On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice beat a partial, face-saving retreat, but not before serving up a compelling example of what can happen when the federal government concludes that there are no constraints on its action, and that its mandate is to tinker, intervene, and meddle in nearly all aspects of the US economy.
That's a driving force behind President Obama's health care reform bill, which isn't "reform" so much as social engineering writ large. It's the impetus behind the National Labor Relations Board's interference with Boeing's right to build its new manufacturing plant in a state of its choice. It's the assumption that undergirds the Obama administration's push for anti-job, anti-growth "project labor agreements" that undermine state right to work laws. And it's the conceit that drove the Justice Department to hold up the sale of the Tyson's poultry processing plant here in Harrisonburg, even though that sale (to George's, Inc.) is almost certainly the only way to keep the plant in operation.
The sale would make the Shenandoah Valley's poultry industry less competitive, the federal government insisted, though one may wonder how a shuttered plant - with five hundred pink slips and 121 grower contracts converted to worthless paper - is "competitive."
By way of background, Tyson's has struggled to keep the processing plant afloat, whereas George's has pledged to honor contracts with growers, maintain Tyson's workforce, and actually expand operations. No one wanted to lose Tyson's from the Valley, but if the choice is between shuttering the Tyson's plant or keeping it going - and at greater capacity - under new management, who could doubt which was the better choice?
Who, that is, other than Barack Obama's Justice Department?
When the Justice Department filed its baseless antitrust, I spoke out, penning a letter - joined by six other members of the Shenandoah Valley's delegation - asking the DOJ to withdraw its lawsuit.
Fortunately, not even the federal government could defend this blunder indefinitely, and against such united local and regional opposition, so on Thursday, the DOJ announced that they had reached an agreement with George's that will allow the sale to stay on the books and will ensure that these jobs stay in Virginia.
It's still not ideal. The deal, as announced, includes some concessions from George's - though mostly improvements they planned to make regardless. The idea of the federal government telling a business how to operate leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but sometimes, when the full weight of the federal government is bearing down on a company, they have to accept the best deal that they can get. George's has decided that this is it - and I know that any deal that helps maintain 500 jobs is a good one for the Valley.
But this fight isn't just about a poultry processor in the Shenandoah Valley. It's about whether the federal government can throw its weight around and interfere in local business decisions - and in this case, quite ham-handedly. Virginians stood up - and the federal government stood down.
Race in Focus: Dave Nutter vs. John Edwards
Virginia Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) has staked out a reputation as a fair-minded, business friendly moderate. Unfortunately, his rhetoric doesn't match reality.
Virginia FREE, a nonpartisan pro-business organization, ranked him as the thirst most anti-business senator last year - worse than Janet Howell, Dick Saslaw, or Yvonne Miller, to name just three. And little wonder: has the Senator from Roanoke ever met a tax hike he didn't like or a regulation he didn't support?
Year after year, Edwards pushes a gas tax hike, and when he's in Richmond, he's a reliable vote for every Democratic proposal to raise your taxes.
He voted against E-Verify, the castle doctrine, and the transportation single lockbox. He supported both tax increase proposals before the Senate. He voted against making it illegal to coerce a woman into having an abortion and in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion. He helped kill a bill requiring magistrates to determine the citizenship status of arrestees, and opposed the eminent domain reform amendment in committee before flip-flopping on the Senate floor when passage became a fait accompli.
I would say that he votes more like a DC liberal than a Southwest Virginia "moderate," but that's unfair to the liberals in DC. John Edwards flanks them on the left.
Fortunately, residents of the 21st district have a choice. Delegate Dave Nutter is challenging Edwards, and he is poised to put Edwards on the defensive. Dave is an effective, common sense conservative legislator. Where John Edwards scores an anemic 6% on the Family Foundation's report card, Dave Nutter came in at 95%. Where John Edwards votes as a tax-and-spend liberal, Dave Nutter works for limited and accountable government.
As a Republican whip, I know we need reinforcements in the Senate. Dave Nutter's race against John Edwards is a key component of the Republican effort to win control of the Senate of Virginia. He has what it takes to beat Edwards, and I am excited about the prospect of Dave Nutter joining the fight for conservative principles in the Senate.
Dave Nutter can win this race, but it's not going to be easy. That's why I'm working hard to help candidates like Dave - candidates who will give us a conservative majority in the Senate. I have been traveling the state to help stump for candidates like Dave, and I'm putting my money where my mouth is, too.
In the coming weeks and months, I will be featuring other candidates who can make all the difference in the Senate of Virginia - and day in and day out, I'll be working to help get them elected. Will you join me in these efforts by contributing $100, $50, $25, or even $10 today? Your generous contribution will help great candidates like Dave - and help take back the Senate