Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Not so fast, union-busting breath

At the bottom of the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Editorial Page today is an item billed as: The Bottom Line. In its entirety it reads as follows:

“A House of Delegates committee vote against Danny LeBlanc's nomination as Secretary of the Commonwealth is a direct consequence of the Kaine administration's threatened smash-mouth tactics against Republicans opposed to tax hikes.”

No argument is made in support of this pronouncement.

One might be left to wonder if the anonymous writer, speaking on behalf of the newspaper’s editorial department, is applauding the House committee’s unprecedented move, or not. That is, unless one is familiar with what the chief of the editorial staff, Ross Mackenzie (depicted above), has written about trade unions over the decades, going back to the bad ol’ days of the Byrd Machine.

Or, maybe even a new reader of the RT-D can see there's a telltale clue in that one sentence opinion piece. It is the word “direct.”

Direct, in this case, not only says there is linkage between the stated cause and its effect, it also suggests that the connection is natural, something one would expect to be there. In other words, the RT-D is saying that Gov. Tim Kaine should have known better and he only brought this on himself.

Well, sitting at my desk in the penthouse of SLANT Towers, I must throw a penalty flag on that deceptive play. As Johnny Carson might have said, “Not so fast, union-busting breath!”

The unprecedented thumbs-down vote on a Virginia governor’s traditional prerogative to appoint the people he wants for his cabinet is not something anyone should have expected, because of the meaning of the word “unprecedented.”

If Virginia’s House Republicans are at odds with Kaine over roads and taxes legislation that should have nothing to do with rejecting an appointment. That is, unless one wants to use any monkey wrench in the box to do any injury possible to the enemy, or simply to strike a partisan pose.

The logic of saying “direct consequence,” would say to me that it would also be OK to set fire to a neighbor’s mustache, because he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan. Or, it’s fine to pour ink into your boss’ fish tank, while he’s out to lunch, as payback for the obnoxious bumper stickers on his monster-sized SUV. And so forth...

Plus, if there’s one topic RT-D (and the Richmond News Leader) editorials have consistently foamed at the mouth over, for as long as I can remember, it’s trade unions. According to Mackenzie, the union movement -- rather than having brought a measure of dignity to the working man's life -- is, and always has been, the spawn of Satan, or communists, whichever is worse.

Bottom Line: The rejection of Danny LeBlanc is about his union background. It’s not about roads or taxes.
'Toon by F.T. Rea

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