The real problem with Solis, of course, is not her husband’s failure to pay taxes. The real problem is her stances on union labor and on illegal immigration. Back on December 30, 2008, our own Robert Wallace wrote an excellent piece on Solis here at America’s Right. An excerpt:
But Solis’s specialty issues are labor unions and the environment. When then Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed her bill to raise the minimum wage in California in 1995, she used her own funds to rally a ballot initiative to ram the change through during the following year. In the House, she sat on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming where she brought together her pro-union and pro-environmental record by making the promotion of green-collar jobs a top priority. She opposed free trade agreements and earned 100 percent approval ratings from pro-union groups. Because of her activism and voting record, the United Auto Workers (cause of much of the problems facing U.S. automakers) was quick to applaud her appointment to be the Secretary of Labor, as were the Sierra Club and the California League of Conservation Voters.
This makes Hilda Solis a Secretary of Labor after Barack Obama’s own heart. In addition to sharing his left-wing legislative record and a minority-makes-history narrative, she mirrors his synthesis of populist liberal economics and environmentalism with an emphasis on “green” job creation as a solution to the economic crisis.
Of course, with more than 20 cabinet-level positions in any administration, any given appointment is only as significant as the amount of attention that the president devotes to that particular position. Therefore, without the backing of the president, cabinet members are unlikely to have much impact. With Obama’s emphasis on job creation to combat the recession, however, there’s every reason to believe that Secretary of Labor is going to be a top-priority post during this upcoming administration.
The chief policy difference between Barack Obama and Hilda Solis is that campaigning for president of the United States forced Obama to pragmatically shift rightward in terms of ideology and governance. Solis, whose district compromises part of the Los Angeles area, never had to make that shift. She represents Obama’s liberalism without the restraints of dealing with harsh foreign policy realities or campaigning for national office in less liberal parts of the country. This spells danger for the American economy.
Her reflexive protectionism and pro-union stance on the one hand and her environmentalism on the other hand are bad enough taken separately. But the sum is more than the parts. Consider the lesson of the recent bailout of American automakers. When legislators proved unable to agree on a handout, President Bush stepped in and, with use of executive powers, diverted billions of dollars intended for the financial sector towards the automakers instead. He included a token requirement that the unions renegotiate contracts to lower car manufacturers’ labor costs to be more in line with foreign competitors like Toyota and Honda who operate non-union factories on American soil, but actions speak louder than words.
In this case, while the words may have been “please cooperate with management to make realistic cuts,” the actions said “we’d rather increase the deficit than risk losing union jobs.”
The confirmation was certainly not unexpected, and neither was the decision by the Republican leadership not to filibuster. With House Democrats unveiling a new, $410 billion spending proposal today, they need to save their energy. Regardless, it will be interesting–and no doubt disheartening–to see how attitudes toward unions and from unions change over the next four years and how the two become intertwined in the upcoming debate on comprehensive immigration reform.
Nevertheless, I find it amazing how each and every victory for Barack Obama, his administration, and the Democrats in power on Capitol Hill means bad news for America as a whole. This is just another example, and will prove itself as such as time passes.