Thursday, November 6, 2008

Faleomavaega Buys Re-election

Voters put aside all their doubts about Congressman Faleomavaega's travels, policies and actions in favor of cold, hard cash and delivered a solid general election victory to him for the first time since 1998, when he faced only token opposition. When he arrived back from Washington to begin campaigning a little more than two weeks before the election, he had over $40,000 in the bank to spend and got a last minute infusion of Asian and Labor special interest money to fund his election day operations. While it's unlikely the expenditure of those funds will be detailed on Federal Election Commission reports, it is fair to speculate that there were a lot of golden handshakes between his campaign and powerful clan leaders who dictate their extended family votes in what remains a very feudal society. And no doubt a lot of individuals were paid handsomely to serve as "poll workers" on election day.

The result reminds of the old story about a guy standing on a street corner repeatedly banging his head with a hammer. When asked why by a passerby, he replies: "Because it feels so good when I stop."

Well, that may be what is going on here. In a post election interview, Faleomavaega reiterated that he intends to continue to pursue his passion for in foreign affairs and will do his best to cram down the territory's throat his special interest bill to open the port to foreign built tuna boats, despite the opposition of the governor and leaders of the legislature. After all, he owes all his Asian contributors that much and the voters now have posed no objection.

Now, what's the payoff for the union contributions? As soon as congress passes the Employees Free Choice Act (a euphemism for eliminating secret ballots), we can expect the Teamsters to take another run at organizing the canneries and the Communications Workers no doubt will have an eye on the call centers being established once the fiber optic cable is here.

That is only the beginning. With a new administration in Washington and a Congress with swollen Democrat majorities, expect a lot more federal controls and dictation out of Washington. Expect Faleomavaega to expand his control of federal CIP money going to the territory, imposition of a federal court and continued escalation of the minimum wage. He also likely will attmpt to change the way local senators are elected and launch another round of GAO studies, investigations and audits of all facits of government.

It should be a wild ride but ultimately I guess the people will feel so good when it stops.

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