Wednesday, March 08, 2006

LeBlanc Nomination Voted Down

Who woulda thunk it?

I know I'm a little late to the game on this, but it seems that House Republicans have removed their political gonads from the blind trust into which they had heretofore placed them and demonstrated the testicular fortitude to vote down a truly horrendous nomination by Governor Tim Kaine. Former Virginia AFL-CIO leader Danny LeBlanc has been rejected to be Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Of course, there's been the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth by the far Left side of the political blogosphere (well, OK, Waldo doesn't do "wailing"). Ben Tribbett pretty much rolls it down the middle of the table, as does Virginia Centrist, though Ben seems to take some credit for it.

There's even been some complaints from the Conservative side of the blogosphere. Madisonian at SST thinks it's the same as the Democrats' response to Bush judicial nominees. 'Cept, I don't remember Governor Tim ever campaigning on weakening the Commonwealth's Right to Work law. Norm at OMT doesn't even care.

And our friends on this side of the aisle have some good comments. Will Vehrs at Commonwealth Conservative doesn't think that "this vote will have much salience with anyone but political insiders," and he could well be right. But he also rightly notes that Kaine "ran as Warner II, Mr. Bipartisanship, and Mr. Lockbox, not taxes" and "Now that he’s in office, ... has turned into Russ Potts on taxes and turned bipartisan poster boy William Leighty into a partisan hack." Kilo notes Kaine's "174,000 reasons" why LeBlanc got the nod, which is about $1 for every union member in Virginia. Bearing Drift offers some red meat reasons why this was a good decision. Meanwhile, Vince at Too Conservative think this is an indication of hypocrisy.

I tend to think that this was justified on principle, for precisely the reasons cited by Will Vehrs (though he seems to oppose it on practical political grounds). Nevertheless, there are plenty on both sides of the aisle who will dismiss it as simple 'partisanship." They tend to be the ones who wouldn't recognize a principle if it kicked them in the teeth. As Virginia's commitment to the Right to Work principle just kicked Kaine in the teeth.

In a broader sense, though, this says a lot about Virginia. "Mainstream" is one of the most overused and abused words in political discourse. Most of the time, it's used by people who couldn't hit the "mainstream" unless they drove off a bridge into it (and yes, that is a reference to the senior Senator from Tax-achusetts). The main clue is that doctrinaire ideological partisans like Alexandria's Brian Moran denounce it as "doctrinaire, ideological partisan politics." Delegate Clarence E. "Bud" Phillips (D-Dickenson County) was reported to have say that LeBlanc's rhetoric was indicative of the fact that he was representing the interests of a large number of workers, and suggested that a vote against LeBlanc was a vote that "Just because you're a union man or woman ... you're not qualified to serve in some capacity in state, federal or local government."

No, "Bud," that's wrong. This vote was a vote that, when you're so far outside of the mainstream of Virginia politics that you oppose the Commonwealth's Right to Work law, and so arrogant as to claim to represent the interests of the working man or woman, "you're not qualified to serve in some capacity in state, federal or local government."

It's too bad that Kaine and his partisan cronies can't tell the difference between their far Left agenda --- well-disguised in the campaign past --- and the Virginia consensus that labor unions are not a special class of organizations entitled to special privileges. Of course, why wouldn't Democrats want to allow them to extract from unwilling workers monies that would find their way into Democrat political coffers?

LeBlanc is far Left to the extent that even TC recognizes it. This vote by House Republicans reflects the Virginia consensus that labor unions are not entitled to a special privilege that would allow them to perpetuate one party's political power. Moreover, the notion that the Secretary of the Commonwealth "merely" fills political patronage positions, and that this was therefore not an important position, was a red herring. As Virginia's Republican National Committeeman notes in one of his Laws of the Public Policy Process (No. 26), "Personnel is policy." Those who deny that fact are either too unsophisticated about the public policy process to be commenting upon it, or know the truth, and are lying. This was undoubtedly the correct vote.

What is even more disturbing is the implications in Governor Tim's response to it. Kaine said that the vote was "spitting in the face of regular people, regular working people."

Sorry, Governor Tim, but that doesn't wash. Even assuming for the sake of argument that LeBlanc even represented workers who were members of the Virginia AFL-CIO --- politically, he clearly did not, since surveys demonstrate that a large percentage vote Republican, and an overwhelming majority support Virginia's Right to Work law --- the 200,000 members of the Virginia AFL-CIO are a small percentage (only about 5%) of Virginia's nearly 4 million workers. This isn't "spitting in the face of regular people, regular working people"; it's "spitting in the face" of arrogant and self-important ideologues whose claim to represent "regular working people" is belied by their ability to persuade those "regular working people" that association with them is in their best interests.

Get used to it, Governor Tim and far Left Dems. This is Virginia. Support for Right to Work is the "mainstream." And woe be unto any who challenge it.

And an interesting side note: Lowell at Raising Kaine declares Too Conservative (my "archnemesis," according to Shaun Kenney), his "favorite Republican blog by far." I hope Vince and the boys and girls over there are as disturbed by that as I am. That I believe that they will not be speaks volumes about how "Republican" they are.


Charlie said...

I must be very unsophisticated because I still haven't heard how LeBlanc could have affected the right to work laws.

But, in an attempt to educate myself, I did read your "laws of the public policy process" and would direct your attention to #17:

"Hire at least as many to the right of you as to the left of you."

James Young said...

Apparently you are, Mark. LeBlanc could have affected the right to work law by mainstreaming the far Left view that forced-unionism is acceptable, and by credentialing like-minded far Lefties.

There is more to affecting the viability of Right to Work laws than simply ignoring them and telling Virginia workers that they have to join a union as a condition of employment. Which is, incidentally, what some of the Virginia AFL-CIO's constituent unions were doing during LeBlanc's tenure.

Charlie said...

LeBlanc could have affected the right to work law by mainstreaming the far Left view that forced-unionism is acceptable, and by credentialing like-minded far Lefties.

The sort of ideological litmust test you're proposing for appointees is farther from the mainstream than opposition to right to work laws - as evidenced by Byrne's near victory last year despite this "far left" view.

I'm sure you're right that most people oppose right to work laws but they obviously don't care about it enough to refrain from voting for Byrne who they apparently agreed with on issues they cared more about. And this for an actual elected office which might have had some influence over these laws more significant than your "mainstreaming" and "credentialing".

But, at any rate, maybe I ought not protest so much because I continue to belive that house republicans are sealing their own doom with this type of behavior.

too conservative said...

I really liked your post, and thought it was a great round up...

and then I read the end.

I have met Lowell many times over the past couple weeks, and understand him to be a reasonable man.

I am happy he likes TC.

I have also been told by other RK members that they are warming up to Tom because of me.

These are GOOD things

Waldo Jaquith said...

Not only has there been no wailing or gnashing of teeth from me, but I described it as "good news." Had LeBlanc been confirmed, I would have been sorely disappointed.

Jim Hoeft said...

I just read the "Raising Kaine" comment about TC being his favorite Republican blog.

Trust me, I like Vince, but as Winston Churchill once said, "If you are under twenty and are conservative, you don't have a heart; If you are over twenty and are liberal, you don't have a brain."

Let's just say, with his new endorsement and age, I am skeptical of the lad now.

James Young said...

Waldo, it seems we have reached the same conclusion for entirely different reasons.

J.R. --- Thanks for visiting! As for your comment about Vince's age, I am willing to cite it when it seems relevant (for instance, when his comments bespeak an ignorance of what has gone before him). And I certainly was critical when he was posting pseudonymously while in the employ of the Connaughton campaign.

BTW, by Churchill's standards, like Vince, I never had a heart. But was that Churchill, or Clemenceau?