It so happens that Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd Palin — a member of the United Steelworkers (USW) union — is funding efforts to defeat and even smear his wife.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix has informed Mr. Palin by open letter that he does have the right to cut off “forced” union dues being spent by the USW to defeat the Republican ticket of Sen. John McCain and Mrs. Palin.
“While I’m sure you’re excited by your wife’s candidacy for high office, you may be discouraged to learn that the union dues you pay are already being used to defeat her,” writes Mr. Mix, reminding the candidate’s husband that when his USW bosses endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama in June they pledged to support his campaign with funds collected from union members.
“In fact, at the USW’s 2008 convention, union officials adopted a resolution ‘vowing to play a key role in electing Obama,’ thus pledging workers’ dues to the effort to defeat your wife’s candidacy,” he adds.
“Moreover, a top USW official whose paycheck you help fund is viciously ridiculing your wife’s candidacy on the Steelworkers’ Web site, calling Governor Palin’s selection ‘cynical’ and claiming that by choosing your wife ‘McCain has clearly shown he lacks the judgment to be president.'”
Mr. Mix says Alaska does not have a right to work law, but under the Supreme Court precedent “Communications Workers v. Beck,” employees are able to stop paying forced union dues unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union electioneering.
HILLS ARE ALIVE
Hans Kaiser, vice president of campaign and public affairs for the Washington-based political opinion research firm Moore Information, is likening Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Fraulein Maria of “Sound of Music” fame.
“How do Democrats solve a problem like Sarah?” says Mr. Kaiser, who recalls Baron Georg Ritter von Trapp’s emotional plea: “You’ve brought music back into the house. I’d forgotten. Fraulein, I want you to stay. I ask you to stay more than you know.”
To paraphrase von Trapp, Mr. Kaiser says Mrs. Palin “has brought confidence back into the Republican house, something the GOP seemed to have forgotten over the last several years.”
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Stan Welli of Aurora, Ill., writes: “One of the vice president’s duties is to preside over the U.S. Senate. He (or she) may vote to break a tie. It’s fascinating to visualize the organizational and personal dynamics of a body over which Sarah Palin would preside.
“This would be a Senate having Harry Reid as the likely majority leader. And it would include such familiar names as Joseph Biden, Robert ‘I’m old enough to be your grandfather’ Byrd, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Barack Obama. ‘The Senate will be in order and there will be no more moose jokes!'”
DRIVING MISS ROWENA
Roberta McCain, 96-year-old mother of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, never ceases to amaze, if not outpace those she encounters on the campaign trail.
Including ladies in attendance for the recent Republican Women’s Federal Forum luncheon at the Capitol Hill Club (the McCain family town house until the early 1950s), among them Carly Fiorina, businesswoman and McCain economic adviser; Franki Roberts, wife of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts; Susan Allen, wife of former Virginia Sen. George Allen; Joanne Kemp, wife of former New York congressman Jack Kemp; LaDonna Curzon, Republican activist; and Sally Atwater, widow of the late Republican political strategist Lee Atwater (the couple’s daughter, Ashley Atwater, led the Pledge of Allegiance).
Mrs. Fiorina, former chairman of the board and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, told the crowd that she just returned from Paris, where Mrs. McCain is admired by young and old alike. After all, when she traveled to France two years ago at the age of 94, accompanied by her identical-twin sister Rowena Willis, she tried to rent a car, but was informed she was too old.
So what did the elderly Mrs. McCain do?
She purchased a car, the story was told, and when the twins’ French holiday drew to a close, Mrs. McCain sold it.
EYES ON OXFORD
The University of Mississippi is gearing up to host the first presidential debate of 2008.
Foreign policy and national security issues will be the focus of the much-anticipated showdown between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, after which a good many of the country’s undecided voters are expected to lineup behind one of the two major-party candidates.
Meanwhile, Washington-based reporters who won’t be on the Oxford, Miss., campus for the Sept. 26 debate are being invited into the National Press Club to watch the political action unfold.
Says press club organizers: “Our new jumbo TV screens will show every frown, eye-roll and smirk — not that we expect any, of course!”
What do Barack Obama and Jack Kemp have in common?
They both attended Occidental College, a small liberal arts school in Los Angeles, which the Republican Mr. Kemp once noted you “can’t get out of without learning something.”
Ditto for Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, who says during his two years at Occidental he grew up “after a long hibernation,” learning the values of “hard work, honesty, empathy and compassion.”
In his commencement speech this past May at Wesleyan University, Mr. Obama said the Occidental community first possessed him “with this crazy idea that I was going to work at the grassroots level to bring about change.”
And it was at Occidental, the school recalls in a summary of Mr. Obama’s formative years, that the presidential candidate stopped being called “Barry” and became Barack.
Reader John Hambel writes: “With all the comments about how poorly [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s book is selling, I periodically check Amazon.com to check her ranking. Not only is her book currently [Tuesday] in 58,629th place, Amazon helpfully tells us that ‘others’ that are popular in her category is … Karl Marx!”
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