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March 30, 2005
PFAW Finds Republican Against Filibusters ... In Union That Supported Kerry

Radioblogger listened to the press conference held by People for the American Way and its president, Ralph Neas, as they launched their new ad campaign against a proposed rule change eliminating filibusters on judicial confirmations in the Senate. [Why? Well, someone had to do it, I guess -- CE] Apparently, Neas bubbled over with joy at finding a "common sense Republican" to front PFAW's ad blitz, hoping it will convince other GOP voters to demand their Senators vote against the ban.

So who did Neas find? Brent Scowcroft? Henry Kissinger? Jim Jeffords? The ghost of Nelson Rockefeller? No! Neas found ... Ted Nonini.

You know ... that Ted Nonini.

Still stumped? Welcome to the club. Ted Nonini, as it turns out, works as a Los Angeles firefighter -- obviously a brave man -- but as a politician, he doesn't have much of a track record. A Google search on Fireman Ted turns up 25 hits, most of which come from PFAW itself. Only one other link hints at anything political, a story from January 2004 where he defends a pay increase for LA firefighters despite a budget deficit in LA. That article lists Ted as a director of UFLAC, the firefighters' union in LA; in fact, Ted sits on the executive board as treasurer.

And here's where the Republican designation makes a little less "common" sense. UFLAC is the local International Association of Fire Fighters union, and the IAFF endorsed a political candidate in last year's presidential election. Want to guess who that was?

In fact, the IAFF endorsed John Kerry, and only after supposedly polling their membership across the country. Only they didn't actually do that, according to Jack Dunphy at NRO, who wrote last summer about the controversy:

Don't just take my word for it. Visit Fire Fighters for Bush on the web and read the postings from firefighters disaffected by the leftward leanings of the IAFF leadership. A message board asks firefighters if they were polled prior to the IAFF's endorsement of Kerry. An illustrative sample response from a fireman in Kentucky: "No IAFF unions in Kentucky were polled. After receiving the IAFF magazine yesterday and reading [IAFF General President Harold] Schaitberger's excuse for the IAFF endorsement I resigned as VP of the union today. I also quit the IAFF after being a member for 39 years."

At the website Dunphy mentions, this firefighter of 26 years also resigned from his union and wrote the following about the IAFF fraud:

But how did the IAFF decide who they were going to support? Many in the public would believe that the members were given the opportunity to voice their opinion. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Seattle Times wrote The [IAFF's] Kerry endorsement came after a survey of union members. I have yet to talk to one member that received any such survey. I thought that maybe it was just sent to officials of the locals, but I was just told by a local president that he had received nothing from the IAFF in the form of a survey prior to the endorsement. So, who were the individuals filling out these surveys??" I have heard there were 800 participants, but I have not found one.

I have found, however, that it was not really a survey in the usual sense. What these elusive members were given was not a list of candidates, but they were asked about what attributes they would like to see in a President.

How convenient is that for a man like Harold Schaitberger? After sending out a survey for his political cover, Harold Schaitberger then gets to decide which candidate fulfills the list of attributes these members desire.

In the Seattle Times article, Schaitberger admits that the union never really considered endorsing President Bush's re-election, even though more of the members identified themselves as Republicans than Democrats or Independents. Schaitberger also claimed that the IAFF is really bi-partisan in our politics, although 83 percent of the $1.8 MILLION dollars it spent in 2002 went to Democrats.

Now, with all of this going on, and with Ted "the Common Sense Republican" working as a treasurer in an IAFF local, one would expect Ted Nonini to have joined his fellow IAFF brethren who spoke out against Schaitberger's fraud. But Nonini doesn't appear on any of the FF4B site's pages. The man who says that "I like that my party controls the White House and the Congress" didn't utter a public word about the flim-flam used by his own union to misrepresent him.

Does that make sense to you -- even "common" sense?

I suspect that Neas found the nearest thing to a Republican he could find to stand up in front of the cameras and mouth a script from Norman Lear. Unfortunately for PFAW and Ralph Neas, the best they can do is to get Ted Nonentity to front for their pathetic ad campaign. If nothing else, we can all get a laugh out of this absurdly earnest and richly ironic meltdown of PFAW's credibility.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 30, 2005 8:30 PM

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