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Mike Baroody and the Politics of Personal Destruction

Yesterday, the Executive Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers, Mike Baroody -- the President's nominee to to be the Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) -- withdrew his name from nomination in the face of a sustained and withering ad hominem attack from the left.

Beginning with his nomination last Fall, self-appointed "consumer protectors" (interested far less in consumers than in feathering their own nests) and trial lawyers waged a blistering, facts-be-damned campaign to stop his nomination. Along the way, we saw rational and logical positions that he took on behalf of the NAM stretched into ridiculous caricatures that hardly resembled the original positions. Stances for limiting frivolous lawsuits somehow turned into a war against widows and orphans. The vaunted New York Times editorialized against his nomination, taking issue with his position on asbestos litigation -- a position, by the way, that the Times had not only supported but made the topic of several editorials.

Those who know Mike well know him to be not only brilliant but a man of great integrity. The US Department of Labor is not known to be a warehouse of conservative thought, but every career employee who had the honor of working with Mike during his tenure there would say that he was honest, fair and deliberative. Some even took the extraordinary step of writing to the Senate and expressing that exact view in support of his nomination.

At the end of the day, however, the vicious personal attacks took their toll on this decent individual. Selective leaks of personal financial information from Democrat staffers in the Senate coupled with half-truths (and non-truths) from the left ultimately became too great a weight for even this great man to bear. "Watching this abuse of process," said NAM President John Engler in a statement, "Makes me wonder why any qualified citizen would submit to run today’s Senate gauntlet." Why indeed.

Ultimately, Mike became collateral damage in the bitter partisan war that grips the Nation's Capitol. In the process, the country lost it's shot at a fair-minded and dedicated public servant. The venom merchants who dominated this debate have only guaranteed a further intensifying of the coarseness that replaced respect in this city many years ago.

Long after Mike Baroody has settled back into a semblance of a normal life they will, of course, reap all they have sown.


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Comments (1)

Tiffany Adams:

While I am outraged by this entire process, I am not at all surprised by Mike Baroody's dignity and class in the face of this ignorant attack. Thanks for spelling it out in black and white.

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