It seems that every politician in Washington these days wants to wade into the fight between the National Labor Relations Board and Boeing over the aircraft maker's decision to build a non-union plant in South Carolina.
Funny how a looming presidential election suddenly makes everyone an expert on a state-specific issue that's likely several months, if not years, from being decided.
The fight stems from the NLRB's formal complaint, which alleges that Boeing is building its new plant in South Carolina and not in Washington state as a kind of punishment against labor unions for past strikes. Such intimidatory tactics, if true, would be illegal, and the NLRB is perfectly within its right to request an investigation and a hearing.
But Republican lawmakers, looking to jump into anything that resembles a fight against labor unions, have decided that the labor board's investigating a possible violation of the law is a grave enough threat to American business and the economy that it warrants the kind of retribution they usually reserve for Manhattan mosque builders and Planned Parenthood executives.
As Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times points out in his column on Sunday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Not South Carolina or Washington) and nine other Republican members of Congress have threatened to derail the appointment confirmation of the NLRB's general counsel Lafe Solomon.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Not South Carolina or Washington), the chair House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, meanwhile, is further defining himself as an anything-but-objective overseer, publishing a report on a hearing pertaining to the complaint called "Unionization Through Regulation: The NLRB's Holding Pattern on Free Enterprise."
Not exactly subtle.
Even President Obama (as I noted last week), has jumped into the fray, sending his new Commerce Secretary pick John Bryson as a sacrificial goat to the conservative hordes to make lukewarm denouncements of the NLRB complaint, calling it "not the right judgement."
This, like many of Obama's split-the-difference gestures, has pleased no one. Liberals are pissed that he's waffling, while conservatives haven't eased an inch in portraying the president as having filed the Boeing complaint himself.
All this brouhaha belies the fact that there has yet to be a single word of testimony heard in the case, which is, at its heart, merely a internal struggle between two states, one company, and one government agency doing exactly what it was meant to do.