Joe Kenehan Center

Monday, February 10, 2003
DeLay: If Unions Exist, The Terrorists Win
Tom DeLay’s appalling fund-raising letter for the National Right To Work Committee was so far beyond the pale that The Hammer is “distancing himself” from it, as they say. (Read the New York Times story or the Washington Post story for background.)

I saw a copy of the letter last week, printed on handsome “Tom DeLay, Majority Leader” letterhead, and it’s really poisonous stuff.

DeLay’s shrill attacks on the union movement basically imply that holding a union card is morally equivalent to spending time an al Qaeda training base.

The tone of the letter makes David Horowitz’ endless attacks on the loyalty of anyone even mildly liberal seem perfectly calm and reasonable. Somehow, DeLay and the NRTWC find a way to question whether union firefighters are patriotic Americans, for goodness’ sake.

But Delay and the NRTWC aren’t content to question the loyalty of today’s union members -- they actually go back in time to attack the workers who made America an the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II.

According to DeLay/NRTWC, union workers “notoriously exploited the Second World War and other times of crisis to expand dramatically [their] power at the expense of the war effort.”

Which, of course, is utter crap. The ranks of the union movement did indeed swell during the war, but that’s because so many men and women went to work building the weapons needed to defeat fascism and militarism. That probably comes as a shock to the NRTWC and DeLay, who seem to think that a small group of anti-New Deal libertarian entrepreneurs built thousands of Sherman tanks and B-17s all by themselves.

Union leaders like Phillip Murray and Sidney Hillman worked with the government to help improve productivity, with the ultimately unrealized hope of creating a better system of training, investment, and planning to build a durably healthy economy after the war. It should be remembered that they supported the war while the ideological forebears of Delay and the NRTWC were asking what was so bad about this Hitler fellow.

Roach: Send This Memo Or I’ll Shoot
Pam Roach, a legendarily vicious Republican legislator in Washington State, is endangering her political career with a spectacular display of bizarre antics.

Two members of her state senate staff abruptly resigned a few weeks ago. It’s unclear exactly why, but Roach apparently pulled a gun on one of them recently. Roach then thumbed through her staff’s e-mail accounts to find dirt to discredit them.

Roach’s explanations for all of this are varied and changing. It’s gotten to the point where other senators in the GOP caucus think she needs help.

Roach is obviously a tough boss (another former staff member persuaded the Senate to pay for counseling to help her recover from the trauma of working for Roach), but her employees can take comfort knowing that she’s just as mean to her political opponents.

In her 2001 bid to capture a seat on the King County Council, GOP consultants tried to surreptitiously draft a Green Party candidate to weaken Julia Patterson, Roach’s Democratic opponent.

When that didn’t work, Roach allies sent out a desperate mailing that tried to paint Patterson as a drug dealer. (A meth lab had been discovered on a piece of property owned by Patterson, but Patterson had nothing to do with the lab and worked with police to shut it down.)

Roach denied exploiting the meth lab episode but later admitted that she faxed the story to reporters.