Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | August 15, 2002

With fire fighters, or against them

In an effort to appear "tough" on the deficit, Bush has killed $5 million in emergency spending related to homeland defense. Not only is the amount a pittance compared to the deficits his tax cut has wrought ($150 billion this year alone), but it targeted programs seriously needed by the nation's security and emergency response agencies.

Bush felt the first political repercussion this morning, and it was a bombshell. the International Association of Fire Fighters voted unanimously to boycott Bush's 9-11 tribute. The fire fighters are angry that Bush killed $340 million to fund fire departments nationwide. The Virginia fire fighter who suggested the boycott said:

"The president has merely been using firefighters and their families for one big photo opportunity. We will work actively to not grant him another photo op with us."
The fire fighter's union president added:
"Don't lionize our fallen brothers in one breath, and then stab us in the back by eliminating funding for our members to fight terrorism and stay safe. President Bush, you are either with us or against us. You can't have it both ways.
Fire fighters are national heroes. It is sweet irony to have fire fighters turn Bush's own words against him ("You are either with us or against us"), and they should wreak serious political damage.

Update: The original story I link above seems to have been a bit inaccurate. Instead, as this updated story says, the fire fighter union is "considering" a boycott. Apparently, the unanimous vote was to tell the union's president to protest Bush's decision:

At its convention in Las Vegas, the union voted to ask its president to formally protest Bush's decision. Among the options: Boycotting the annual service in memory of fallen firefighters, scheduled for Oct. 6 in Emmitsburg, Md. Bush has been invited to speak at the event.

"I did get the message loud and clear," said Harold Schaitberger, the union's general president. "My members are angry about this veto and they do not want to let the president use their image for his political benefit any longer. This veto is a slap in the face to every firefighter across this country."

Other options include writing a letter to the White House, lobbying Congress to override Bush's decision, or holding a protest in Washington.

Delegates to the convention also voted to return Bush's videotaped message to the meeting.

Posted August 15, 2002 08:11 AM | Comments (4)


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