Dec 10, 2013
Tea Party Robber Barons
Posted on Oct 24, 2010
Candidate John Raese earned his wealth, he said, the old-fashioned way—he inherited it. With his family, he has extensive, nonunion coal-mining holdings, river barge companies and 25 radio stations in the state. He has been a losing candidate for various state offices, defeated by opponents including Sens. Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller. He proudly identifies with the tea party folk: “I was a tea partyer before the tea party existed,” he said. He called movement “the greatest thing that has happened to this country. I am so encouraged by the anger in this country. A lot of us are angry.” Sarah Palin loves this man.
Make no mistake: Raese passionately hates the president and the Democratic Congress. To spread his message, he displays a photograph of his opponent, Gov. Joe Manchin, sitting next to Obama. (The photograph actually was shot at Robert Byrd’s funeral.) His campaign is filled with anti-Obama rhetoric. “Why do I hate Obamacare?” he asked at one rally. “It is a socialist program which will not work. It hasn’t worked anywhere in the world. It will be repealed.” But “Obamacare” is only part of a bigger picture for him.
Raese’s favorite villain is Franklin D. Roosevelt. He particularly assails the “unconstitutional” minimum wage law, first enacted in 1938. “The minimum wage is something that FDR put in place a long time ago during the Great Depression,” he told ABC News. “I don’t think it worked then. It didn’t solve any problems then and it hasn’t solved any problems in 50 years.” Raese simply favors abolishing the “unconstitutional” law.
Seventy years ago, Republican Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone wrote the opinion in U.S. v. Darby, unanimously sustaining the constitutionality of the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938), abolishing child labor and establishing a minimum wage of 40 cents an hour. That law sought the “elimination of labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well being of workers.” The decision neatly fit the court’s view that the national government possessed such power and responsibility.
Stanley Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings.
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