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September 4, 2004
Zell Was Right About Democrats

CQ reader Bill Shrumm points out an article in today's Boston Herald which emphasizes the point Zell Miller made regarding his extreme dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party -- their repeated hijacking of national-security and homeland defense issues for partisan political advantage. Ann Donlan reports on the Massachussetts' state troopers union push to endorse George Bush in the upcoming election and the thinly-veiled threats coming from state Democrats as a result:

The state troopers' union is seriously considering an endorsement of President Bush, a vote that would be an embarrassment for Sen. John F. Kerry and a risky move for the union, according to government and law enforcement sources.

"It would be embarrassing for the senator that the state police in his own state aren't supporting him," said one law enforcement source. ...

The SPAM union, which represents about 2,000 troopers and sergeants, endorsed Republican Gov. Mitt Romney when he ran for governor in 2002. Its president, John Coflesky, who has a close relationship with high-level Bush staffers, already has cast a vote to endorse Bush in a national troopers' union for which he serves as an executive board member.

No doubt, having first responders in Kerry's home state would generate some embarrassment for the Senator, who has tried to make the case that he would do more to strengthen local response. However, Kerry can't win every endorsement -- and even if he could, it doesn't appear to have that much effect on the overall numbers. No one has seen a huge endorsement from labor for George Bush, and two polls have him up by eleven points.

Don't tell that to Bay State Democrats, though. Apparently all of their concern about first responders and homeland security only applies when the police and fire unions toe the (Democratic) line. Once they wander off the reservation, though, the Democrats have no problem threatening them with hostile legislation including, one assumes, funding cuts and tossing other obstacles in their path:

If the endorsement materializes, there likely would be a political backlash among Democratic legislators, who have voiced distaste for the prospect of a Bush endorsement in the wake of their support for state police spending priorities, according to legislative and law enforcement sources.

"It is like physics," said one high-ranking State House Democrat. "For every action, there is a reaction."

Really? Why would the union's political endorsement change the legislature's assessment of law-enforcement and homeland security needs? Perhaps the Democrats are making a tacit admission that having George Bush in office inherently makes Massachussetts safer, or at least that electing John Kerry as president requires more money to guard Massachussetts against attack. More likely, the Democrats threaten to engage in the same crass political maneuvering on security issues in which Max Cleland and Tom Daschle engaged -- putting union issues and political paybacks ahead of homeland security.

I understand that the Democrats have reached the desperation stage of the Kerry campaign as he continues to implode, but extorting endorsements from police unions by threatening them with legislative attacks crosses the line. Perhaps the time has come for the people of Massachussetts to understand that the Democrats consider their safety and security as bargaining chips with which to buy off or extort union leadership -- and maybe not just in Massachussetts. The best response is to ensure that they do not control the legislatures so that such threats never materialize.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 4, 2004 5:28 PM

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Tracked on September 4, 2004 8:22 PM

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