Sunday, June 27, 2004

Kerry Lets Menino Face the Unions Alone

Don’t call it flip-flopping, lest you play into the hands of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, but the campaign of The Presumptive Nominee confused the heck out of the Globe this weekend with the on-off-on-off signals it sent concerning a speech that The Presumptive Nominee was scheduled to give in Boston to the Conference of US Mayors. The issue is caused by the presence of pickets from Boston’s Patrolman’s Association, who are without a contract and promise to picket the Democratic Convention as well if they can’t reach one before then.

Saturday’s Globe carried a story which quoted unnamed Kerry aides whining about the situation and wishing that it would just go away.

'This is larger than this particular event -- we're looking toward the whole convention week and we would like this whole thing to be defused. There are meetings and talks going on this weekend between the city and the union, and we are being hopeful at this point.'
That’s a nice approach. Sounds like a team ready to take on Bin Laden, does it not? On Saturday an aide was quoted as saying the speech was off, but this story was changed within an hour or so.
At one point yesterday afternoon, Kerry spokesman David Wade said: "The Boston event is off. He won't cross a picket line. "But shortly afterward, in an e-mail to reporters, Wade said, "We have not made any official or final decisions."
The Sunday Globe headlines said “Kerry Refuses to Cross Picket”, but this was not the content of the story, which did not quote Kerry, reported only on Saturday’s events and said that The Presumptive Nominee had “moved closer” to a cancellation:

Declaring his refusal to cross a union picket line, Senator John F. Kerry yesterday moved closer to canceling a speech before the US Conference of Mayors as union demonstrators marched on an evening event hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino."
By late Sunday afternoon Reuters had the final word from Kerry himself who was quoted:

'I don't cross picket lines. I never have,' Kerry said at Our Lady of Good Voyage church in South Boston, where he attended Mass on Sunday evening.
Tomorrow’s headline should read “Kerry Lets Menino Take the Heat Alone”. The poor mayor has another month to settle the public employee labor disputes before they disrupt the convention. Maybe he can find a billionaire who is willing to float him a loan for a new contract, because it sure doesn’t look like he’s going to get any other help from his party. Their message seems to be that he should just capitulate now.

After all that political party machination and maneuvering it was refreshing to read about a small group of college students who are walking through New England in a quiet, peaceful protest against Catholic politicians who, while claiming they are not pro-abortion, have never once voted for any legislation placing any limits on the practice of abortion. Massachusetts sends many such to Washington, including both of our US Senators.

"It's about integrity," Elizabeth Mazzia said. "These politicians that say that they are Catholic aren't following Catholic doctrine. It's completely incompatible. If you can't trust them to be true to what they are, then how can you trust them to be true to their country?"
Those kids have a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. Would that more Catholic priests and Bishops had this much insight and courage.

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