What happened was this: I made reference in a post that Chairman Sean had made "disturbing comments at a PWC Committee of 100 debate on public employee unions."
Mitch responded with this:
I have to say I still don't understand your comments regarding the Committee of 100 debate (which I attended) and the "right-to-work" question. Sean stated that he would talk to any and all parties involved in a question. Period. I think that speaks volumes about any leader, a willingness to listen to whatever anyone, including opponents, have to say and evaluate it as opposed to simply dismissing it out of hand. He never stated that he supported unions or gave any indication that he ever would. He merely said he wouldn't refuse them an audience. Suggesting any more from that debate is simply unfair and a distortion of the facts.Mitch's memory apparently failed him, but because I had written about it at the time, I responded with this, at some length, because reason takes up more space that catch phrases. Indeed, while useful (look at all the content to be gleaned from Chairman Sean's), they frequently are used to hide meanings:
No, Mitch, that's not all he did.So there it is. I don't think Chairman Sean is stupid. I just don't think that he answered my question --- which gave him a wonderful opportunity to expound on the evils of special privileges for public employees unions --- either fully or particularly honestly. I don't think he ringinly endorsed the union boss agenda for greater power and permanent, government-subsidized perpetuation of the far Left, but at the same time, he used language and catch phrases which should give anyone with an understand of those issues pause.
The question was this: “Virginia protects its workers with a Right to Work law and bars public employee monopoly bargaining. With these principles in mind, would you seek and/or accept the endorsement[s] of the Virginia Education Association and/or the Virginia AFL-CIO? Additionally, would you support any effort to impose a ‘meet-and-confer’ requirement on Virginia’s public employers?” I drafted this question, and as I recall, I did not know at the time that Chairman Sean had been endorsed by the Virginia Education Association, an endorsement which should disqualify almost any "Republican" candidate for further consideration in a contested nomination.
Chairman Sean’s answer was, to say the least, distressing, not the least because he never squarely answered the question (contrary to your representation). Your memory appears to be faulty; mine is refreshed by the fact that I happened to write a memo about it at the time. But you assert that he answered by saying that "he would talk to any and all parties involved in a question. Period."
But that doesn't answer the question. I asked a very specific question about a very specific issue which relates to the granting of preferred legal status to labor unions (i.e., while you have a right to speak, government officials have no obligation to listen to you, and meet-and-confer legislation creates an obligation of public officials to listen to union bosses) in the competition for scarce public resources, one with which any locally-elected leader should be familiar. If you don't concede that Chairman Sean wasn't familiar with the issue, then he's ignorant. If you do, then he evaded squarely addressing a fundamental "good government" question.
What he did answer was that his father was a “union man” in New York (not necessarily damning; his website indicates that he was a police officer), and then launched into various motherhoods about the GOP being a “big tent” (read: “We shouldn’t stand for anything”) and indicated that he is either too stupid to know the difference between rank-and-file union members and union bosses, or too dishonest to admit to supporting the latter’s agenda. I do not believe that he is stupid.
Chairman Sean also seemed to indicate his support for imposition of a preferred status for public employee union bosses vis-a-vis state and local governments. He also cited the “fact” that Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the NEA. While I assume that Reagan was never endorsed for President by the NEA, it has since been suggested to me that he may have been endorsed by the California affiliate for Governor, in the days before the extreme radicalization of the NEA, and it is that endorsement to which Chairman Sean may have been referring.
But what he did say is enough to give pause to those who hold that Virginia's ban on public employee monopoly bargaining is good government.
And I'm still trying to figure out how support for the enrolled and engrossed law of the Commonwealth of Virginia --- you know, like its definition of marriage and prohibition of sodomy --- is, in TC's words, "far-far-far-far right" or "out of touch with voters."
UPDATE: And with all of that having been said, I don't assert that Chairman Sean has done anything in his current office to raise a concern on this point. Under the Commonwealth's law, he couldn't. But the question was raised in the context of his aspirations to statewide office, where he could do something. And given his endorsement by the Virginia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, there was --- in retrospect --- good reasons to raise these questions. My recollection is that, to this day, Chairman Sean has refused to release the VEA's questionnaire, or his answers to it.