For weeks, the campaign of Republican Senate candidate George Allen has been trying to get their potential general-election opponent, former DNC Chair and Gov. Tim Kaine, to address the National Labor Relations Board decision barring Boeing from moving operations to a plant in South Carolina.
It is a classic divide-the-opposition move; Virginia is a right-to-work state, and unions are neither particularly powerful nor popular here. Yet as a Democrat, Kaine can’t afford to overtly alienate his party’s most powerful ally in organized labor.
For many weeks, the Kaine campaign had no comment on the ongoing NLRB controversy.
Then, yesterday, in his press conference, President Obama was asked about the NLRB lawsuit: ”It’s an independent agency and it’s going before a judge, so I don’t want to get into all the details of the case. I don’t know all the facts. That’s going to be up to a judge to decide. What I do know is this — that as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate.”
Strangely enough, a few hours later, the Kaine campaign did have a statement on the matter! It went like this:
Governor Kaine supports the existing law that a company can open, locate or relocate wherever it wants… Of course, it has long been the law that a company cannot retaliate against employees for bargaining activity. The current NLRB case isn’t about the right to locate anywhere, it’s about the narrow question of whether Boeing is acting specifically to retaliate against its own employees. That factual question will be decided by the courts.
The question that remains is the one that haunts all great ventriloquist acts, can Tim Kaine speak while Barack Obama is drinking water?