? …

“Ed King, Gary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd put as much principle as pride to their highway rhythm, answering invective with something bigger. Things aren’t perfect here or anywhere else, they seem to say, but we’ve been known to pick a song or two, we have ourselves some blue skies, and the road will always carry me home to see my kin. … Turn it up.”

— Michael Long, writing on “Conservative Rock Songs,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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