Card-check promises Era of Labor Fascism

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National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Ensign (R-Nev.) told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that Republican presidential nominee John McCain may have contributed to Republicans taking the blame for the economic crisis.

"John McCain - during the debates and even since that time -has allowed the idea that deregulation caused the financial crisis that we are in instead of showing the fact that it was overregulation during the Clinton administration," said Ensign, who argued it was legislation like the Clinton-era Community Reinvestment Act and "new market rules" that caused recent economic turmoil.

"John McCain in not answering that well," continued Ensign. "He allowed Barack Obama to have the upper hand and allowed Democrats to get the upper hand, basically blaming Bush and the republicans for the financial crisis and saying that it's a failure of our free market system, when this is actually a failure of government."

Ensign said, as a result, the potential of a 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate was being discussed.

"It's all because of the financial crisis that has hit the United States and because the Republicans are in the White House and about half the country thinks Republicans control the House and the Senate and we're getting blamed for this," said Ensign.

What about Kentucky?

The Nevada Republican said "6 or 7 races would determine the make-up of the Senate," but expressed a degree of comfort with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Louisville) chances in Kentucky against businessman Bruce Lunsford (D-Louisville).

Some of that comfort evidently comes via consideration of McConnell's sizeable war-chest. The four-term incumbent had $5.7 million in cash-on-hand remaining at the end of Sept. compared to Lunsford's $1.2 million.

"The Democrats are obviously spending heavily there," said Ensign, referring to two new television spots his counterparts in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have put on air. "The good thing is Sen. McConnell has raised a tremendous amount of money to be able to defend himself there and allowed us to focus on other races."

"We're monitoring that situation closely. If we have to go in to try and help him...we will," added Ensign.

While a poll released yesterday found Lunsford statistically tied with McConnell at 48 percent each, Ensign said his estimations of the race had McConnell holding a wide lead, and noted the NRSC was satisfied with their position in the race.

"Right now that race is close to double digits. Some days it's actually in double digits," said Ensign. "We feel pretty comfortable about not going into that race at this point."

The last internal poll from McConnell's camp showed the Republican with a nine point lead, and the incumbent's side said yesterday its internals "consistently" showed Lunsford below 40 percent.

Other recent public polling put McConnell's lead at just four percent.

EFCA could mean Democrat majority for "40 to 50 years"

While the NRSC sounds like it is hands-off with regard to Kentucky, outside groups and other interested parties, including the DSCC, are pouring money into the race. One of those is Kentuckians for Employee Freedom, an organization that used a television spot to target Lunsford for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.

That controversial legislation would allow a union to be formed in a workplace when a majority of employees have signed union cards, while removing an employer's option to call a secret ballot election on the question of unionization.

Unions say the secret ballot allows for employer intimidation while business organizations - such as Kentuckians for Employee Freedom - say the card system allows for intimidation by union organizers.

Ensign, meanwhile, says the legislation could determine the character of the senate for decades. The Chair said preventing the bill's passage was a "critical issue" for Republicans.

"It would make Republicans the minority party for the next 40 to 50 years," said Ensign of the EFCA.

Ensign argued the legislation would bolster union ranks and union dues, which could then be funneled to Democratic campaigns.

"Democrats would have a huge fundraising advantage for elections from now on," said Ensign.


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