Federal Diary: Despite campaign bashing, workers prove their patriotism
Tuesday, November 2, 2010; 8:11 PM
Across the country, a number of federal workers, always a patriotic bunch, took Tuesday off to get involved with government in a way they can't do on the job.
They worked for political candidates.
On Election Day, and for the last five weekends, Phil Glover campaigned for Mark Critz, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is running for a full term after having won a special election in May to fill the seat John Murtha held before his death.
Glover is a federal correctional officer. But when he works for Critz, he takes off his uniform and dons a union hat.
"It's a fairly conservative district," said Glover, Northeast vice president of the Council of Prison Locals of the American Federation of Government Employees.
The big federal unions are strong backers of President Obama, but they braced themselves for a widely predicted Republican takeover of the House.
That's not a future they looked to with comfort.
In a September speech to a Cleveland audience, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) may have provided even more incentive for federal employees to campaign and vote for Democrats. Under the heading "government run amok," Boehner said: "It's just nonsense to think that taxpayers are subsidizing the fattened salaries and pensions of federal bureaucrats who are out there right now making it harder to create private-sector jobs."
That's not the way to lure federal employees to the Republican side of the aisle, but it is consistent with the party's legislative and policy proposals and the image it repeatedly presents for public consumption.
Freezing federal pay was a featured item the second week the GOP asked supporters to suggest ways to slash the federal budget at its "YouCut" Web site.
"Help us put Uncle Sam on a diet," Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, says in a video on the site.
That diet would take bread off of the plates of Frankie and Flo Fed.